We should not give up:
We are the children of the vajra world.
We should sing the anthem of the lion’s roar;
We should cry the shriek of fearlessness.
Come and join us!
Let us be wakeful for our own sake;
Let us be decent for others’ sake.
My love to you.
From First Thought, Best Thought; poem 76 “Eternal Guest”; Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche; 6 April 1978
Dear Shambhala Community,
We hope that you are taking good care of yourselves in this time of the pandemic and that you are finding both nourishment and inspiration in your household life, work and path. The Shambhala Board wants to acknowledge this time in which we are all working to sort out how to go forward with our lives and also with Shambhala. There is, of course, no lack of challenges!
The Shambhala Board, now 10 members strong, has continued to rely on the open view that we all can go forward together and to find strength in different views. At the same time, the Board wants to encourage growth and change in our organization. We acknowledge and are working with many tensions and opportunities in our community. We wish to express our view and commitment at a time when dynamic tensions could become harmful divisions.
The tensions and opportunities have been reflected in the recent thoughtful communications from different parts of our mandala: a letter from the “pilgrimage organizers” who spoke to the Sakyong’s view based on their experience in Nepal; Lady Diana Mukpo who proposes to open up access to Chögyam Trungpa’s teachings; the Process Team presenting their “Sense of Shambhala” survey results; the open letter from the “Dharma Brats” to Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche; the letter from a group of Acharyas who have resigned, and a letter from a group of Acharyas still active.
The Board has been able to meet with these groups and individuals: the Sakyong and the Sakyong Wangmo, Lady Diana and Ashoka Mukpo, representatives of the Sakyong, different groups of the Process Team, and various groups of Acharyas. All of these meetings have been heartfelt, respectful and clarifying.
In addition, the Board continues to receive letters from individuals and centers expressing sincere views on these and related subjects. We also are individually and collectively, with the staff of Shambhala Global Services (SGS), engaged in the work of Shambhala: seeing daily the challenges and opportunities, strength and weakness, our resilience in the face of two major, almost existential, challenges—the pandemic and our own community’s crisis—as well as our vulnerability to division. Thus, as a Board, we believe that we need to begin to articulate our view more clearly at this time.
We have been encouraged to see that there is genuine integrity and bravery in what people are trying to accomplish and embody. We also recognize how much intensity is occurring as people feel they need to make decisions about their relationship with the teachings and the teacher. We are not immune from this intensity.
The Board sees that its role in these times is to hold the space for these dynamic tensions with an open mind, to allow change to evolve, to avoid division and factionalism, and to support a broad and inclusive mandala. That said, we are not “merely trying to be all things to all people.”
We believe that a vital and contemporary Shambhala must sustain the interplay between the vision and wisdom of the Shambhala lineage and our diverse community of dedicated practitioners. Thus, we, as a Board, remain firm in our commitment to serve the best interests of both. We are engaging in conversations with the Sakyong and the Sakyong Potrang about these and other issues, and how to go forward.
We feel it is important to communicate to you that we are committed to creating and maintaining:
- A mandala centered on the teachings of both Sakyongs, the Shambhala terma and the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions of Tibetan Buddhism.
- A view of the Shambhala sangha as a community of practitioners at various points on the path, from entry level meditation practitioner through the Vajrayana, joined by the Shambhala dharma and its lineage, united in a view of Basic Goodness and the principles and practice of warriorship and Enlightened Society.
- Inclusive, supportive, and responsive local and regional communities which invest in ongoing initiatives and training, to promote and sustain community health and well being.
- An uplifted society, interested in working with the arts, the environment, physical warrior practices, the household, the family, personal recovery, and health and wellbeing, as well as social engagement, governance, and leadership.
- A well-run non-profit organization with excellence in compliance, legal and financial affairs with transparency and community input.
- A supportive organization, caring for its members and staff, with well-conceived policies and codes with appropriate and responsive supportive structures.
- A governance approach in which there is radiance and responsiveness back and forth between center and fringe.
