The Wheel is Turning

December 9, 2010 by     Print This Post Print This Post

Here’s a roundup of some of the latest goings-on related to Shambhala International and to dharma in today’s world.

Jim Gimian conducted a video interview with Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche, the tulku, still a teenager, of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. This makes a great follow-up to Gesar Mukpo’s Tulku movie (trailer on YouTube), and might even be somewhat controversial, as the Yangsi says quite openly that he feels his teachers made a mistake in recognizing him as a tulku.

Shambhala News Service message on September 21st (note that all SNS emails can be reviewed on their web page) announces the new website of the Chögyam Trungpa Legacy Project, and clarifies:

The project is housed within Kalapa, the central governing structure of the mandala, with the Sakyong Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche and Lady Diana Mukpo as its patrons. It has an executive director and advisory board appointed by the Sakyong who work in close association with the President of Shambhala.

The upcoming Chögyam Trungpa documentary Crazy Wisdom, directed by Johanna Demetrakas, surpasses its “Kickstarter” fundraising goal.

The Letter of the Morning Sun presents the Sakyong’s vision of the future. It notes that “our community has healed and recovered”, and asks community members to respond to three questions he poses.

Chronicles Radio Dispatches starts a new series with an interview with Richard Reoch, president of Shambhala International, who discusses the Sakyong’s letter, how the Sakyong’s sangha is the life-force pole of a greater mandala, and other issues.

Meanwhile the Great Vajradhara thangka is moved from Dorje Dzong in Boulder to the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya at Shambhala Mountain Center.

The Kalapa Capital Centre project, aiming to create the “Capital Building of Shambhala”, provides a couple of updates on its current and planned activities.


84 Responses to “The Wheel is Turning”

  1. Chris on December 20th, 2010 2:48 pm

    “There is a moment in the career of the seeker when he may have to face the problem of joining some special organization. …For most beginners, association with such an organization may be quite helpful, but for most intermediates it will be less so, and for all proficients it will be definitely detrimental. Sooner or later the seeker will discover that in accepting the advantages of such association he has also to accept the disadvantages, and that the price of serving its interests is partnership in its evils. He discovers in time that the institution, which was to help him reach a certain end, becomes itself that end. Thus the true goal is shut out of sight, and a false one is substituted for it. He can keep his membership in the organization only by giving up something of his indiividual wholeness of mind, and personal integrity of character. The organization tends to tyrannize over his thoughts and conduct, to weaken his power of correct judgement and to destroy a fresh, spontaneous inner life. He will come in time to refuse to take ANY organization at its OWN valuation for he will see that it is not the history behind it, but the service it renders that really matters…. Few are willing to sacrifice their desire for the gregarious support offered by joining an organization and therefore few see how this binds them to its dogmas, imprisons them in its practices or methods and obstructs their free hearing of the intuitive voice of their own soul or “inner guru” (sic)…. Group emotion is worked up until it becomes a substitute for personal inspiration. Either through ignorance of or inability to practice meditation (properly sic) or both, the group members are happy to share, and are satisfied with, a common experience on the shallowest level. But nothing will replace individual work at self-development leading to deeper experience and higher knowledge. .When too much is made of an organization or institution and too little of the idea behind it, the leaders become tyrannical and the followers fanatical. That is , their character is corrupted. Two of the grave and discriminative defects of the Indian methods ( and thus Tibetan which inherited the overlay of the Brahmin priestly caste system (sic)) is turning men into GODS, and glorifying of imperfect institutions. … From the Notebooks of Paul Brunton

  2. Chris on December 20th, 2010 3:00 pm

    “Why should many who are unable as individuals to lift themselves in meditation, devotion or prayer by able to do so as a group? It is illogical to believe that they can, auto suggestive to believe that they do…The biggest deceiver in religio-mystical life is the institutional establishment, the organizational group. For here the followers have the experience of being nourished when in actuality only the social need is being nourished”… Paul Brunton, Notebooks.

  3. James Elliott on December 20th, 2010 6:03 pm


    The theory about the need to change society rather than just the individual; this is where I have problems on a couple of levels, not least of all muddling practice and politics.

