Shambhala Buddhism and the new curriculum

June 16, 2009 by     Print This Post Print This Post

An Interview with Acharya Adam Lobel

Reporting and commentary by Barbara Blouin.

It was in 2000 that Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche first announced that Buddhism (according to the Kagyü and Nyingma traditions taught by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche) and the Shambhala teachings of Chögyam Trungpa were no longer separate or distinct, but were “inseparable.” Trungpa Rinpoche also spoke of the Buddhist and Shambhala teachings as inseparable, but he also said that Shambhala had its own independent basis. By creating what is now called “Shambhala Buddhism,”  the Sakyong has undermined that independent basis.  Since he first spoke of “Shambhala Buddhism,” various changes have occurred in the way the Buddhist path and the Shambhala teachings have been presented and organized. It is significant that the name of the organization founded by Chögyam Trungpa – Vajradhatu – was changed to Shambhala International, and, more recently, to Shambhala.

The Sakyong’s underlying purpose of bringing together Buddhism and Shambhala is to create a “unified path.”

By asking our students to move through a unified path, they will be exposed to a range of skillful means that best represents a complete expression of our mandala as a whole. The view of a unified path is not to blend the Buddhist and Shambhala language until it is indistinguishable. The view is to allow the singular power of both expressions to nourish, challenge, and deepen our students. The Shambhala teachings and the various practices and views of the Buddhadharma each have their own distinct purposes and we must understand their differences.

[This] path does not necessarily lead to seminary or advanced Vajrayana practices. Instead, a person struggling in the darkness and fear of the setting sun could be sufficiently inspired, roused, processed, and softened by these stages to find themselves living a healthier and more dignified life. People of all faiths and backgrounds can walk this path; no Buddhist commitment is requested until entering Vajrayana seminary.

Source: The Way of Shambhala Overview in the Shambhala Training Manual

Before “Shambhala Buddhism” came into being, there were the Buddhist teachings and there were the Shambhala teachings of Chögyam Trungpa. How could Shambhala Buddhism join these traditions without changing both of them profoundly? I thought that 1 + 1 = 2. But here, 1 + 1 = 1, -or so it seems.

My attempt to understand what “Shambhala Buddhism” means eventually led to learning as much as I could about what is being called “the new curriculum.” Although this is only one part of major changes the Sakyong has made in the way both the Shambhala and Buddhist teachings are presented, I decided not to try to do too much – to only chew on what I might be able to digest. My first step was to contact Carolyn Mandelker, who is Director of the Shambhala Office of Practice and Education. We met in Carolyn’s office at the Halifax Shambhala Centre and talked for close to an hour. That meeting with Carolyn was useful, but I also felt that what I learned was not much more than a road map: This is what happens first, and next …. and next … Such-and-such programs have or haven’t been changed. Carolyn repeatedly told me: “This is a work in progress.” It became clear to me that this was a much bigger subject than we could explore in any depth in the time we had together.

My next step was to send an e-mail to Acharya Adam Lobel to ask for an interview. It was Acharya Lobel, together with Carolyn Mandelker and Acharya Christie Cashman, who worked together intensively to create this curriculum, under the guidance of the Sakyong. In April I spoke with Acharya Lobel by phone; we talked for close to two hours. An edited and abridged version of that interview is the basis for this article.

1. What is the new curriculum? 

Somewhere between one and two years ago,  Shambhala International began to  introduce “the new curriculum.”  Currently, this curriculum is being piloted in 16 Shambhala Centres – eleven in the United States; three in Canada; and two in western Europe. These sixteen pilot programs are distributed among small, medium, and large centers, including one practice center: Dorje Denma Ling in Nova Scotia. Other centres continue to offer Shambhala Training without the classes.

The new curriculum is a key component of The Way of  Shambhala. Following Shambhala Training Level I, now a briefer one-evening-and-one-day program, participants may choose to continue with a series of six evening classes called Meditation in Everyday Life, which is not a part of the new curriculum.

The new curriculum begins after Level II. During Level II, participants are encouraged, but not required, to register for the Tiger series of six weekly evening classes. Tiger and the rest of the new curriculum – Lion, Garuda, and Dragon – can also be taken independently of  Shambhala Training. In the centers where the new curriculum is offered, it alternates with the Shambhala Training levels. Dragon, the final series, happens after Level V.  Students also have the option of following the Shambhala Training levels without the classes.

2. Interview with Acharya Adam Lobel

Adam: The basic process of creating what we’ve been calling “the new curriculum” was initiated in 2005. The Sakyong arranged a conference call with Carolyn Mandelker and Acharyas John Rockwell, Christie Cashman, Jeremy Hayward, and myself. We were the people who the Sakyong gathered to say: let’s look at our curriculum overall. After that we went through a series of meetings and retreats. We spent five days together at to Dorje Denma Ling, practicing the Werma sadhana and thinking about what the Sakyong was asking us to do, as well as how to respond to the needs of centers.

The intensive, on-the-ground portion of our work has been carried out by myself, Carolyn Mandelker, and Christie Cashman. A lot of this new curriculum has been based on the requests and the needs of centers that we’ve been hearing from for the last maybe twenty years. The Sakyong has been talking about this curriculum from a lha, or heaven, perspective, but he also wanted us to connect with earth. A lot of our work has been trying to look at our huge, diverse community with a wide range of different needs. There are large centers with many teachers, and small centers with no teachers. We have centers where people can only do programs on weekends, and we have centers where people can’t do weekend programs. And we worked hard to offer programs that will be skillful in these different contexts.

Question: How, exactly, have Buddhism, in the Kagyu/Nyingma tradition of Chögyam Trungpa, and the Shambhala teachings been brought together in the new curriculum? From what I’ve seen so far, two things seem to be going on: Buddhist and Shambhala teachings are presented side by side; and in at least one instance that I know of, Buddhist and Shambhala teachings are mixed together, in such a way that new students would be unable to distinguish which is which. For example, the Four Immeasurables chant that appears on a handout for Lion, which ends with the last line of a Shambhala chant. That bothers me.

Adam: Why does it bother you?

Q: Because it’s the joining of a traditional Buddhist chant, and a Shambhala chant that was created by Chögyam Trungpa. I don’t know how often this kind of thorough mixing takes place.

