“Real fearlessness is the product of tenderness. It comes from letting the world tickle your heart, your raw and beautiful heart. You are willing to open up, without resistance or shyness, and face the world. You are willing to share your heart with others.”
Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche
Shambhala: Sacred Path of the Warrior
Dear Shambhala Community –
The past two weeks have been difficult and devastating in the United States, with two major acts of violence occurring within mere days of each other. We witnessed violence against Asian Americans and others in Atlanta, and another mass shooting rocked the Boulder community. With these incidents so close to our local sanghas, the reminder of our precious human birth and human vulnerability is very real, and our hearts go out to these communities and families.
We want to express our appreciation to all Shambhala practitioners and leaders who continue to practice, support and teach the dharma with genuineness and heart in these challenging times. We are reminded to include all the sufferings of the world in our practice as we continue to explore how to go forward with respect and clarity, knowing there is always more to do and extend.
We are writing to you today with another update on the Shambhala Board’s recent activity. To help us with our vision for the year, the Shambhala Board consulted the I Ching and threw the hexagrams “Gathering Together” changing to “The Joyous Lake.” Our reading of the text is to persevere and sharpen ourselves in order to meet the unforeseen, and to gather with others for practice and discourse. We took this to heart, and planned a short Board retreat this month to refocus our efforts and priorities for the year.
The assessor process that we described in our Joint Statement with the Sakyong Potrang has started. We look forward to seeing the results of the work of the 12 assessors and will report back to the community on their progress in the coming weeks.
2020 Financials – Year-End Results
We are pleased to present the 2020 financial statements to the community. These results are for Shambhala Global Services (SGS), which represents a portion of our global mandala. Please click here for a comprehensive overview of SGS and its work.
SGS had a Net Income of $54,038 (USD) in 2020, slightly above the budgeted goal of $25,843 (USD) This result included $69,810 (USD) in Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) funds received in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Absent those wage subsidies, there would have been a net loss of $15,772 (USD).
Total 2020 revenues were $865,599 (USD), which were 9% below budget. Recurring and one-time donations from individuals, as well as transfers from city centers and land centers, were all below plan, due to a combination of our community’s struggles and the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Released from Restricted revenues are amounts released from restricted gifts and funds to offset the costs for initiatives critical to the long-term health of the community. In 2020, these initiatives included financial support for Shambhala Centres, Care & Conduct programs, Community Grants and more. The release of restricted funds was higher than budgeted due to some initiatives and centre support being added during the year. All Released from Restricted revenues have an equal and offsetting expense associated with them, so they have no impact on the net profit.
Total 2020 expenses were $1,233,539 (USD), which were 11% above budget. Most of the increase was due to $165,325 (USD) in unbudgeted centre support and Community Grants. Without these initiatives, expenses would have been $41,105 (USD) ahead of plan. In general, SGS has worked hard to control costs in 2020, with payroll costs 9% below budget due primarily to not filling vacant roles.
Outlook for 2021
We expect the overall environment to continue to be challenging in 2021. Based on our results for 2020 and current trends, we expect to end 2021 with a small loss. However, we intend to operate at breakeven or better in the future so the reserves can be used for strategic projects and long-term investments for the community. As we work through this time to strengthen Shambhala and its offerings, we will look to increase monthly support from donations and centre transfer fees.
Land Center Reopenings
Our land centers are studying how to re-open in a responsible and safe manner. Depending on the Covid 19-related guidelines, small programs are being planned for the spring and other programs for the summer. We have missed gathering together! Each land center continues to provide rich online offerings. Among other programs, Karmê Chöling is planning a series on Gesar; Dorje Denma Ling is offering a variety of programs including Mahamudra retreats online and in person, and Shambhala Mountain Center (SMC) continues with its wide array of programs. Dechen Chöling is offering regular practice opportunities for the sangha as well as three Spring programmes online on karma, death and lucid dreaming. Please check their individual websites for more information.
Karmê Chöling has also initiated a successful residency program. If you long to be safely with community with a lot of opportunity for practice and study, please learn more here. They are also offering a family residency program starting in June.
A joint SGS and SMC team is developing plans to rebuild the Stupa Visitor Center in the wake of the Cameron Peak fire last September. In addition to the design work, the team is finalizing the insurance claims process and assessing the total cost of rebuilding/remediation for the Stupa and associated structures.
The Leadership Forum for Centre and Group Directors, Council leaders, and Finance Directors re-starts this spring. In preparation, the Process Team hosted gatherings for leaders to explore various topics of interest and how to get the most out of the upcoming Forums. Susan Skjei, Interim Director of Leader Support, and Melanie Klein, SGS Director of Operations, will be hosting the Forums, and they continue to host a weekly “open door” online gathering for leaders to join at will. Please contact Melanie at email@example.com for more information.
Care and Conduct
This section contains an update on Shambhala’s current Care and Conduct activities and resources available to the Shambhala community. Over the last two weeks, there has been renewed media coverage of past harm within Shambhala. We understand this can bring up a range of feelings and responses for our sangha members, and would like to remind you of some resources available to support you. We encourage you to read more about the Therapy and Counselling Offering (see below for details), or the Shambhala Process Team’s ongoing Community Conversations.
