“We are always in transition.
If you can just relax with that, you’ll have no problem.”Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, as quoted in “The Places the Scare You”
Dear Shambhala Community,
Warm greetings to all of you. We hope that each of you are well and are finding space and insight to navigate these challenging times with grace, bravery and compassion. We all have been affected by events brought on by a changing climate, an ongoing global pandemic and extreme societal dynamics.
We want to thank you and all our leaders and volunteers for your practice and dedication to Shambhala vision and work to help others in a world full of suffering. We especially want to express gratitude for our land centers and their volunteers and staff who are providing opportunities for respite and connection to the natural world. Please click here to watch a video that explores each of the land centers.
We are writing to you today with another update on the Shambhala Board’s recent activity and the initiatives of Shambhala Global Services. Much of our focus has been on the discussions with the Sakyong Potrang Board and the Sakyong concerning the future of the Shambhala organization. We are now in regular conversations through a mediator with the Sakyong Potrang Board and the Sakyong. The conversations have been serious and meaningful.
As we announced in our September 9, 2021 Joint Statement from the Shambhala and Potrang Boards, we have agreed to create a protected space for these discussions to continue. To this end, the Sakyong Potrang and the Sakyong have extended the resolution granting the Board its current powers until Shambhala Day of next year, March 3, 2022. This date was chosen to acknowledge the urgency to come to some resolution but to not cause undue pressure on our discussions.
We appreciate the engagement and attention to this process by the Sakyong and the Sakyong Potrang Board. We are guardedly optimistic that these discussions will create the clarity that many Shambhala students have asked for.
We request each member of our community to help us create an environment of openness and understanding in this pivotal time for our Shambhala Mandala. Meeting the uncertainty of the present moment with meditation and compassion practices has been a great aid to us, and we want to encourage individual and community practice as a support for our conversations. We invite everyone to join us in rousing the aspiration of a healed and flourishing Shambhala.
We know that much depends on the mediation conversations. We hope that once they conclude, we will have the clarity for us to address the current uncertainty around Shambhala paths for study, practice, and educator training, as well as refining Shambhala Center/Affiliate relationships with Shambhala Global Services. We very much look forward to sharing more information on these conversations as we are able to open this protected space in agreement with the Sakyong and the Sakyong Potrang Board.
Wishing you all good health and safe and secure living situations,
The Shambhala Board
Shambhala Online New Course Announcements
Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche -“Meditation: The Way of the Buddha”
Learn or refresh your connection to the practice of meditation as taught by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Although decades old, these archival talks from the summer of 1974 retain their original potency and are a reminder of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s incomparable skill at communicating Buddhist teachings to a Western audience. These short talks – from mindfulness practice, to awareness practice, to the realization of emptiness – will be supported by further commentary and facilitated discussion by some of our senior teachers who studied directly with Chogyam Trungpa. These include Pema Chödron, Dale Asrael, Dorje Loppon Lodro Dorje, Gaylon Ferguson, Arawana Hayashi, Marty Janowitz, Larry Mermelstein, and Judith Simmer-Brown. Click here to learn more and register.“Second Sunday” Maitri Bhavana – Shambhala Sunday Gatherings
You are invited to join the global Shambhala community as we come together to practice for the wellbeing of others the second Sunday of each month. Maitri Bhavana is a practice that is done for the benefit of the seriously ill, or for major global turmoil and disasters. Please visit the Shambhala Sunday Gatherings homepage for more information and to register.
Shambhala Training – Levels IV and V
The sangha-wide Heart of Warriorship programs, an initiative conceived by the Board and offered by Shambhala Online, are a great success. Level III, Warrior in the World, with Acharya Judith Simmer-Brown was held in September, and Level IV, Awakened Heart will take place from November 26 – 28. This program will be taught by Acharya Mathias Pongrancz. Level V, Open Sky will be held January 14 – 16, 2022 with Acharya Gaylon Ferguson. Shambhala Online offers a partnership program for centers and groups, where a portion of the proceeds from referred registrants are remitted back to the center. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a code and more information about the partnership program, and click here to learn about this series.
Harvest of Peace
Harvest of Peace is a seasonal transition that marks the autumn equinox in the northern hemisphere and spring in the southern hemisphere. This year it occurred on September 21. Many local centers celebrated with both online and in-person gatherings, and the Touching the Earth Collective and Shambhala Sunday Gatherings hosted a special global celebration of peace on Sunday, September 19. Click here to watch the Touching the Earth Collective Sunday Gathering video. Also in celebration of the season and to mark this special moment in the yearly cycle, the Office of Culture created an evocative and cheering Harvest of Peace video. Please click here to view the video.