Adam: As far as I can recall, I don’t think there are other examples quite like that. The way the Sakyong guided us, and most of our intentions throughout developing this curriculum, was to try to think of the student, and to ask: What would be of benefit to students at this stage in their journey, in terms of the incredibly vast range of teachings that we have in this tradition? What are some of the kinds of key words, teachings, practices, and ideas that will really touch a person at this stage in their journey, someone who is trying to understand what we’re all about? Along the way, we would often present something to the Sakyong. Then he would say something, and we would give that some form. He’d often say things like: “Stop thinking about the categories that you have in your mind, that you think students should know, and start thinking about what really would be of benefit.”

Q:  I said that it seemed like Shambhala and Buddhist teachings are being presented side by side. Would you agree that that’s an accurate statement?

Adam: It’s definitely an accurate statement. The language that the Sakyong has been using, and that we’ve been using, is a “unified curriculum.” It’s trying to draw on the richness of all of Trungpa Rinpoche’s teachings, and put them together in an accessible, inviting, experiential, and transformative way. When we talk about the the new curriculum, which is part of The Way of Shambhala I, it is one portion of a pre-seminary curriculum for people who are headed in the direction of Seminary.

There are three main components to the new curriculum. The first is the outermost stage of offerings. The outermost offerings are programs that have no prerequisites, and they are open to anyone. Shambhala Training Level I is in this outermost category, but it also can be envisioned as part of the Way of Shambhala.

The next part is what most people refer to as the new curriculum: the series of the classes on the four Dignities, called Tiger, Lion, Garuda, and Dragon. That’s what we have really worked through. There has been a tremendous amount of work and all sorts of failures and mistakes and re-envisionings, and going back to the drawing boards. We’re still revising the curriculum.

The final phase of the pre-seminary curriculum includes the Sacred Path material, as well as a deeper study of Buddhist teachings such as abhidharma and lojong. There will also be a public introduction to the vajrayana, including a Sadhana of Mahamudra weekend.

The basic approach to The Way of Shambhala is to map out an experiential journey. The first part of that journey is to develop basic mindfulness and a relationship with basic goodness and a sense of gentleness.

Q: Using the Tiger series as an example: in the first class, are students introduced to the qualities exemplified by Meek?

Adam: Yes, and these qualities also seem to have a resonance with some of the qualities of an arhat, a dharmic person—the way Trungpa Rinpoche describes the Buddha and the dharmic person, who move with grace and gentleness and a kind of composure. The emphasis in the first class is to give students a sense of the basic quality that they’ll be practicing and studying and contemplating. The analogy for Meek is the tiger: moving carefully and with mindfulness, incredibly aware, senses awake and attuned, with discipline and gentleness and humility.

Q: It seems, from looking at the schedule that Carolyn gave to me, that some qualities of each of the Dignities are presented in each of the levels, but not all of them. For example, the quality for Tiger here is contentment, but the other qualities to be cultivated are not named. Does the teacher talk about those other qualities as well?

Adam: In a sense we are emphasizing a central quality – “contentment” here. One way to translate the Tibetan word for contentment is “meek.” And we felt that, with guidance from the Sakyong, contentment was a kind of seed syllable for what we’re trying to communicate to students and give them an experience of. What comes with that, of course, is the relationship of contentment with the absence of arrogance.

We always explore what the Dignity refrains from. I think it’s one way to understand how Buddhism and Shambhala support each other. We look at the obstacle of arrogance, for example, for the Dignity of Meek. And then after exploring it, we look personally, experientially at our own arrogance. And we have an opportunity to study Trungpa Rinpoche’s teachings on  the three kinds of suffering, in order to give students another language, another angle to understand where obstacles arise. I do not believe that we have exhausted the entire principle of Meek, but, rather, given one experience of it. Nor, of course, have we exhausted the teachings on the hinayana, by any means. We’re trying to give students an experiential taste that actually sticks with them in their body and their experience.

Q: I noticed some new words in the schedule for the Tiger classes – and one that is not in either the Buddhist or Shambhala vocabulary: “stress.” That was a surprise to me, and I’m not comfortable with it.

Adam: Trungpa Rinpoche used to talk about speediness all the time. I think it’s interesting to use the word “stress” because there is so much stress and  speed, and overall chaos, that so many people are experiencing in our world. And that’s precisely why the ground of this journey is a kind of mindfulness and gentleness.

Q: The schedule I’ve been talking about displays a basic logic: The first two classes are ground; the next three are path; and the last is fruition. There is also a clear pattern in each series, which is always the same: The first class is  … hmm, what? It’s not shown on the chart. The chart only says “Introduction.” Is the first class Shambhala and Buddhist? Classes two and three present Shambhala teachings, and classes four and five are Buddhist. The sixth class is Shambhala. Would you comment on this use of logic?

Adam: I’ve stopped thinking about it in terms of which is Shambhala content and which is Buddhist content. There are elements of both trying to support each other. They offer a different language and perspectives, but they are not essentially different. For example, one student might connect with the teachings on the experience of the cocoon, and another student might feel supported by the clarity of the presentation of the five skandhas.

Q: One aspect of my discomfort with this approach is that Trungpa Rinpoche clearly and repeatedly said that Shambhala is a secular path, and its purpose is to create enlightened society. And Buddhism, even though it’s nontheistic, is classified as a religion. There’s a priesthood, et cetera. So when you bring the two together, what happens to the secular teaching? I know there’s a lot of discomfort about that in our sangha. Have you heard that?

Adam: Sure. Speaking for myself, Carolyn, and the other acharyas I’ve been working with, we’ve all had our questions about Shambhala Buddhism, and we’ve  questioned the Sakyong and each other. We’re trying to understand what it means when those two words are uttered at the same time. In terms of the secular question – what do we mean by “secular”? And how did the Dorje Dradul use that word? And what was he trying to get at?

Q: Well, for one thing, Shambhala was something that anybody could learn and practice. Trungpa Rinpoche said that very specifically. You could be a Christian or a Jew or a Muslim. Or you could be an atheist. So it was secular and it did not lead to Buddhism. However, in the “old days,”  the Shambhala population was 99% Buddhist. In later years participants were less likely to be Buddhist; probably the majority of the nonBuddhists were Christian. I’m speaking from my own experience here in Halifax.

Of course, it is true that Buddhism and the Shambhala teachings are compatible, but to the uninitiated, the Buddhist part was invisible. Some of those Christian Shambhalians were quite committed. (I am using the past tense, because I think they have “dropped out.”) They were considered sangha – by themselves as well as by the Buddhist sangha. Some of them were quite distressed when the Shambhala teachings became “Shambhala Buddhism.”