Scholarships available for Right Use of Power Teacher Training
Scholarships for the Right Use of Power Institute’s Teacher Training and Core Training, beginning June 3, 2021, are available from the Shambhala Board for those who require financial assistance. These trainings will support individuals who wish to help expand this program throughout Shambhala and beyond. If you need financial support to attend this training, please email Tara Templin, Director of Community Care and Conduct, at firstname.lastname@example.org and indicate the scholarship funds needed (up to 80%).There is no application process and the prerequisite to qualify for the scholarship is completion of the RUP course on Shambhala Online.
Therapy and Counselling Offering for North America and Europe
As previously announced, the Therapy and Counselling Offering based in North America, offered through the Peoples’ Counselling Clinic, is available to individuals who have experienced harm in our community, along with a counselling service for leaders working through difficult situations for themselves and with others. We are pleased that many individuals in our community have accessed this resource, and have reported appreciating the offering and finding it valuable.
We are pleased to announce, as part of the previously announced Therapy and Counselling Offering based in North America, Shambhala Europe is partnering with Ms. Irmi Jeuther, to pilot an ongoing counselling and therapy programme for the European Sangha. Irmi Jeuther is a Counsellor with the German Buddhist Union, a Dharma teacher, and a certified psychologist with expertise in counseling women who experience sexual violence. This project is in coordination with the Peoples’ Counselling Clinic. For more information on this offering, click here to read the announcement sent to Shambhala Europe Members.
Recruiting for Code of Conduct Facilitators (CCFs) and International and Regional Council members
Shambhala is recruiting CCFs and Council members in order to implement the new Code of Conduct. If you have any thoughts or questions about the roles or recruitment process, please contact Tara Templin, Director of Community Care and Conduct, at email@example.com.
- A minimum of four (4) Code of Conduct Facilitators (CCFs) who will serve as reference points for those involved to navigate the Code of Conduct process. CCFs will receive and respond to concerns and complaints and coordinate the stages of the process for the parties involved in it.
- A minimum of three (3) Regional and three (3) International Council Members will receive formal complaints, and when needed, oversee an investigation. The International Council will receive complaints concerning people who have a global role in Shambhala, and hear appeals if needed. The Councils are responsible for determining what happened and deciding the best way forward, in consultation with both parties and with the community as appropriate.
- All Code of Conduct Facilitators and Council Members will participate in ongoing training in the Code Procedures, Right Use of Power, Gender Dynamics and other key areas.
You can find the full description of these roles, the qualities that are required, and how to apply, at this link.
Background checks for individuals responsible for activities with children
Are you planning any Children or Family programming in 2021? This is a friendly reminder to email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange for a free background check for any volunteers responsible for activities with children. The background check is a requirement as outlined in Shambhala’s Child Protection Policy, section 5.5.
Appointments and Departures
The Board deeply appreciates the extensive time, effort and expertise that John Cobb gave during the almost two and a half years he acted as a Shambhala Board member, Board co-chair, Board chair and committee chair. John retired as a Board member at the end of February but will continue as a special advisor to the Board. As the former president of Naropa University, a longtime active member of the Boulder Shambhala community, and lawyer, John brought knowledge, precision and insight to our work. He provided enormous leadership, humor and perspective. All of us on the Board feel we have developed a special relationship with him. We got to know him as an avid birder, a friend to countless people and a tireless champion of the community. He chaired the Finance Committee, worked with the Care and Conduct Committee and the Code of Conduct Support Group, and spent countless hours on legal work, governance and insurance issues. His presence and bravery was a great example and he will be deeply missed.
The Board thanks and acknowledges the deep commitment and exertion of Charlie Goetzl who resigned from his role as the Director of Practice and Education for Shambhala Global Services at the end of February. Charlie held the position as a Deputy Minister for six years and provided clarity and organization to all matters involving the administration of Shambhala practices and studies, bringing great benefit to all in the Shambhala community. Charlie provided kind and caring support to local communities, land centers, and Shambhala educators. Jeff Scott, who joined the Practice and Education area last year and has worked closely with Charlie, will now lead the Practice and Education area for Shambhala Global Services.
- John Cobb retired from the Shambhala Board of Directors (end of February 2021)
- Charlie Goetzl resigned as Director of Practice and Education (end of February 2021)
- Susan Skjei retired as an Acharya (November 2020)
- Dhi Good resigned as a Shastri (August 2020)
- Manuel Medeiros retired as a Shastri (August 2020)
- Joel Wachbrit resigned as a Shastri in (November 2020)
- Rebecca Hazell resigned as a Shastri (December 2020)
- Mark Hazell resigned as a Shastri (December 2020)
- Brett Ferrigan is no longer serving as a Shastri ( Shambhala Day 2021)
- Trinley Busby retired as a Shastri (January 2021)
- Achim Schlage stepped down as a Shastri (Shambhala Day 2021)
- John Seex resigned as a Shastri (Shambhala Day 2021)
- Phil Cass and Susan Ryan – Co-Chairs of the Shambhala Board of Directors (End of February 2021)
- Jeff Scott – Director of Practice and Education (End of February 2021)
- Alex Van Gils – Shambhala Archives Operations Manager (February 2021)
- François Grimbert – Dechen Chöling Transition Director
- The Shambhala Centers of Los Angeles, Eagle Rock, Westside and Orange County in Southern California have ended their leases and gone virtual.
Please know you can continue to communicate with the Shambhala Board at email@example.com.
With warm wishes,
The Shambhala Board