- Inviting and listening with an open mind to all the diverse views and insights throughout our mandala to learn from the past and carefully guide necessary organizational changes for a prosperous and harmonious future.
- That it is the Board’s responsibility to provide governance and an organizational container that supports these paths which requires us to take a long view into our future.
We acknowledge there are challenges to meet and healing work to be done, but we should not give up. May the Shambhala lineage, teachings and practice persevere, overcome obstacles, and thrive.
Please see below for our monthly update including information on the organization’s latest financial report, release of the new Shambhala Code of Conduct, and more.
With all heartfelt intentions in the lineage of the Great Eastern Sun,
The Shambhala Board
Financial Results through June 30, 2020
Shambhala Global Services posted net income of $58,098 for the first six months of 2020, which was 45% below our budgeted goal. Typically SGS has a profit in the first half of the year due to Shambhala Day donations, but then operates at a loss in the second half of the year. Revenues and activities were negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Shambhala Community’s continued challenges. While the results were below budget, they were not a surprise in that budget monitoring and expense controls have been timely and effective. That said, we will need to grow revenues and maintain a tight rein on expenses to move through the balance of the year and into 2021. For the full Q2 financial report click here.
Code of Conduct
The Shambhala Board has reviewed and enthusiastically approved the new Code of Conduct. A download of the five policies can be found on the new Code of Conduct Hub website here. We appreciate the hard work and wisdom of the Code of Conduct Support Group in fashioning this policy. We trust that it will provide the community with a clear sense of common values and purpose going forward. Your feedback on the Code of Conduct will be very important, so please take time to review the policies and fill out the feedback form.
If you have not seen the new website, please look, it is highly informative, and will be updated regularly to keep the community up to date. https://code-of-conduct.shambhala.org/. Finally, the current Care and Conduct website, https://communitycare.shambhala.org, will remain active until the new policies go into effect on Shambhala Day 2021, and will retain information related to the current Care and Conduct Policy, the International C&C Panel, as well as past initiatives.
Sense of Shambhala Survey
The first set of reports from the Sense of Shambhala Survey, conducted by the Shambhala Process Team in early 2020, are available from the Process Team Website. The Board would like to thank the Process Team members who designed the Sensing Shambhala Survey as well as those who collected, analyzed and reported on the results.
A broad cross section of current and former members of Shambhala, as well as those who feel connected to Shambhala but have never actually been members, were invited to respond, and over 3,000 individuals responded. The available reports present the quantitative findings and include summary sections and tables reporting the findings in detail.
The responses reported cover a broad set of personal experiences in Shambhala, experiences with local centers and groups, and views and aspirations for the global Shambhala organization. Among the many interesting findings are the aspects of Shambhala most meaningful to respondents, the distribution of current practice and study paths, how many respondents have felt marginalized or devalued in our community in recent years, and what the impact of the current crisis in Shambhala has been on individuals and on local centers and groups.
The strong response to the survey and the heartfelt quality of the answers to the open-ended questions demonstrate how deeply our community cares about Shambhala. A future report will present an analysis of the many open-ended questions included on the survey.
We are pleased to announce that from the first round of community grant applications we are funding three additional Care and Conduct related projects. These include the following sangha-led training programs:
- Addressing Bias & Trauma (for USD 8.350 by Trinley Busby)
- Awareness Raising Officer Training (for EUR 7.500 by Arnd Riester)
- Establishing the Path of Inclusivity Warriorship & Social Liberation (for USD 7.800 by Charlene Leung)
We are still open to receive applications for the second round of grants focusing on Diversity and Inclusivity, which have an August 31 deadline. So far around 10 enquiries have been received and we are looking forward to reviewing the applications that the Community has been working on. Please use the online form by clicking here.
You can also send us questions to the following email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Appointments and Departures
Shambhala Global Services (SGS) Staff Changes
We would like to acknowledge the retirement of two individuals who have been working for many years for Shambhala and who have been extraordinarily dedicated to their work supporting our community.