Adam: The vision hasn’t changed at all. This path is open to people of any religion, and the new curriculum is explicit about that. There’s no requirement to take refuge and become a Buddhist—unless someone wants to go to Vajrayana Seminary. So that means that people can go all the way through the new curriculum, including Sutrayana Seminary and Warrior’s Assembly, without being Buddhists. And that’s not just a bureaucratic point; it has to do with our view, which is the view of basic goodness, which is not based on religious affiliation. The whole point of enlightened society, and the whole point of our efforts to teach and to practice together, is because of trust in basic goodness, and extending that to the world. The Sakyong is encouraging us to move beyond the idea of giving students a choice before they have even been exposed to any real depth of experience or learning a practice, where we would say: “Are you a religious type? Do you want to be a Buddhist? Or are you a nonreligious type and want to be a Shambhalian?” Somebody at a Shambhala Center where I was working described it this way: she was standing on two logs in a river. One log is Shambhala and one is Buddhist. She felt that the two logs were getting further and further apart, and her legs stretched into a kind of split. And one of the things she appreciated about the new curriculum is that the two were together, and that offered her a stronger stance.

Q: Does it matter whether some, or maybe many, of the students going through this curriculum aren’t really able to discriminate which of the teachings are Buddhist, and which are Shambhala? You’ve been talking about that anyway – saying that the point isn’t to see which is which, but whether it works. For some people, it’s a big issue. Non-Buddhists no longer have the opportunity to explore the inseparability of Shambhala vision and their traditions: the deepest parts of Shambhala vision are marked with Buddhist language, imagery, and tradition.

Adam: I think it’s very personal. There are some students for whom that kind of analysis and understanding is very important, and there are others for whom it isn’t important. If a student asks me, “Is this Shambhala or is this Buddhist?” I would try to give as clear an answer as possible about the source of a given teaching.

I have spent a lot of time studying the Shambhala terma teachings, and I kept asking myself: What is different here? And what is the same? I’m happy and honoured to be able to spend my life exploring those questions. There’s so much richness condensed into this language of the terma that we are just beginning to unpack. Take anything – the Golden Key text, let’s say. What an incredible poetic masterful work. It’s amazing! To me, that’s what Shambhala Buddhism and this new path are all about: realizing that we are the ones who inherited this stream of teachings from Trungpa Rinpoche, and there’s no one else on the planet who is in that situation. And it’s our job to dive into it and to understand it and to unpack it – and then pass it on.

3. Finally …


My root guru and heart teacher has been dead for twenty-two years,  but his teachings continue to live in me and in so many others – through his books, through audio and video recordings, through the memories and personal testimonies of those who knew him, and through the devotion of an increasing number of those who never knew him during his lifetime.

We know that Chögyam Trungpa, from whose vast mind the Shambhala teachings arose, considered the purity of the Buddha’s teachings to be of the highest importance. In 1983, on the occasion of the installation of the Kangyur in the shrine room in Boulder, Rinpoche referred to other editions of the Kangyur (see a little background on the Kangyur) in Tibet or in China, that had been heavily edited by other sects. Those who altered these texts, he said, had inserted their own ideas and beliefs into the original teachings. He described the edition of the Kangyur that was being installed as pure and straight and unaltered.

What he said that day in Boulder might be a clue for us, but we will never really know what the Dorje Dradul would have thought of the mixing-together of the Shambhala and Buddhist teachings, or of the new moniker “Shambhala Buddhism.” The only thing we can do is to connect with our own hearts and ask ourselves what we think about those changes, and how we feel.

Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche always insisted that his students not accept as givens what they were taught, but closely and critically examine everything they read and heard – and only then would they be ready to make up their own minds. In this matter he was always absolutely uncompromising and fierce.

In working on this article I have done my best to present “Shambhala Buddhism” as it was presented to me by two students of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. I must admit that this process of asking questions and listening carefully to the responses that were given has not been easy for me. Although I have usually been able to follow the Sakyong’s logic, as it was offered to me through the filter of Acharya Lobel’s admirably clear intellect, in my not-so-secret heart, what I learned just didn’t feel right. It still doesn’t.

The way I see it, as Radio Free Shambhala has evolved, what is most interesting of all, and most vital and important, are comments from readers. I am eagerly looking forward to what you who are “out there” have to say, both the old dogs and the new pups – and especially those who disagree. I am also particularly interested in hearing from newer students who have started coming to Shambhala Centers since the advent of the “Shambhala Buddhist path.”

From Lion: The Windhorse of Delight:


May all beings enjoy happiness and the root of happiness.
May they be free from suffering and the root of suffering.
May they not be separated from the great happiness, devoid of suffering.
May they dwell in great equanimity, free from passion, aggression, and ignorance.
May all beings enjoy profound, brilliant glory.


281 Responses to “Shambhala Buddhism and the new curriculum”

  1. damchö on August 17th, 2009 6:59 pm

    “…it seems very easy for devotion to be twisted into a mechanism for self-justification. It’s a very small twist at first, but down that road lies the whole horrorshow of cult behavior.”

    Yes, thank you Ngakma Zer-me. And it’s a shame that we can barely even use the word “cult-like” anymore, due to its identification only with crazed self-appointed gurus, mass murder, mass suicide etc. The word is occasionally brought up at Shambhala centres precisely in order to laugh at it. And from the ordinary perspective on what the word means that’s understandable. But also unfortunate because it used to cover a much wider range of concerns than just those melodramatic and very extreme ones.

    Perhaps we will have to come up with another word which highlights the following dangers: insularity and separation along with strong emphasis on one’s own uniqueness, hints of hubris, marginalization of dissent, increasing importance placed upon monitoring and control via the police / military function of the kasung, the phenomenon of groupthink in various ways, increasing glorification over the years of the leader and leader’s family, and so on. And not least: ridicule of anyone–with NO LESS devotion to the lineage–who happens to be genuinely concerned about these things.

    “Edward: ‘A lot of the evil committed in the world is done in the name of one religious figure or another. . . . How could we be wrong, since we’ve got everything Holy on our side?’

    Edward, for me the answer to that question is: because certain basic dharma teachings are constantly forgotten. Trungpa Rinpoche called the vajrayana a “spiritual atomic bomb”. He warned of its dangers earnestly and often. Vajrayana came from and was practiced within an extraordinarily different socio-cultural world. Are we yet ready to implement it in the West? For me this remains an open question, as I witness various forms of arrogant and shockingly uncompassionate behaviour from those who have been empowered by it–not just the green 20-year-old seminarians but from senior teachers also (almost entirely in this particular sangha I should add). And maybe one of the glories of Shambhala was to have been its capacity to introduce the power of tantra in a form which we in the West could comprehend better, could practice more faithfully and with less confusion. Maybe Rinpoche saw all the dangers and presented Shambhala as an approach which we could practice with less risk of toxicity. I can only speculate.