Shambhala Financial Update
2020 Annual Report
We are pleased to share the 2020 Shambhala Annual Report with you, which outlines the activity of the Shambhala nonprofit organization during the 2020 calendar year. 2018 and 2019 were challenging years for our community, during which Shambhala was faced with major leadership transitions and the direction of our community was both explored and questioned by practitioners, teachers, leaders, and members at our Centres and Groups around the globe. These challenges have continued into 2020 – and we have also continued to grow and evolve as a community and organization so that we can be together in ways that are even more supportive, genuine, and kind. Please click here to download a pdf copy of the Annual Report.Windhorse Retreat Center Land Sale
In December 2020 we announced our intent to accept an offer on 33 acres of land in Plymouth WI adjoining the regional Windhorse Retreat Center, which had previously suspended operations. Click here to read the December update. This transaction has now been completed, and the land has been transferred back to the original owners for $100,000 USD (the same price we paid in 2005). Prior to the sale we consulted with city centers in the Midwest region as well as major donors for the original purchase, and in conjunction with their wishes, we will use the estimated $100,000 USD proceeds to support other Shambhala retreat centers, city centers that are struggling, and regional needs.
Third Quarter 2021 Finances
Shambhala Global Services had a profit of $48,575 USD for the first eight months of 2021. Click here to view the income statement. Two non-recurring items helped our results, the COVID-related Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy ($44,231 USD) and the $100,000 USD land sale in Wisconsin (see above). Without these two special items we would have posted a loss for the period.
Fundraising from individuals and transfers from land centers and city centers continues to be challenging due to the continuing uncertainty in our community about what the future holds and the impact of the pandemic. SGS staff is working to diversify our revenue for 2022 and beyond by developing online courses with appeal to both members and nonmembers, such as the upcoming Shambhala Online “Meditation: The Way of the Buddha” course.
We continue to watch our expenses carefully while also working to reinvest some funds from the sale of Marpa House back into the community through community grants, center support, and Care & Conduct initiatives.
Looking towards the rest of the year, we plan to conduct our usual year-end fundraising campaign, and depending on the results of that effort, we may end the year anywhere from a small loss to breakeven.
Shambhala Archives Fundraising Update
Most people in our community don’t realize that the materials and wealth of dharma that the Shambhala Archives holds are so vast. From eight-year-old Rites of Passage to Kalapa Assemblies, Shamatha Meditation instruction to Vajrayogini and Chakrasamvara Abishekas – it is all there for future practitioners. There are teachings by Kobun Chino Roshi and Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, His Holiness the 16th Karmapa, His Holiness Dilgo Khyenste Rinpoche, Khenpo Kharthar, and others, as well as Alan Ginsberg and Timothy Leary – all in our library of recordings. The Shambhala Archives truly holds one of the largest audio-visual collections of Tibetan Buddhist teachers in the West.
Our recent fundraising campaign in support of the Shambhala Archives brought in just over $10,500 CAD, and 26 people became new recurring monthly donors. This will go a long way towards helping the Archives continue its important work of preserving Shambhala’s legacy. A heartfelt thank you to all those who donated!
Update from the Office of Care and Conduct
We continue to feel genuine concern for healing the harm that people have experienced in our community and are pleased to be able to share with you some updates on the various initiatives that have come to life over the last years. We also want to reiterate our commitment to culture change and increased awareness, caring, and action in Shambhala. Please send us your ideas and inspirations for this work as we truly welcome your participation and co-creation.
Training continues to be a major focus of Care and Conduct.
A Restorative Justice (RJ) training will be offered to over 30 individuals from the Code of Conduct Team and Process Team leaders in September, and an 8-week RJ/Active Peace Circle Facilitation Training is being offered on a donation basis, open to all beginning in October. Click here for more information and to register.
Gender Dynamics – Conversations on Gender and Sexuality in the Three Yanas of Buddhism opens September 25th with talks by Holly Gayley and guests, and conversations facilitated by Tara Templin. Click here for more information and to register. Live sessions are: October 22, October 29, and December 17.
Scholarships for Right Use of Power Teacher Training beginning in November are available. Click here for more information and email email@example.com if you would like to request financial support.
A Right Use of Power 2 Day Retreat: Using Power Wisely with Heart: An embodiment workshop for Right Use of Power practitioners and students. Details coming soon.
Examining Whiteness with the Heart of Warriorship, a six week course facilitated by Sue Gilman, LaDawn Haglund and Tara Templin. Details coming soon.
The Code of Conduct continues to be implemented throughout the sangha, with local community presentations happening in North America and Europe (if you would like to request a local presentation, please contact Nina at firstname.lastname@example.org). In addition, a colour poster of the Code of Conduct is being mailed to all centres with physical locations. For a pdf of the printable poster, click here. Finally, if you are inviting someone to teach or facilitate, please review these draft Guest Presenter Guidelines.