    The myth that other societies were more spiritual, more in harmony with nature etc. and we should emulate them is bullocks. The world is in dire straits because of success: medicine, food production, portable energy, all kinds of technology have enabled population to expand far beyond sustainable levels. You’d be hard pressed to find a development that one would have said no to at inception.

    So the notion that society is neurotic doesn’t really wash. I think you’re on to something when you say that monarchy developed for specific circumstances, which could be defined by lower levels of complexity. It’s likely the world has reached a level of complexity at which an entirely new political method evolves, or the law of diminishing returns may force a collapse, which is what most people are predicting, ala financial crisis or end of oil etc. (and then monarchy might make sense again…?)

    I honestly don’t see what Shambhala or any spiritual path has to offer that process, other than the ability to see clearly without agenda, and hence wisdom and flexibility to relate to what is and work with that, rather than ‘change’ everything because it’s all screwed up. (Isn’t that approach, like the opposite of what we were taught?)

    I also don’t think culture can be controlled by central committee or decree. It happens on a level beyond conscious control. We can and should strive for the kinds of wisdom talked about, influence laws and rules as best we can, but culture is much vaster and deeper than that. In fact specific intent on that level predictably have ways developing unpredictable and often negative consequences.

    Do you know how SMR defines ‘social paradigm’? That’s an enormous theme and knowing what models he’s working from seems more than pertinent. What specifically is wrong with them now? How does change happen? Who decides what should change and how? What do ‘good’ social paradigms look like? etc.

    In the inspiration that ‘political science’ is more like finger-painting than any other science.

  4. Judy Schenk on December 20th, 2010 8:54 pm

    Dear Barbara (and everyone),
    I want to express my appreciation for all the thoughts and feelings shared of late. Every comment posted has been helpful to me.
    A couple of years ago I happened to wander into a Shambhala center. I was just looking for a group to meditate with, and having read and deeply appreciated The Myth of Freedom, Cutting Through.., Path of the Warrior, etc.. years ago, I thought they might be a good group to sit with. Knowing nothing of Vajradhatu or Shambhala, I had no idea of the history or complexity of the situation I was stepping into. I had never been drawn to Tibetan Buddhism, and had always practiced with soto zen groups until we moved to a place that was a long way from one.
    When I read “Dragon Thunder”, it alarmed me; “Warrior-King of Shambhala” freaked me out; but “The Mahasiddha and His Idiot Servant” has made me seriously panic about getting involved in any way with a group affiliated in any way with the events described in that book.

    Re: the incidents described in John’s book. The passages referred to were on p. 57, pgs 54 and 60, and pgs. 60 – 61. Barbara, I have to respectfully suggest that you left a few things out in your descriptions of the events in the book – not the least of which is the fact that the ears of the terrified, blind-folded dog who was being held so that his head was positioned between the two strategically placed lit candles, were not just “singed”, but, as John wrote “Myson couldn’t move his head without being burned. When the dog moved, the fur on his ear would catch fire. I would put out the flames.”… as the shaking dog was repeatedly “whacked” on the head with potatoes by CTR. That certainly qualifies as “torture” to me.
    The only way I’ve been able come to terms with these described incidents, is to remember that even “mahasiddhas” are imperfect humans, and have their own issues and ‘disconnects’ as we all do. What we believe, and aspire to, are often not in sync with what we end up actually saying and doing. Hence the Eightfold Path, and the effort required to cultivate gentleness, kindness and compassion for all beings. The only response to John’s book that makes any sense to me, is to redouble my own practice efforts.
    (btw John P., I did not intend to suggest that *you* took any pleasure from killing. I am sorry that my wording implied that. cont’d below

  5. Judy Schenk on December 20th, 2010 9:07 pm

    cont’d You made it clear throughout the book that you did not, and made every effort to prevent CTR from killing, ie. adjusting the rear site of the rifle so it was out of line and he wouldn’t be able to hit anything he aimed at. And, despite my difficulties, I do appreciate the courage it must have taken to write that book, honouring CTR’s request that you do so.)