    One thing I can say though is that the Shambhala sangha has moved in a very radically different direction to every other Tibetan Buddhist sangha in the West. And all the ways in which it has diverged from all the other sanghas are ways which will tend to heighten the danger you bring up Edward, rather than diminish it. The Shambhala leadership as I have seen it certainly does seem to feel that it has “everything Holy on their side”.

    And now, having in good faith voiced my genuine worries, borne of real experience and tempered by much devil’s advocacy: cue the predictable ridicule.

  2. Edward on August 17th, 2009 7:22 pm

    Thanks for the responses.

    My old teacher recommended the book “Journey Without Goal”, among many titles by Trungpa Rinpoche.

    He also talked about cultism with some regularity, and said that it’s just another form of cocoon, or self-enclosed withdrawal from what is “outside” to protect the presumed “center”, except it’s done on a larger scale. He said in his opinion the scale doesn’t make any difference– anything or anyone that can have a self-identity can also engage in cocoon behavior– people, liver cells, social groups, all sorts of things.

    For me, that kind of explanation makes it all so very simple.

  3. danny goldberger on August 17th, 2009 7:45 pm

    ‘Perhaps we will have to come up with another word which highlights the following dangers: insularity and separation along with strong emphasis on one’s own uniqueness, hints of hubris, marginalization of dissent, increasing importance placed upon monitoring and control via the police / military function of the kasung, the phenomenon of groupthink in various ways, increasing glorification over the years of the leader and leader’s family, and so on. ‘

    I don’t think these things are accurate. Simply, at no point are people being encouraged to be ‘precious little snowflakes'[strong emphasis on one’s own uniqueness] which seems to contradict the groupthink idea, which also seems pretty far fetched in my experience. The notion of the Kasung as a control mechanism is just silly. Just because Karelis said it doesn’t make it true. The glorification of the leader and family was in full swing while the DD was alive.(some might remember a huge kerfuffle when he bought Lady Diana a Porsche)
    and those Senior teachers behaving uncompassionately. . . Students of the Dorje Dradul no doubt.
    The point being, yes of course there are problems. The amount of agression that comes from posters here should be enough to make it clear that there have always been problems. Suggesting that this arises from the current Sakyong is absurd. It is the students. . . of both Sakyongs who cause these problems. There are a handful of students who actually do the practices right, they are very decent people. There are many who at least have softened a little. . . and there are positively scads who have only made things worse for themselves. This has nothing to do with who was teaching, in breath/outbreath, or what you call it on a given day. This is the fact that the Vajrayana is treacherous, and ego is a sticky wicket.
    Damcho, I hope you don’t think I am ridiculing you by pointing out that I think your observations are contradictory and incongruent with my own.

    To Namkha etc. I have complete confidence in the Sakyong, as do many many others, Your statement is simply a slam. It has no merit.

  4. damchö on August 17th, 2009 8:42 pm

    Danny, no I don’t believe your last post is ridiculing me. But I believe you have misunderstood my point about uniqueness. If you go back and reread that paragraph, it should be clear I am referring to the *group’s* uniqueness, rather than that of the individual, which the individual then clothes him- / herself in. On the contrary, there is less and less latitude for richness of personality within Shambhala, in my view. To bring up an example brought up once before, try and imagine as free a spirit as Allen Ginsberg hanging out at a land centre today, becoming beloved within the community precisely because of his open mind and heart and unpredictable spontaneity, invited to collaborate with the Sakyong in poetry etc. I’m not sure Allen would be able to breathe within Shambhala today. No, the whole point about uniqueness is that the *group* creates and continually strengthens a sense of it, and then the individual lives within that group sense of specialness. This exonerates them from examining it closely. After all, how can their ego be involved if they’re doing it all for the Cause? For Dharma? For the Salvation of the World? This is precisely the point.

    Groupthink: well, admittedly that comment is only based on approximately 3 billion conversations I’ve had in centres, hearing the same exact phrases to describe things, the same exact defenses of one thing and another. (Okay, I wildly exaggerated. Maybe closer to 3,000.)

    “The notion of the Kasung as a control mechanism is just silly. Just because Karelis said it doesn’t make it true.” I’m not referring to something anyone else said, only my own eyes and ears. Live at a centre for a few months with an impartial, unbiased attitude: I believe the great majority who try that experiment will recognize that the Kasung take note–and are asked to take note–of what is said, especially what is said by people viewed as insufficiently kosher / orthodox / whatever. I would say there are no other possible explanations for certain things I’ve witnessed. And I’m far from being the only one who has observed this.

    Your anecdote about the Porsche seems to me to illustrate the opposite of what you meant it to, unless I am misunderstanding. The fact that there was a “huge kerfuffle” in the first place would tend to point to a greater perceived freedom on the part of students to speak out about what was bothering them than there is today. (Also, back then there were always various individuals on the shrine who didn’t happen to all belong to the same family…)

    “There are a handful of students who actually do the practices right….there are positively scads who have only made things worse for themselves….This is the fact that the Vajrayana is treacherous…”

    “Made things worse for themselves” *and*, necessarily, others. Here we are in complete agreement Danny. The only place we seem to differ is: I happen to think that number is increasing, for reasons given.

