Dear Shambhala Community,
The Board wishes a Cheerful New Year to you all as we enter the Year of the Iron Mouse. We have taken time from our ongoing work to reflect on the past year and consider what lies ahead. The Board continues to work with the Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s exhortation to “Regard chaos as extremely good news.” We are working to move from crisis management to fully recognizing and beginning to address the challenges ahead – to shift, in some sense, from reactivity to proactive responsiveness.
We thank all of you who produced and participated in the Shambhala Day events which reminded us once again what a strong community we are and that we can benefit the world around us. As a Board, we have been sustained by the people who have stepped forward to help, to support financially, and to offer generously of their time and resources, their care and skillful means. While we ended the year fatigued, we are simultaneously inspired and renewed by our strong sense of global community united by our dharmic practice path.
We aspire that the Year of the Iron Mouse may bode well for new initiatives and change, and that the possible obstacles in the I Ching reading from Shambhala Day of arrogance and a limited willingness to learn from past mistakes will be overcome. We know that there will be challenges ahead and that we will all need a collective will to change and fresh exertion to move forward. We recognize that our pace of new beginnings has been too slow for some, too controversial for others. Wherever you are, whatever you may think, we thank you for being there, your support and continued involvement and dedication to this work in progress.
Shambhala Board Decisions:
- Approved the Child Protection Policy (CPP) which will be released to the community later this month.
- Approved the formation of a Child Protection Council to administer the CPP.
- Continue working with the Process Team, for example the Government Models Subgroup and the Offering Group, to move forward with the assessment of community feedback and how to develop proposals based on their work.
- Offer three free online talks by acharyas on the Shambhala principles that bind us in the next couple of months. Further information about these programs will be released once they are available from Shambhala Online.
- Invested a significant portion of the Marpa House proceeds in a protected managed fund. The managed account will use environment screening and put 50% in fixed and floating rate investments and 50% in conservative growth equities. The Board is currently in discussions about the long-term purposes of this fund.
- Advanced $80,000 USD to Shambhala Mountain Center to cover operating costs because of later-than-usual postings of advanced assembly programming.
COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Best Practices
We strongly encourage centers to follow best practices for health and sanitation as the virus continues to spread globally. On Sunday, March 8 and on Friday, March 13, we sent communications to all center and group leaders worldwide with best practices for those communities who are holding programs.
We have also created a resource webpage where we will continue to share best practices and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) as they become available:
- Please click here to access Shambhala’s resource page
- Please click here to access the CDC’s best practices
- Please click here to access the WHO’s best practices
If you are a center leader or program coordinator and have additional help or questions, please contact Cynthia MacKay by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
February 2 Webinar with the Board and Leaders Now Available
With this update, we would like to make available the February 2 webinar that the Board had with Shambhala leaders. A wide range of topics was explored, including the invitation to the Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche to perform the Rigden Abhisheka. Please click here to see the Zoom recording.
Progress on Care and Conduct
The Code of Conduct Support Group (CCSG), the Care and Conduct Panel, and the Board have been working with Tara Templin, Director of Community Care and Conduct on the finalization and implementation of the Child Protection Policy (CPP). The Board has approved the CPP, effective February 26, 2020. We have also authorized the Director to recruit a special Child Protection Panel for the application of the CPP. This new policy will apply to all Shambhala programs and events. Please expect to see this new policy in your inboxes later this month — it is currently being translated and will be available soon.
The Board, the Director of Community Care, and the CCSG are proceeding with meetings and processes in the roll out of the draft Code of Conduct of which the CPP is the first approved part. We urge the community to participate in this process so that the new Code is reflective of our aspirations for the community.
The Board is now in the process of reviewing the 40 proposals we received for community grants by the January 31 deadline. We were very excited about the thoughtful responses from the community and the possibilities that could come from going forward with new initiatives. There is a wide range of requests from our global centers, including proposals related to dharma arts, infrastructure, healing and well-being, education, center support, and finance. The Board and Shambhala Global Services (SGS) staff will be connecting to the grant writers as we continue to evaluate the requests over the coming weeks.
Progress on Nominating New Board Members
The Board Advisory Nominating Group has been interviewing the roster of applicants for Board membership who came forward by the January 15 deadline. The group reports that there are a number of excellent applicants that they are now vetting and then will refer candidates to the Board for approval. The Board is open to expanding its membership as well as replacing members who have left or may leave. We will continue to update you on this process.
Shambhala New Year Fundraising Update
While some Centres and Groups still need to report in fundraising totals, the following is a brief update on Shambhala New Year fundraising pledges and donations to Shambhala USA and Shambhala Canada as of March 9, 2020.
- One Time Donations: $88,024 USD
- Recurring Monthly Donations, including new Lotus Donors (annualized amount): $29,536 USD
- Lotus Donor Campaign Matching Grant: $42,500 USD
- Total: $160,060 USD
For every new Lotus Donor in 2020, $500 USD is released to Shambhala from a $100,000 USD matching grant. To date, there are 85 new Lotus Donors and we hope to release the entire matching gift in 2020.
We are launched toward our 2020 one-time donation goal of $275,000 USD and appreciate the generosity of the community.
As a reminder here are the financial reports we released on February 14 that include the 2020 Budget and 2019 Year-End Financials.