    I had heard mention of rfs a while back, and thought I’d give it a look see. When I read “About This Site” it says that rfs is “an open space for all those inspired by the “Shambhala Vision” and the “Buddhadharma Without Credentials” of Chogyam Trungpa”, and I thought “hey, that’s me”. And I’ve always been interested in exploring every side of a subject, hearing every point of view. I feel bewildered by periodic ‘accusations’ of people on rfs that I am “clearly on the side of the Sakyong and his students”, and such similar comments. I must have misunderstood this site’s intention. Perhaps an addendum should be added to the “About This Site” section, saying that the only views that are welcome on rfs are those of people who are not participating in any way in SI, and who are clearly *not* in any way sympathetic to, or appreciative of The Sakyong and/or his students, or their efforts..?

    My aspiration is that the only “side” that I ever find myself “on” , is the ‘side’ of compassion, kindness, gentleness and wisdom – wherever, however, through whomever I feel it most clearly manifests..

  6. John Perks on December 20th, 2010 9:11 pm

    I was very interested in Mr. Castlebury’s comments. Many times when we talk about Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, we talk about the magic of his actions. But it’s very important, I think, for one to look at the nature of one’s own mind in terms of what Rinpoche was saying, or acting on. Most of the time I did not understand what his actions were saying on-the-spot. So it’s taken many years of replaying the situation and trying to remember the state of my mind at the time. And I think that this is possibly what’s led to my label as narcissistic, which by the way, I don’t mind. I’m limited by the ability of my own mind to understand my own actions.

    Thanks to Mr. Castlebury I had to think about that. So I would like to tell the story of the killing of the bird from the point of view of where my mind was at the time, and how Trungpa Rinpoche worked on-the-spot with that, which I suppose you could call magic.

    At that time I was invested very heavily in being a Buddhist. That is, I wanted to become a compassionate, loving, kind person. So in order to do that, I had to shun much of my previous conditions, and take on the aspects of being a Buddhist. My former lives of hunting and killing did not fit in to my new Buddhist approach. So I just switched it off. Trungpa Rinpoche had been asking me to take him hunting. This I refused to do because I was now a Buddhist. It was my practice as a Buddhist to feed all the little birds on the outside with crumbs and seeds from the house, whereupon I would stand in front of the window and feel great about how wonderful I was to be providing for these little beings.

    Trungpa Rinpoche came into the kitchen and seeing me looking out of the window at these birds, started to jump around and say, “I want to kill something. I am a monk and I have never killed anything,” whereupon he grabbed the .22 single-shot rifle that was in the kitchen, which we used for target practice to shoot things that I set up called maras. I became very alarmed at this and said, “No we can’t do that sir. We cannot kill.”

    And he said, “Well, I’m going to.”

    Seeing that there was no option I moved the rear sight of the rifle way out of line, so when he picked up the gun and shot, using the sights, the gun would be totally inaccurate. He did shoot, and of course did not hit anything. I did not know whether this was on purpose, but Max and I laughed a

  7. John Perks on December 20th, 2010 9:15 pm


    Seeing that there was no option I moved the rear sight of the rifle way out of line, so when he picked up the gun and shot, using the sights, the gun would be totally inaccurate. He did shoot, and of course did not hit anything. I did not know whether this was on purpose, but Max and I laughed and Rinpoche said to me, “Oh, you’re such an English gentleman, you couldn’t possibly kill anything.” At that point, I picked up the gun and without any hesitation I shot the bird. Trungpa Rinpoche was very surprised that I had done this. And at first he didn’t believe it until I went outside and showed him the dead body.

    I had no idea at the time what was going on. It was only after many years of replaying the scene that I had some understanding of what he was showing me about my fixation on Buddhism, amongst other things. Everything that Trungpa Rinpoche did was specifically on-the-spot teaching. Most of the time, practically all the time, I did not get it. And it was only after years of replaying the many scenes that I could even begin to understand what I was being shown.

    So I hope this will be of some help. And I thank Mr. Castlebury for his comments, which made me think about it again.