  5. danny goldberger on August 18th, 2009 1:56 am

    Well, it seems I did misunderstand that first bit. But I do feel that the level of delusion has been fairly constant, even diminishing . I just don’t believe the churchy uptightness that bothers us both(it seems) comes from the top down. I know far too many people who are progressing quite well on the path, whether they are older or younger students.
    The Kasung thing I have to bring up again. I have been a Kasung for thirteen years and can assure you that in no way are people instructed to look for or quash dissent. It simply isn’t true. This goes back to the question of the students; there are those who will mistake the teachings to suggest that they should actually try to keep people from expressing doubt. That is nowhere in the teachings and certainly not in the intetion of the Sakyong.
    Allen Ginsberg. . . interesting choice. But lets pretend you chose someone a little less egomaniacl as an example. Freespirited and direct does seem to fly, of course it can be met with resistance and scrutiny, I know, I have experienced it. I have also kept right on going. Eventually people recognize genuinness. Ginsberg was kind of a clown really, but he grew up(some). I have seen a lot of clowns grow up recently too.
    I don’t know if you live at a small center or what, but I haven’t seen this repression you claim is so prevelant.
    As far as people saying the same things and giving the same logics for everything… I have had a problem with this too. I used to get bored stiff during talks (by senior students of the Vidydhara) because people clearly were just repeating words, with no real understanding of the meaning. Again, I don’t feel that this is getting worse, or better. It is a characteristic of the culture we come from, the difference between the pastor who talks from the heart, and the one who can’t speak without a bible.
    The Mukpo Family has always had a huge level of privelage(the blood family, not the we are all Mukpos family) that was my only point. People act as thought SMR being king of Shambhala and having a royal family was his idea. I think we need to bear in mind that we live in the single most materialistic society on earth, and that we are barely into the second generation of these teachings. SMR has been pushing his senior students to step into the dharma wholeheartedly so as to bring us a bit closer to an enlightened society, people are starting to do it, but the fact that nothing that impressive has emerged just yet shouldn’t be too surprising. The best we got out of the Vidydharas students were some Acharyas, Robin, a handful of senior teachers and the wackjob in crestone who proclaimed himself a Vajra Master because his students couldn’t resist his charisma. Again, quality of the students.
    That being said, there has been remarkable progress. Basic Goodness is becoming much more well known. Compasion is more than a buzzword, but something that is being contemplated deeply. And Vajra energy is no longer an excuse to be a drunk asshole.
    (ran out of characters maybe say more later)

  6. Edward on August 18th, 2009 2:08 am

    Thanks Mr. Goldberger, that was interesting and informative.

    I had to laugh out loud at one of your comments. I remember attending an intro event by the gentleman from Crestone, and while I thought he did have some charisma, which I welcomed, I couldn’t believe some of the things that came out of his mouth, about “taint” meditation and getting “results” within 2-3 minutes of sitting, and so on.

    In a way, it’s both funny and scary what can become of us when we step out of previous structures that limited our behavior, and express a whole nother side of ourselves!

    I’m not sure who’s to thank, but this is becoming a great discussion, as far as online discussions go.

  7. Rita Ashworth on August 18th, 2009 6:38 am

    I find Mr Goldbergers comments quite interesting – it is a snapshot of how
    he views the organisation at the present time re the ‘dissenters.’

    The question though now is how could the Sakyong accommodate
    divergent views within the greater shambhala mandala. I have no
    problem in some of the older students forming their own organisations
    and going their own way and it seems from what Richard has said that there will be more room left to ‘help’ people out organisationally -or have I
    misunderstood that? Surely it would be better to work with people in some
    way who have different comprehensions about what Trungpa Rinpoche
    taught than not.

    I dont know about Ray but I think it is best that he is not vilified at the
    present time -whats the point in doing that? In a practical sense he has
    split from the organisation so why are people in SI still bothered about him.

    Myself I am veering away from a structured linear path -that is a personal choice – I want to do things in a more ad hoc manner. I wonder if SI
    could devise programmes for people who dont fit the mould? May be one could do some programmes still within SI?

    Re the kasung -the kasung are interesting. I have done some guard duty
    in the past myself. In London in the 1980s some Wednesdays I would
    open the place up wearing the blue blazer and the grey skirt -very nice, but
    I think that has now gone by the board and things are more informal. Re
    the services generally UK is a very uniformed society – I think in the past 10 years I have worked with all the services, the army, the fire service, the prison service – one could go on and on. To me the essence of public service in this manner is one to protect and perhaps two to listen otherwise you have problems. This is especially the case in the prison service when at one point I was locked out because the protection squad had to remove people from the yard because they would not return to their cells.

    So yes dissent is interesting too – does it have lessons for all of us into how we could encompass diversity rather than muffle it -can we have ‘communities’ (plural) instead of community (singular) in this coming enlightened society.


    Rita Ashworth
    Stockport UK

  8. Caroly on August 18th, 2009 9:27 am

    Searching for crazy wisdom I found this text that speaks for itself.

    From: The Divine Madman Drukpa Kunley:

    ‘I, an ever roaming Naljorpa, visited a Kagyu Academy,
    And in that Kagyu Academy every monk was holding a jug full
    of chung –
    So fearful of becoming a drunken reveller, I kept to myself.
    I, an ever roaming Naljorpa, visited a Sakya Academy,
    And in that Sakya Academy the monks were splitting subtle
    doctrinal hairs –
    So fearful of forsaking the true path of Dharma, I kept to myself.
    I, an ever roaming Naljorpa, visited the Academy of Galden,’
    And in the Galden Academy each monk was seeking a boyfriend –
    So fearful of losing my semen, I kept to myself.
    I, an ever roaming Naljorpa, visited a School of Gomchens,
    And in those hermitages every Gomchen wanted a lover
    So fearful of becoming a father and householder, I kept to myself
    I, an ever roaming Naljorpa, visited a Nyingma Academy,
    And in that Nyingma Academy each monk was aspiring to
    perform in the Mask Dance
    So fearful of becoming a professional dancer, I kept to myself.
    I, an ever roaming Naljorpa, visited Mountain Hermitages,
    And in those hermitages the monks were gathering worldly
    So fearing to break my vow to my Lama, I kept to myself.
    I, an ever roaming Naljorpa, visited a Charnel Ground
    and outlying areas,
    And in those deserted places the Shaman Diabolists’ were
    brooding on fame
    So fearful of enslaving myself to gods or demons, I kept to myself.
    I, an ever roaming Naljorpa, visited a Pilgrim Caravan,
    And found the Pilgrims engaged in trading
    So fearful of becoming a profit-hungry trader, I kept to myself.
    I, an ever roaming Naljorpa, visited a Retreat Centre,
    And here the meditators basked in the sun
    So fearing to relax in a small hut’s security, I kept to myself.
    I, an ever roaming Naljorpa, sat at the feet of an Incarnate Lama
    Whose constant preoccupation was his religious treasures
    So fearing to become a collector or miser, I kept to myself.
    I, an ever roaming Naljorpa, stayed with the Lama’s attendants
    Who had established the Lama as their tax collector
    So fearing to become a servant of the Disciples, I kept to myself.
    I, an ever roaming Naljorpa, visited the house of a rich man,
    Where the slaves of wealth were complaining like Denizens of Hell
    So fearful of rebirth as Lord of the Hungry Ghosts, I kept to
    I, an ever roaming Naljorpa, visited the house of poor, lowly
    Who had placed their patrimony and possessions in pawn
    So fearful of becoming a disgrace to my race, I kept to myself.
    I, an ever roaming Naljorpa, visited the Religious Centre of Lhasa,
    Where the hostesses were hoping for their guests’ gifts and favours
    So fearing to become a flatterer, I kept to myself.
    I, an ever roaming Naljorpa, wandering throughout the land,
    Found self-seeking sufferers wherever I looked
    So fearful of thinking only of myself. I kept to myself.’