Cynthia MacKay has been a stalwart upholding Shambhala government principles, relating tirelessly to center and group leaders worldwide, maintaining community leadership communications and always caring about all the individuals involved. She is known for her adventurous world travels, stopping at centers along the way for meetings, oath ceremonies and practices. We thank Cynthia for the energy and inspiration she has given the community in her role as Deputy Minister of Government.
Shelly Webb has been the Kasung liaison helping with Kasung personnel and administrative issues. She has always brought deep caring and continuity to her work and, although she is leaving her job with SGS, she will continue in a leadership role as part of the new Dorje Kasung Staff Group.
We warmly welcome Nina Migliari to SGS who will take on the Dorje Kasung liaison role as well as working with the Director of Community Care and Conduct.
Position Open: Director of Governance and Leadership
Shambhala is looking for a new mandala-wide leader to step into the role of Director of Governance and Leadership. This position provides direct support to Centre, Group, and other leaders in Shambhala as part of the SGS management team. For more information, click here to see the job description and application information. Applications are due August 22.
Mimi Valiulus and Philip Keogh Stepping Down as Directors of Sky Lake Lodge
We would like to thank Mimi and Philip for their caring work directing Sky Lake Lodge for the last 18 months. They had continued the tradition of taking very good care of program participants and had established a full program schedule before the pandemic. With Sky Lake Lodge now going into caretaker mode (only small community gatherings will be held there), they will be returning to Ireland where Philip has employment, they have their home, and Mimi will continue in her role as Director of Shambhala Online. We wish them every success and appreciate the care they put into Sky Lake Lodge which we will look forward to re-opening once the nation is beyond the pandemic.
Shambhala Global Services:
- Dorje Kasung Liaison to Shambhala Global Services: Nina Migliari
- Coordinating Body: Janet Bronstein, Catherine Éveillard, Jim Fladmark, Shel Sampa Fisher, Kristine McCutcheon, Nora Wiser, Diane Whitcomb
The Coordinating Body was developed from an iterative process of feedback and input from the Process Team, at the conclusion of the first year of work. The structure and current roles of the Coordinating Body can be found here.
Their role isn’t to make decisions for the working groups, but simply to communicate their activity and work. They want to help the community and the Process Team and the Shambhala Board connect to the Working Groups and projects that are happening in Shambhala.
- Emily Bower, Orhun Cercel, Holly Gayley, Lodro Dorje Holm, David Hope, Beate Kirchhof-Schlage, Mitchell Levy, Adam Lobel, Barbara Märtens, Noel McLellan, Melissa Moore, Arnd Riester, John Rockwell, and Sabine Rolf resigned.
- Christie Cashman and Susan Chapman retired for reasons of health.
- Charlene Leung retired.
To read letters from Christie, Susan and Charlene, please click here.
- Anne Bakker resigned as Shastri in Leiden (this was in the past 6 months, but never announced)
- Sandra Ladley resigned as Shastri in Berkeley and Northern California
- Cor Lavan resigned as Shastri in Rotterdam (this happened over 6 months ago.)
- Jerry Webster stepping out of his position as Shastri in Washington D.C. as of the end of August
- Ancilla van Steekelenberg resigned as Shastri in Arnhem
- Rudolf van Zonneveld resigned as Shastri in Utrecht
- Hans Zwart resigned as Shastri in Amsterdam (this happened over 6 months ago.)
- Nick Kranz resigned as Shastri in Boston, MA
Shambhala Global Services:
- Cynthia MacKay resigned as the Director of Centers and Groups and retired as the Deputy Minister of the Pillar of Government of Shambhala
- Shelly Webb stepped down as Dorje Kasung Liaison to Shambhala Global Services.
Sky Lake Lodge:
- Philip Keogh and Mimi Valiulis stepping down as Directors as Sky Lake moves into caretaker mode.
Errata: The last announcements incorrectly stated that Ron Renz and Janet Whalen retired as Co-Directors of Gampo Abbey when, in fact, they had completed their three-year terms of office.