    Thank you,
    John Perks

  8. damchö on December 21st, 2010 1:02 am

    Judy, speaking for myself, I welcome your perspective, and do feel RFS is open to it. Your views are going to get different reactions of course–that’s just part of it all. By the same token, a number of people who’ve posted here have had various experiences of being disrespected / humiliated / ignored when trying to relate to SI. We’re all coming from different places. Please persist, if it’s at all worthwhile to you.

    I’m glad Barbara added her thoughts on the stories, and I’m glad you responded in return. The story of the dog does disturb me, frankly. John, can you give any further perspective on this, as you did with the other incident? (And thanks for the latter.)

    As someone who never met VCTR, I’ve always taken the view that on the one hand he was a one-of-a-kind, astounding teacher who opened up so much in so many, including me, and set up so many extraordinarily powerful and beautiful paths and practices and institutions; while on the other hand, I’ve never seen the need or justification for attributing perfection to him. However, sometimes I have gone for long stretches of time without coming across anyone able or willing to express any doubt at all about anything he ever said or did. Which can become a strange and alienating experience… But I did recently come across a quotation from Pema (on the Amazon page for John’s book in fact) where she bravely talks about her own lack of certainty. This was very helpful to me.

    And thanks for this Joe P.: “If ‘social enlightenment’ refers to group Realization, then the plan seems to be nothing short of a Buddhist Rapture, with the Chosen People being the 12 million who gather in Nova Scotia.” I had this exact same thought! I mean, what else *can* one think if not only something called “social enlightenment” is being posited but that it is said to be greater than “individual enlightenment”? All I could conjure up were those stories of the various early disciples all completely getting it at once. But that doesn’t seem to be what SMR is talking about. And in any case it would be distinctly odd if so.

  9. edward on December 21st, 2010 1:25 am

    Judy Schenk writes:
    “The Mahasiddha and His Idiot Servant” has made me seriously panic

    Yes, it’s an intense book.

    I thought of your comments tonight while watching a great movie: “It’s a Wonderful Life”.

    At one point in the film, this so-called angel named Clarence completely terrorizes an innocent man named George Bailey. He takes him through an extremely traumatic, almost psychedelic, terrifying experience.

    However, the way it’s portrayed in the movie is not so terrifying because as the audience we’re “in on it”. Or we’ve seen it before. 🙂

    Another interesting thing about the movie is that George Bailey gives permission for what happens, but doesn’t consciously realize it. Which is interesting. Maybe that relates to crazy wisdom somehow.

    P.S. I love RFS.

  10. John Perks on December 21st, 2010 11:16 am

    Dear Damchö, Judy, and Edward,

    The dog, whose name was Myson, an Irish Setter, was Max King’s dog. Max was not present during this time. He was away in Boulder, and so it was just Trungpa Rinpoche and me living in the house alone for ten days. I remember there was a snowstorm, and all the lights went out, except we had candlelight. Rinpoche was very explicit in the arrangement of the dog, the candles, and even the color of the blindfold, which, by the way, was red. The whole scene reminded me of some ancient ritual, with Rinpoche jumping around nude in the candlelight.

    Rinpoche’s energy was like a force of nature—very electric. Absolutely terrifying. The comment, “This is how you train students,” reminds me now of how tightly people cling to concepts—even one’s such as compassion and loving-kindness. Other than being absolutely terrified, like me, I do not think the dog was hurt. There was some singed hair. What was quite amazing to me was that the dog hardly moved. It’s like it had some knowledge of its place in this ritual. Also, the relationship between Max King, Rinpoche, and the dog was one that I didn’t have too much knowledge of. But that also played a part in later events. Max would have to talk about that.

    You know Trungpa Rinpoche’s energy worked on many levels all at once. Personally I think it would be helpful for the new students to hear the older students talk about their intimate relationship with Trungpa Rinpoche, and how they felt, and what they were going through personally. That way there could be some deeper understanding and transmission of lineage energy.

    Thank you again for asking.
    John Perks

  11. John Tischer on December 21st, 2010 9:07 pm

    Well, I’ll tell ya….he (VCTR) wasn’t always nice to me….but whatever transpired between us was priceless.