  9. Caroly on August 18th, 2009 9:39 am

    Could we start a new thread on crazy wisdom?

  10. damchö on August 18th, 2009 10:54 am

    Thanks for your thoughts Danny. Just a few comments:

    First, I would not expect you, as a kasung pledged to loyalty, to do otherwise than to defend the kasung. That’s fine. What I’m more interested in are corrective mechanisms. Pride in the organization is great; enthusiasm is great. Belief that we specifically are the ones who will save the world? Belief that since we are destined to succeed, we must not slow down the mission with unnecessary checks and balances? So dangerous.

    My experience is different from yours here.

  11. damchö on August 18th, 2009 11:32 am

    “Allen Ginsberg. . . interesting choice. But lets pretend you chose someone a little less egomaniacal as an example. Freespirited and direct does seem to fly, of course it can be met with resistance and scrutiny…”

    This is an interesting response. “Egomaniacal,” first of all. Seems to me we’re pretty much all egomaniacal, right? Ego is ego. It has many styles. Five major ones, according to the teachings, and countless combinations of these. Now, are all styles of ego viewed the same way within Shambhala these days? Your comment suggests not, as does my experience.

    You say, “freespirited and direct” people …*of course*… can be met with resistance and scrutiny.” I’ve emphasized “of course” to point something out. Ultimately, you say, it will “seem to” fly. But those qualities can “of course” be scrutinized. Why specifically freespiritedness? This is really my point.

    From all that I have heard, Trungpa Rinpoche loved that quality. Yes of course he then worked with that student’s energies, as with everyone’s energies, to try and transmute it all into pure gold…

    But the first thing I ever remember hearing about Rinpoche–from a student of his from the early ’70s–concerned this. He told me that Rinpoche loved intensity and passion, loved all the richness in people: the more the better! I was fascinated by such a view, since it was utterly different from what I’d experienced within Christianity. So I remember asking him further what he meant by that, and he said that it was all going to be turned into enlightened energy, and that Rinpoche had said if there wasn’t much there to begin with, there was much less “stuff” to work with and transform. Brilliant confusion yielding brilliant wisdom.

    I think Ginsberg *is* an “interesting choice,” as you put it, to bring up. He’s interesting because he may have helped interest more people in dharma than just about anyone in the sangha outside Trungpa Rinpoche himself. And in fact is still doing so. How many people in this generation and future generations will hear of the dharma first through his poetry and example, and be inspired to practice? We can’t measure that.

    (out of characters)

  12. damchö on August 18th, 2009 11:33 am


    Didn’t intend to write so much on this but … your use of the word “freespirited” seems to have got me going…

    Trungpa Rinpoche was gloriously, even shockingly “freespirited” and remained so all his life. Are we trying to ensure that only one particular type of person speaks for Shambhala from now on? And that its public persona is so tame even a fundamentalist Christian, say, will feel unthreatened by it?

    But since you called Ginsberg an “egomaniac” and a “clown,” let me stand up for him in another respect too: he was tremendously courageous. He worked with his fears thoroughly. In fact he made an actual list of all his fears early in life–a very long list–and kept challenging himself to work with them so that he could cross them all off one by one. I can’t come up with very many people as brave as he was, actually. And from all the outpourings of appreciation after his death, it seems he was exceptionally generous too.

    We’re trying to cultivate warriorship. I think he’s someone we can learn from. He often said, “candor ends paranoia,” and he practiced it, and inspired innumerable people to open up and relax, and to stop hating themselves quite … so … much.

    You say, “Vajra energy is no longer an excuse to be a drunk asshole.” Why is “drunk” in there? Why not just “asshole”? Yes, I know I know, a lot of people don’t know how to drink. A lot of people do though. Yes alcohol can be poisonous. It can also be medicine. You see, this is the point. There are plenty of puritanical “assholes” in Shambhala now, using precisely “vajra energy” as their excuse. Is this any better? I don’t think so. Just more uptight. And sometimes, frankly, hypocritical.

    Forgive me, must be the hot weather we’ve been having, cough…

  13. rita ashworth on August 18th, 2009 11:36 am

    Thank you Caroly for the poem -very good!

    My take on crazy wisdom is from being with the Vidyadhara in a flat in London in 1981 after a programme, when pop he comes through the door
    looking for an attendant – from those brief moments with him I would say he was exceedingly vulnerable but vulnerable in the sense of being gentle and open. He came up just to about my shoulder and I am five foot seven -I had the sensation that if you blew on him he would fall down – so that to me is crazy wisdom being vulnerable not madly, overtly confident.

    So that is also my take on an enlightened society that it needs to be vulnerable and open and free-flowing to everyone out there if we believe them to be in the wrong box or the right box of politics or whatever -so indeed that vulnerability has to be embedded in all our diverging education and organisational structures aswell

    So yes a good question – how would you put crazy wisdom in the curriculum and perhaps even manifest it in our Arts which could also be magnificent productions like Peter Brook put on in Iran in the 1970’s. Perhaps we could use the Kasung as actors on the set and everyone could be crazy-wisdomised together!

    Well best for now.

    Rita Ashworth

  14. Suzanne Duarte on August 18th, 2009 11:52 am

    Danny Goldberger, some of the assertions in your post on August 18th, 2009 1:56 am brought up questions for me. Did you take samaya vows with the Vidyadhara? Did you know Allen Ginsberg? Do you know Reggie Ray, or have you ever heard him teach? Where did you get the information that the “Mukpo Family has always had a huge level of privilage (the blood family).”

    If you took samaya with the Vidyadhara, to call your vajra brothers “egomaniacl” (sic) and a “wackjob” in public is quite questionable behavior, if not a violation of samaya. If you didn’t take samaya with the Vidyadhara and you didn’t know Allen and have never met Reggie, you are still slandering, and it is slander based on hearsay. Not dharmic behavior. It does not speak well for yourself or the organization you are defending.

    I knew Allen Ginsberg and he was one of the gentlest, kindest people in our sangha, more bodhisattva-like than most of us at the time.

    If you don’t know Reggie, as I do, how can you judge him? Are you just parroting what you’ve heard from others? Perhaps people who are his vajra brothers or sisters? Even if you do know him, who are you to judge him?

