To the Dorje Kasung:
It has been some time since you have heard from us. We want to share with you
what the Kasung leadership has been doing and going through over the past 18
months. This letter includes: a brief recounting of the past year, an outline of where
the Dorje Kasung leadership is headed in the immediate future, and what we all can
do to continue the path of Kasungship moving forward.
For the CMR, as for the entire Shambhala community, the past 18 months have been
a time of deep reflection—both collectively and individually. We have been
reflecting upon many questions including: What is the right next step for the Dorje
Kasung? How do we care for ourselves and all of you at the same time? How do we
provide guidance for Dorje Kasung in navigating the difficult and challenging waters
in which we find ourselves? How can we hold a measure of accountability for harm
that has occurred in our community while remaining steadfast in our trust in the
Kasung teachings? How can we continue to serve in the absence of guidance from
the Makkyi Rabjam? Given the chaotic and toxic aspects of social media, how can we
shape a message that might provide a beacon of wisdom and sanity for the Dorje
We have struggled to hold all of the many aspects of loyalty and protection that we
feel are part of our mandate. The Kasung – just like the rest of the Shambhala
sangha – have expressed many strongly held and conflicting views. The CMR has
been very careful not to make decisions in reaction to extreme views. Our deliberate
response to our reflections on these difficult questions has been to hold the space
for the Dorje Kasung, and we recognize that for many of you, this has been regarded
as mere silence. When we have had to make choices and take action, we have
endeavored to act in ways that reflect our intention to protect the lineage, the
teachings, the practice of Kasungship, and the greater Shambhala community.
From June 2018 to January 2019, there were numerous communications between
the CMR and the Dorje Kasung through zoom calls and practice sessions and letters.
Over the last months, large zoom calls seemed less and less helpful, and we
prioritized individual conversations.
During this period, it became clear to us that an updated and expanded leadership
model was needed to lead the Dorje Kasung into the next phase. To that end, 6
months ago the “Dorje Kasung Advisory Group” was formed to advise the CMR and
represent our desire to include more diverse voices and perspectives into our
discussions and decision-making process.
One of the key questions for the CMR has been the nature of our relationship with
the Makkyi Rabjam. Although we have reached out several times, the CMR has not
had any direct communication from the Makkyi for the past 18 months and it has
become apparent to us that we are no longer a “Council” to the “Makkyi Rabjam” as
we once were.
During the past months, we know there have been three visits to the Shambhala
community (to Shambhala Mountain Center, Vermont, and the Netherlands) by the
Makkyi Rabjam since his formal departure from the Boulder Court. We have not
been a part of the communication, organization, or in the chain of command for any
of those visits and we were unaware of the details of these visits.
We see a new informal chain of command emerging around the Makkyi as he
reaches out to individual Kasung, and we now understand that this reflects his
current vision for Dorje Kasung service in his Court mandala.
It has become clear to us that, while changes need to be made, without an ongoing
connection of some kind with the Makkyi Rabjam, we cannot continue as a CMR.
The Makkyi appointed each of us to our posts on the CMR to lead the Dorje Kasung
under a particular command structure and vision. It is clear that that mandate has
now changed, and that our terms are at an end. Shortly we will be formally and
publicly dissolving the current CMR and have already informed the Makkyi Rabjam
by letter of this decision. It is the role and responsibility of the Makkyi Rabjam to
designate each of our posts, so we will not be appointing a new CMR or the posts
associated with the CMR.
Instead we are transitioning command to a Dorje Kasung General Staff group to
support the daily activity of the Kasung. The new leadership body will hold
responsibility for guiding the Dorje Kasung until such time as the Makkyi Rabjam
chooses to appoint a new CMR or move forward in a different way. This new group
will not direct the Kusung or Kasung service that is directly in service to the Makkyi
and his family, as this is now determined directly by the Makkyi, although it is our
hope that eventually there will be some kind of connection to this new Dorje Kasung
General Staff group. All existing chains of command, including regional line
command in all arms of service, are represented in this new structure, so that all
Kasung in active service will have a clear reference point. Two CMR members also
hold posts outside of the CMR: Kasung Shastri Andrew Sacamano and Kasung
Acharya Mitchell Levy. Those posts are different from their CMR-specific posts, so
they will not be leaving those posts as part of this change. Neither will sit on this
new leadership group but will be a practice and education resource to it if called
The exact composition and terms of the new Dorje Kasung General Staff group are
being finalized now and we will inform you of the details very soon.
It is hoped that the Advisory Group mentioned above will continue to support the
Dorje Kasung General Staff group.
It is our deepest wish that our action does not lead to more divisiveness, but rather
can facilitate healing and harmony.
Many of you have been serving over these past months in roles similar to what we
have all done in the past – protecting our Shambhala Center communities and
practice spaces, showing up as Garsung staff for Assemblies, running Sun Camp, and
teaching EHOK classes and Trident Assemblies. The intention of this transition is to
maintain and preserve the tradition of Kasung forms, practices, and chain of
command. We strongly encourage all of you to continue in these Kasung activities
and support our community in ways that you feel are appropriate at this time.
As always, thank you for your continued service, fundamental goodness, and your
strong Kasung hearts. We will keep you informed as things move forward.
Yours in the True Command,
Jesse Grimes, Kasung Kyi Khyap
Mitchell Levy, Lamen Kyi Khyap
Jan Jercinovic, Desung Arm Commander
Andrew Sacamano, Kasung Shastri
Toby Sifton, Gesar Arm Commander
Anna Weinstein, Dorje Kasung Sergeant Major