  12. John Castlebury on December 23rd, 2010 1:27 pm

    P.S. to Tashi (on Dec 18th):

    Many new meditators have come to our home to practice and share our dharma library – vajrayana texts are in another room. I had a dilemma: MIS couldn’t be in the general collection, because its outrageousness had the potential danger of shocking some borrowers to lose faith; and obviously, it didn’t belong on the same shelves with precious vajrayana texts.

    It’s not like we would ever refer back to it, and we definitely would never lend it out, or donate it to the local public library for its shelf of books about Buddhism. So it made sense to simply reduce the book to ashes to spread in the garden for sweetening the ph to unlock the nutrients that fed the cabbages and carrots that year…

    If anyone is considering composing their intimate memoir of experiences inside the mahasiddha’s vortex, please don’t follow Perks’ example of indiscriminately publishing it as a book at for one and all [which would be seriously irresponsible]. If MIS were a private limited edition that the author privately shared with some of his vajra peer-group cronies, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    A text of VCTR’s describes an intimate memoir of his crazy wisdom teacher Khenpo Gangshar in candid detail; however, that candor is intended only for the eyes of “vajrayana practitioners who have been authorized to receive this by SMR. It should not be shared in any way with those who are not so authorized. Please respect this samaya of secrecy.”

    Like someone else already said, secrecy doesn’t mean somehow sleazy or shameful; sometimes a secret is a secret because it could be misleading, so it is secret out of consideration and respect.

  13. Yaicha on December 24th, 2010 10:29 am

    While I certainly sympathize with Judy, I also have experienced the dangers and pains of “keeping something a secret because it could be mislead” or hurt someone’s practice.
    I became a Zen monk years ago, and while on that path I read the book “Ambivalent Zen” The book disgusted and angered me. It made me question how “enlightened” zen masters could treat an earnest practitioner in such a using way. I was also, at the time, very deep into Buddhist morality and saw everything as black and white, right and wrong, win or lose. Many of the other monks at my monastery found the book hysterically funny. In the Zen tradition we do not have such concepts as a tell all book being somehow a breach of samaya. All things are what they are, and openness is regarded highly. Still, I could not fathom where they found the humor and, in fact, had I read that book befor entering the monastery, I might not have embarked upon the path.
    Years later, we had “Shoes outside the Door” which clearly shows the dangers of keeping things secret within a spiritual community. And, while my monastery was not directly involved with “Shoes outside the Door” as I climbed in our own hierarchical structure of my training, I did come to learn of our own “secrets.” Secrets which were kept “because they could be misleading or harmful to younger practitioners.” I can tell you that had I known of these secrets earlier on in my training, it would have made the realities of the place much clearer and helped me greatly. And in learning of them later in practice, I felt very betrayed.

    When I read MIS and Dragon Thunder and Warrior King, I truly enjoyed them and actually felt drawn to explore this lineage BECAUSE of the openness, the honesty, and the love within the craziness.
    Personally I feel that secret keeping is decept. plain and simple.

    There will always be people, as I was in my youth, who will be scandalized by the truth because they have been fed on sanitized stories of enlightened masters and thus misunderstand what “holiness” is, what humanness is. But open, honest stories make us question- and thus, with time, one comes to understand and appreciate.

    Deception, however, is something I have never come to appreciate. Seriously, who does?
    I believe it was CTR who said “When in doubt, tell the truth”
    Seems like wise words to me.