    As for the Mukpo family’s level of privilege, have you read Born in Tibet? Where did this myth come from?

    Have you read the stories of the mahasiddhas? If you had taken these stories to heart, I do not think you would be throwing around your opinions, especially if they are second- or third-hand opinions, so freely.

    In any case, I question your credibility regarding who you think is progressing on the path.

  15. danny goldberger on August 18th, 2009 12:14 pm

    Suzanne, no I doid not take vows with the Vidyahdhara, yes I have met Allen. And more importantly I studied quite a bit with Reggie, and watched very closely as he lived at RMSC(at the time) as the resident teacher, completely ignoring the staff while cultivating his own mini-sangha, I remember when his students started asking him to get his own center, how he refused for a while, when he asked to be empowered as a Vajra master, how he was told to wait. . . and when he finally went on his own. It is also clear that he declared hmself a Vajra Master,(no one else has) [check his wikipedia page complete with warnings that the article is unsubstantiated] My experience of his teaching was that he was a masterful manipulater. People would experience precisely the emotions he wanted them to, then think it was profound. He also got involved with supplicating enegies similar to dralas only for the gain of personal power. One need only scrutinize his claims that he is carrying on the lineage of VCTR and then listen to the talks he has online, on of which makes a claim that he is the ONLY PERSON teaching the genuine Dharma in the west. Think of all of the teachers out there, he claims they are all full of it. This is a matter of personal experience and public record.

  16. danny goldberger on August 18th, 2009 12:18 pm

    Damcho, I actually liked Ginsberg, maybe I was too harsh. My only point is that the problems you are talking about were there long before the Sakyong had any power. Further it is a natural part of establishing the Dharma in the west. I don’t think Shambhala will ‘Save the world’ There really isn’t a choice ultimately, we must realize the nature of reality sooner or later. I think there is actually quite a bit of cross cultural pollination happening, but we are fumbling simply because we are dharmic infants. Anyway, you seem like a good person, keep it up.

  17. John Tischer on August 18th, 2009 12:19 pm

    Danny said:

    “The best we got out of the Vidydharas students were some Acharyas, Robin, a handful of senior teachers and the wackjob in crestone who proclaimed himself a Vajra Master because his students couldn’t resist his charisma. Again, quality of the students.”

    We got a lot more than that…..all the centers, for example…and there were a lot more excellent teachers who are no longer allowed to teach in Shambhala, or have gone their own way…..(I guess people will just forget about them). That you’re not “getting more out of” them now, is solely the result of SMR’s policies.

  18. John Tischer on August 18th, 2009 1:55 pm

    ….the only thing it seems to me that the current administration of Shambhala is better at is hiding their scandals.

  19. damchö on August 18th, 2009 5:51 pm

    “My only point is that the problems you are talking about were there long before the Sakyong had any power.”

    Danny, I partly agree with you. I wasn’t around during VCTR’s day, and I’m not trying to promote a Golden Age. I just see things getting worse, because the main problem wasn’t properly understood. Just my view, obviously–that’s what this forum is for.

    What might we learn from the Regent Period? For me the lesson is pretty clear: examine very carefully the effects of power and how it is all structured. Examine the ways in which humility can be eroded via too much collective self-importance and the centripetal energy this generates. Make sure the willingness to offer open, genuine criticism to power is never, ever feared. Make sure, in fact, that it is understood as being just as much a manifestation of loyalty as is agreement.

    Someone here way back (I think maybe Suzanne D.) related how Trungpa Rinpoche had specifically asked her and others to keep their eye out for corruption of the dharma–that is, emanating from those in power. And Barbara B. also told a wonderful story about how Rinpoche had related to dissent (I don’t know how to link to older posts, but this was on the Kalapa Council Report thread, August 9th). In this crucial respect I would say things have surely declined.

  20. damchö on August 18th, 2009 5:54 pm

    And with regard to AG, the main thing there was not so much to defend him–though I do see him as a fearless bodhisattva who affected a great many people’s lives for the better, and couldn’t bear to hear his life reduced down to a couple of highly negative words. It was just to suggest that the sangha which he called home, which accepted and appreciated him, is hard to find today.

    From all that I’ve heard, VCTR seemed able to spot the unique jewel inside everyone and find a way to nurture it. He never gave up on anyone either and told his students they must never do the same with each other. Today, I don’t see these qualities propagated. Sorry, but I don’t. I see a quite particular *kind* of person being cultivated, molded. As for the others not fully with the program? They can just go somewhere else.

    So much real human wealth is being squandered, in my view, in the name of conformity. And this does seem to be a big difference between then and now.

  21. John Castlebury on August 18th, 2009 6:12 pm

    If say so-called “RFS” and so-called “SI” do think like a flock of birds or school of fish, then that would be so-called groupthink.

    But even if say Johnny Rebel thinks for example that he is thinking up only his own individualistic thoughts, isn’t that just selfthink?

    Tell us, Johnny Reb just how do your innuendoes transcend the extremes of groupthink, selfthink, both and neither?

  22. John Tischer on August 18th, 2009 6:46 pm

    Are you looking at me? That would be self-think.

    Yes….innuendo….it’s just another Italian suppository….

    But there are facts and if someone is overly affected by group think,
    it behooves them to actually know what’s going on in the group. It’s their responsibility to look into the situation.

    I’m not trying to transcend anything here….else, I wouldn’t post at all.
    But relative truth, although it may mean very little, has the power to clarify the relative situations….and the relative situations are the one’s that lead to further suffering or not. So, it’s better in that respect to understand true kundzop as opposed to false kundzop.

    Sometimes a bread crumb is sufficient to the wise. I don’t mind if people think I’m full of shit. I continue to be honored by them.

  23. damchö on August 18th, 2009 6:52 pm

    If I understand you correctly John C., I would say that “selfthink” is good, period. I’m just taking your question very simply and untrickily. We should be thinking for ourselves. That’s not an “extreme”. It’s all we can do, all we have to go on. We trust in our basic goodness, our basic intelligence. If we haven’t got that, we haven’t got anything.

    If by “innuendo” you are referring to some specific phrase, please point this out. “Innuendo” to me means implying something in a sneaky fashion rather than saying it outright. I don’t think my comment about “groupthink” was implied–it was direct, wasn’t it? I was relating my own personal experience.

    Sorry if that offends you or whatever. I could be tricky too and say something like: being offended or not being offended, or both or neither, are extremes etc etc. But I’ve never found that approach helpful when discussing this kind of thing.