Shambhala Online Offerings
We are excited to begin a year-long course beginning April 19 entitled Foundations for Freedom: The Hinayana, which is open to all and provides an in-depth exploration of these foundational teachings through the lens of Shambhala Terma teachings. The well-received Sexual Harm, Trauma and The Healing Journey course, remains available at no cost to individuals, groups and centers. In addition, we would like to welcome the Shambhala Touching the Earth Collective to the Shambhala Online community. This group of dedicated warriors invites others to join them in individual and collective action for the rebalancing, protection and celebration of a healthy, living world.
Jen Crow Retiring from the Shambhala Board
At the end of March, Jen Crow will be retiring from the Shambhala Board to focus on her career. Jen has recently accepted a corporate position with a large international technology corporation and is now applying Shambhala principles to engineering and management teams around the world. Jen has been an invaluable Board member. Among many important contributions, she managed the re-implementation of the donor system, worked on revenue generation issues with Faradee Rudy, was a member of the communications committee, worked on Board surveys, interfaced with the Process Team and performed many trouble-shooting initiatives. Her common sense, intellect, insight and passionate commitment to Shambhala will be deeply missed.
Appointments and Departures
- Shambhala Global Services – Melanie Klein, Director of Operations, and Tara Templin, Director of Community Care and Conduct
- Shambhala Europe – Joanna Francis, Operations Manager and Helmut Krächan, Managing Director (effective April 1)
- Office of Practice and Education – Jeff Scott, Associate Director
- Boulder, CO – Jessie Friedman, Shambhala Center Director succeeding Melanie Klein
- Columbus, OH – Jean Pittman and Phong Nguyen, Shambhala Center Co-Directors succeeding Kate Curlis
- Halifax, NS – Meg Vigerstad, Shambhala Centre Executive Director
- Pioneer Valley, MA – Mark Seibold, Shambhala Center Director
- Netherlands – Mary Fahrenfort, Regional Coordinator
- Acharyas – Ani Pema Chödrön stepped down as an Acharya, Martin Janowitz retired as an Acharya and David Schneider stepped down as an Acharya
- Economy Pillar – Robert Reichner retired as Minister of Economy
- Office of Societal Health and Wellbeing – Jonathan Kirkendall resigned as Deputy Director
- Southern California – Sharon Owyang retired as Regional Director
- Baltimore – Jennifer Yarbro retired as Shambhala Center Director
- Edmonton, AB, – Anita Christianson and Phyllis Woolley retired as Co-Directors
- Gampo Abbey, NS – Ron Renz and Janet Whelan retiring as Co-Directors
- Ottawa, ON – Bozica Costigliola resigning as Shastri
- West Chester, PA – Shambhala Center closing at the end of April
- Eugene, OR – Teri Rowe retiring from Open Sky Shambhala
- Germany – Dennis Engel retiring as Regional Coordinator
- Netherlands – Fred van Welsem retiring as Regional Coordinator
- Shambhala Europe – Veronika Bauer retired as Managing Director
There are also a number of appointments within the Dorje Kasung. In February 2020, the Council of the Makkyi Rabjam—the leadership body of the Dorje Kasung—resigned from their posts. Following the Council’s resignation, the Dorje Kasung General Staff (GS) was appointed as the Dorje Kasung governing body, utilizing the leadership model from Magyal Pomra Encampment. All GS appointments will take effect on March 24, 2020 and are listed below.
Dorje Kasung Appointments
- GS1 Personnel/Administration (administration, finances, and personnel) – Shelly Webb, Rupön.
- GS 2 High Command (liaison to the Makkyi Rabjam) – Bob Taylor, Rupön. Taylor, Rupön is in communication with the Makkyi, who approved his posting.
- GS 3 Gesar Operations and Security (Gesar Arm activity in regions, regiments, centres, land centres, and programs) – A rotating representative of the active Gesar Regional Commanders. The first representative will be Amanda Hester, Rupön – GES Regional Commander.
- GS 4 Logistics and Physical Camp (physical properties and assets of the Dorje Kasung, including buildings and land) – Will be a rotating representative from SunCamp Leadership Team, first rep. will be Cecily Hardin, Rupön.
- GS 5 Practice and Education (practice path and educational programming) – Sara Lewis, Rupön.
- GS 6 – In development, more details to follow.
- GS 7 Desung (Desung Arm activity in regions, regiments, centres, land centres, and programs) – Ulrike Halpern, Rupön.
- GS 8 Communications and Development (a largely facilitative role, supporting and protecting the quality of communications within the General Staff and between the General Staff and the larger Shambhala mandala) – Robert Ziegler, Rupön.
- GS 9 European Commander (European command and representation) – Véronique Villemagne, Rupön.
- NCO Representative (NCO Corps activity in regions, regiments, centres, land centres, and programs, and Kasung form and tradition) – Sergeant Moya Hallstein.
Dorje Kasung Departures
- Council of the Makkyi Rabjam – Jesse Grimes, Kasung Kyi Khyap, Jan Jercinovic, Desung Arm Commander,Toby Sifton, Gesar Arm Commander, Anna Weinstein, Dorje Kasung Sergeant Major stepping down.
- Note: Mitchell Levy and Andrew Sacamano will remain in their respective roles as Kasung Acharya and Kasung Shastri.
We send our best wishes to everyone as we enter this new Year of the Iron Mouse.
The Shambhala Board