  14. Judy Schenk on December 24th, 2010 11:48 am

    Thanks for sympathizing with me Yaisha. 😉
    And John C., I appreciate your compassionate impulse to protect people from realities that might cause them to “lose faith”.
    The only thing that personal accounts of life with VCTR seem to have caused me to lose faith in (especially John’s book MIS) is my delusional belief in “perfection’. My incredibly hard-wired craving and demand for a flawless mentor, a paragon.
    It is always such a devastating shock to find out that things and people aren’t “perfect”. As we grow up we discover our parents are flawed, our friends have faults, our spouse has weaknesses, our physician mis-diagnoses us… Our boss, our work situation, our neighbourhood, our guru, our spiritual community, our acharyas, our *selves*… all imperfect, inevitably flawed, vulnerable, always in need of our understanding, wisdom, kindness and compassion.
    We are constantly seeking a Saviour, the Holy Grail, the place where there is no hot or cold… seeking ground, safe haven, shelter.
    But the buddhist life (the shambhala life..?) is about being a refugee. As CTR wrote this path is about “never being off-duty”. Sometimes our parent, our boss, our teacher, our zen master, our guru, the mahasiddha in front of us, is lost and needs our help to find their way.
    To me, this path is about embracing reality, seeing clearly what is true, with all of its outrageousness and heartbreak and imperfections.
    From all accounts VCTR did not try to keep his activities secret from anyone. His behaviour was not saved only for the eyes and ears of vajrayana practitioners.
    I can’t see how it serves anyone to hide anything, or to try to spin it that everything done and said was an ‘enlightened teaching’. Somehow that seems to deny and dishonour the heartbreak of VCTR’s very human struggles..
    I’ve always been very moved by the 1993 Tricycle interview with Pema Chodron in which she talks about how she used to believe that everything VCTR said and did was an enlightened teaching, and how that changed for her through the years. In talking about her deep devotion and gratitude to VCTR, she says, “I’m really willing (now) to entertain the idea that maybe he wasn’t perfect, maybe everything he did wasn’t to benefit people. In other words, my sense of not having to make it all right or all wrong is stronger now. ” (cont’d below)

  15. Judy Schenk on December 24th, 2010 11:57 am

    (cont’d) “I can actually hold my devotion purely and fully in my heart and still say Maybe he was a madman. And it doesn’t change my devotion “….

    And of course, if a Zen Master or Mahasiddha or vajrayana practitioner tries to frighten or harm a bird or cat or dog or other being “as a teaching” in my presence, I may be forced to compassionately use my kung fu to prevent that and encourage them to think of an alternate way to offer the teaching… !

  16. Yaicha on December 24th, 2010 1:08 pm

    nicely said, Judy!

  17. John Perks on December 24th, 2010 6:25 pm

    Bravo to all and to all good cheer
    this Christmas eve,
    who ever he was that madman from the land of snow,
    he had a good laugh he had a good giggle,
    an was us who was caught in the middle,
    lets celebrate our good fortune
    an bless us all and everyone
    Bravo well done,
    lots of love
    be happy

  18. John Perks on December 25th, 2010 8:32 am


  19. John Tischer on December 25th, 2010 1:00 pm

    Yes, Merry Christmyth!

  20. Vajrakilaya on January 21st, 2011 11:43 pm

    Indeed the wheel is turning, and it seems to be a matter of being properly braced in terms of the leverage exerted. Or does it even need our help to begin with? We may need to let go of some previous conceptions in order to get a better grip on the current situation, if that’s what it requires. Or we could just let go altogether. It seems up for debate, but is that just a shadow play? So many questions, so little time.

  21. John Tischer on March 5th, 2011 2:10 pm

    I want to thank Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche for being so different from his father and for completely turning me off to Vajradhatu/Shambhala. If that hadn’t happened, I might still be working for them….attached to an institution…
    and never have progressed on the path. VCTR said that SMR was his gift to
    us. For me, this is what he meant.

  22. John on March 5th, 2011 8:09 pm

    To John Tischer

    Are you so sure that SMR is “So different from his father”.

    I don’t.

    I don’t at all.

    Sorry that you do, really sorry.

    Maybe one day you will see that they were truly father and son.

    You rant at the son but forget that an apple does not fall far from the tree.

    Only when you can rant at the father can you forgive the son.

  23. John Tischer on March 5th, 2011 10:51 pm

    Nothing to forgive. What I’m saying is that they’re different, and that’s ok by me. He has his students and that’s ok too. I frankly think VCTR was behind the whole thing…pushing the old students out on their own while Shambhala continues in it’s own way. For me, it seems at this point, to be a miracle…as yet not fully realized or determined…but heading in a miraculous (ordinary) direction.