    If you don’t think groupthink is a perennial problem in religions, political parties, utopian movements etc, then you don’t. Or if you don’t see it specifically in Shambhala, then you don’t. You would be sharing that view with many people of course. I just sincerely disagree. No innuendo, just disagreement and concern.

    (John T., I saw your post after writing this and think you said it better. Thanks.)

  24. John Castlebury on August 18th, 2009 10:18 pm


    Experience is a hypothesis based on
    Concepts based on sense perceptions

    Seldom escaping self-centeredness
    To sniff the hyacinths of selflessness

    Then plumb the depths of self again
    Is this what you call making progress

    Psychodramas hijack mind’s clarity
    But ultimately what is there to grasp

  25. John Tischer on August 18th, 2009 10:54 pm

    Hey, John, Pal,

    Samsara and nirvana

    are not two, so, the

    psychodramas just become

    another color in the rainbow.



  26. Edward on August 19th, 2009 2:15 am

    I used to suffer pain and pleasure, but through Buddha’s teaching I attained a calm mind.

    People communicate to me, but is it an illusion? Yes.

    My dog moans. Do I have to listen? My daughter cries. I close my door.

    I offer my non-aggressive wisdom to others by the shovelful, but the dumbasses are too shallow and thick.

    I point my finger at these stupid illusions, but three of my fingers point back.

    I snicker at the idiocy of relative truths, and resent having to eat and poop.

    . . . .

    (Just trying to make fun of a part of myself here. I’m almost certain I majored in this attitude in past lives.)

    Groupthink… isn’t that like like carrying a 50 pound backpack, and then adding a 40 pound weight on top of it? We try to dance with beautiful partners and speak elegantly at cocktail parties, but we’re so weighted down that everything seems so restricted.

  27. damchö on August 19th, 2009 11:21 am

    john’s lecture (naive kitchen sink level remix)

    what is there to grasp
    yet peculiarly
    no one seems immune from grasping
    not even the Ministers

    ultimate teachings proclaimed
    yet achingly
    confusion and pain still appear
    relative truth yoked as a shadow

    behaviour troubles us
    yet bewilderingly
    we reject common sense as hypothesis based on concepts
    may end up exemplary cows

    self-cultivation feels so wholesome
    yet predictably
    we bend and sniff the opium poppies of Religion
    stay high on being the One

    the blind leading the blind (or only the blond leading the bland)
    yet depressingly
    psychodrama of Church Triumphant
    ever hijacks the view

    what a dilemma, what to do…
    yet truly
    it is not so complex:

    we must all
    stay on the ball

  28. Lorita Ott on October 9th, 2009 12:08 pm

    Time for some old saws.

    What did the buddhist say to the hot dog vendor?
    I’ll have one with everything.

    it’s stimulating to discuss. It’s energizing to be passionate. It’s important to accept only those things you need and have checked out yourself.

    What is buddhism, but an opportunity to challenge, question, defend…then accept.

    i don’t care which words are said in what order. I can even meditate on Gate, Gate paragate…and Know that all is nothing and in nothing is all. So, get off the high horse, carry water, sit in silence and love what you have learned, accept that there are differences, and move on to the real issues of life that we (as Shambhala-ians) need to be participating in and bringing to the world.

    chop wood. carry water. speak out. protect the resources of our world, the people, food, water, soil and air.

    I’ll have one with everything.

    Move on guys. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. it’s all good.

  29. Edward on October 9th, 2009 1:08 pm

    Lorita Ott writes:
    What is buddhism, but an opportunity to challenge, question, defend…then accept.

    Are you sure? What is the purpose of getting defensive?

    I used to get extremely uncomfortable when anyone criticized my old teacher. It was extremely painful. Eventually… slowly… gradually… I learned to tolerate the pain and listen to what was said, and I learned a lot. I discovered, much to my surprise, that I had been secretly refusing to accept aspects of my teacher that I did not understand, so I had blocked them out with a kind of mental blindfold.

    Even if our teacher is perfect, we could open ourselves to seeing and hearing how he or she affects other people, what kinds of issues get brought up. What’s there to be afraid of?

    If our practice is about stepping on fear to develop fearlessness, then what’s there to defend? What is the problem?

    Move on guys.

    Whenever I hear someone say this, it sounds like the speaker either presumes to be an authority figure who’s job is to tell other people what to do,

    or the speaker is freaked out by the confusions or disagreements of others, and wants them to stop communicating, stop triggering the speaker’s issues.

    Quite possibly I’m interpreting that wrong, but that’s how it comes across. In my old sangha, we were taught that instead of trying to control each other, or manipulate each other’s behavior, we should learn to say things like “Excuse me, but I feel freaked out by this situation.” or “I didn’t like it when you said X.”

    That way of communicating seemed to help me stay in touch with my “soft spot”, and be less of a nuisance to others.

  30. Sharab Gyatso on October 9th, 2009 2:29 pm

    Lorita Ott, The joke is:

    What did the Buddhist say to the hot dog vendor?
    Make me one with everything.

    Not “I’ll have one with everything.”

    That’s all.

  31. Rob Graffis on November 10th, 2010 10:42 am

    When does the Sakyon’s deep retreat begin?
    I ask because I had thought it had already began due to the emphasis on raising funds for his deep retreat. When I saw he was in Halifax, and now (or very recently) in Boulder, I assumed perhaps he was taking a temporary break from his retreat. No antagonism meant to be stirred up here. A polite straightforward answer will do (please!).

    As long as I’m here, Re reading Barbra Bluin’s intro to this column, I will have to repeat that as far as I knew, VCTR was looking forward to having non Buddhists be full participants in Shambhala, including the practice.
    My understanding now (well, actually, it’s a fact), one now has to be a full fledged Shambhala Buddhist, and have attended Shambhala Buddhist Seminary to be a full fleged participantin Shambhala. A lot of Shambhalians do end up as becoming Buddhist, but that is their own decision, however, they may not want to be pressured into becoming Shambhala Buddhist. Such pressure could actually drive potentially drive future Shambhalains who have a lot to contribute away.
    Rob Graffis
    A window should be open for all participants to participate. I don’t think that’s a radical idea.

    I’m writing here because even though I can write to sangha talk, I don’t recieve anything from sangha talk, unless the responder CCs their response to me.
    As far as I know, I haven’t changed my profile, and it’s not really an appropriate question to as sadhaka talk because it’s not a religious question. Maybe Mark S. can help me out here on this one.