Stupa Recovery Project
Last summer’s Cameron Peak fire swept across the Rockies and engulfed the Stupa (situated next to Shambhala Mountain Center) and all buildings in its vicinity. The good news is that with intensive, specialized cleaning, the blanket of soot and ash clinging to every surface and object in the Stupa can be removed and other damage repaired. Although the adjacent Visitor Center and Art Studio were completely destroyed (as were the retreat cabins, trailers and other smaller structures in the area), these can be rebuilt.
The Stupa Recovery Project was launched in June to plan the fire clean-up, repair work, and construction of the new Visitor/Support Center and fully restore the premier symbol of Shambhala – whose full name is The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya Which Liberates Upon Seeing – and its unique power to inspire students and visitors from many traditions as envisioned by Trungpa Rinpoche.
Insurance proceeds from the fire will cover some of the work, but more is needed to realize our goals. Please keep an eye out for ways to support this project so we can once again welcome the Shambhala community and all guests. Please contact Melanie Klein at email@example.com with any questions.
Societal Well-Being Monitoring Project Update
This is a new Shambhala Board-sponsored initiative that aims to uncover the key questions and indicators that will help both Shambhala leadership and the community to understand how we are doing as a community and organization, our general state of health and well-being, what we are doing well, and where we need to improve.
The scope of this project has been organized into five areas:
- Paths, Teachings, Practices, Programs & Studies
- Governance, Leadership, Communications & Interconnections
- Economy, Resources & Assets
- Care and Conduct & Protection
- Culture & Community Well-being
Our intention is to monitor the key questions for each of these domains regularly (annually or bi-annually) and in this way understand how Shambhala as a community and organization is doing and where we need to do better in an ongoing way. This data will help us deepen our understanding of what and who we are as a community, as opposed to making assumptions about “how we are doing”, and will greatly aid in decision-making and planning for the future. To learn more about this project and its phases, click here.
September, 2021 Appointments and Departures
Phil Cass has stepped down as a Shambhala Board Director as of August 2021. We felt fortunate to have Phil on the Board from May, 2020. Phil came to this position with tremendous experience as an executive in the medical and mental health fields and years of working with the Windhorse Leadership Institute. Phil brought clarity and genuineness to all that he worked with and was one of our favorite meeting facilitators. He focused on being the Board liaison for the Care and Conduct Committee under Tara Templin’s leadership, helping with the roll-out of the Care and Conduct policy. He was also involved with the Board’s Governance, Vision and Planning and Revenue Generation committees. We wish Phil everything good as he continues his work with the Physicians Leadership Academy.
Ashley Dinges retired as the Director of Communications in May 2021 after serving all aspects of the mandala in this capacity for four years. Ashley was a great help to Shambhala, bringing expertise in working with the press, social media, and community communications. All of our communications benefited from her touch. She worked on the annual Shambhala Day broadcast team, supported our web sites, email communications, the Shambhala Times, our Revenue Generating courses and hosted many webinars, particularly those for the Board. Ashley was a strong support for the Board and the entire global Shambhala community. We wish her every success.
We are very happy to welcome Rose Keyes as the new Director of Communications and Marketing. Rose comes to Shambhala with over eight years of communications experience in both the nonprofit and for-profit realms. Her areas of expertise include communications planning, organizational messaging and visioning, and copy editing. In addition to her communications work, Rose is also a 200 Hour Certified Yoga Teacher. She offers online and in-person classes in the western North Carolina area, and has maintained a personal yoga and meditation practice for the past fifteen years. Rose originally joined Shambhala as a Communications Associate working for Ashley and applied for the Director position when Ashley retired.
Phil Cass stepped down from the Shambhala Board (August 2021)
Ashley Dinges retired as Director of Communications (May 2021)
Inez de Munnik retired as a Shastri (September 2020)
Alex Van Gils retired as Archives Operations Director
Aart-Jan van de Pol resigned as Amsterdam Shambhala Center Co-Director
Ralph Wieske resigned as Amsterdam Shambhala Center Director
Sara Hall-Kapp retired as Sky Lake’s temporary caretaker
Suzann Duquette stepping down as Rupa Acharya, while continuing as an Acharya
Shelley Heinz stepped down from her role as Shastri (September 10, 2021)
Shastri Donna Williams is retiring (effective at Harvest of Peace).
Rose Keyes – Director of Communications and Marketing
Natasha West – Communications and Marketing Associate
David Brown – Archives Operations Director
Rosie Pittas – Archives Technical Director
Eloy Portillo – Iberian Regional Coordinator