    Different doesn’t have any negative connotation for me anymore, in this case.
    But, yes, very different in every way.

    Maybe I should thank the lineage, which I do.

  24. edward on March 5th, 2011 11:14 pm

    wow, beautiful answer… thank you.

  25. rita ashworth on March 6th, 2011 6:18 am

    Dear John

    It is interesting that you mention difference for now that many have split from the main organisation I think there is a growing body of people out there who are and were formed by the clarity of Trungpas teachings.

    So in a classic sense a disapora of Trungpa’s students are studying with other teachers, and forming their own groups. I have come to recognise that that might be an organic thing and not just a backing away from the present organisation.

    I think if we begin to see it in this manner great things could happen in these further mandalas. I also dont think we should abandon the shambhala teachings as some have done – I think we should investigate them further with other lamas, western scholars, Trungpa’s former students, and our own groups that we form. I have come to this conclusion through being with others in their ‘spiritual’ quest and seen how they are examining how to take the meditative process into transmuting our daily life into ‘sacred’ world.

    Of course alot of us will feel somewhat bereft about leaving the parent organisation but I also know great things are happening in the world at large in terms of seeing the world anew and we have to share our own connection to our own experiences of the ‘sacred’ with others. This is a journey that is just beginning and I dont know what will come of it. I am hoping to some degree that rfs can nurture that journey as we go along as other forums.

    On another point of governance I was having a conversation with an Indian friend of mine about Indian history before King Ashoka and he was saying that republics with Ministers leading them existed at that time. It is interesting to conjecture what those ‘republics’ could have evolved if the tides of history had not turned against them. Perhaps we also should consider the sense of equanimity that exists in such countries/provinces once again and how this relates to the furtherance of the Shambhala and Buddhist teachings.

    Best for the New Year

    Rita Ashworth

  26. John Tischer on March 6th, 2011 12:57 pm


    I never turned my back on the Shambhala teachings, in fact, I don’t see anything in the Scorpion Seal that I haven’t already received from VCTR.
    Many of the greatest Buddhist teachers in history…not only of Tibet, but
    also of Japan…(Iikyu is a good example)…have only flourished after they broke from the “parent organization”. It’s interesting to see, through history, how organizations that nurture the teachings also become, at times, obstacles for their realization.

    At some point we all have to leave home and be responsible for our own

  27. edward on March 7th, 2011 12:27 am

    what is amazing to me is how an organization, or an association of people, can become deeply committed to the exact opposite of what they claim to be committed to…!

    Not just in the case of anything particular to this discussion thread, but also out in the larger world this seems to go on all the time. And in other organizations I’ve come across.

    it reminds me of a book called “Systemantics”. I’ll restrain myself and not post a link here.

  28. rita ashworth on March 7th, 2011 3:45 am

    Dear John,

    Thanks for your reply and your perspective on Trungpa Rinpoche.

    I was not exactly thinking of Scorpion Seal retreat teachings in connection to the Shambhala path at present. I was more thinking of getting to the nub of what the shambhala teachings are through practice, discussion and consultation maybe with others such as lamas and academics. So I am again somewhat in the Robin Kornman mode of delving into these teachings more. I believe we have only just begun to think cohesively how these teachings will affect this world through the medium of rfs and of course the debate goes on about them in the world.

    As the Bonpo path has been mentioned in connection to shambhala amongst other paths I have begun to explore them too through reading. I believe also that Trungpa commented too on the Bon tradition.

    Yes Robin does goes into great depth about how the shambhala tradition was ‘created’ or manifested on his videos and when we get a resource page on whatever site I think they should be posted. Yes, it seems to me that what is called for in the present age will be a thorough connection to drala through various disciplines –in this way again we could open up the teachings, or whatever ‘we’ deem to call them in the future, to others of all traditions.

    I take your point about leaving the org. and our once home – yes we do have to be responsible about following our own path in the future however difficult that may be. Its true yes many ‘new’ traditions have been created in this manner through the ages –and your mention of what happened in history is a timely reminder of how things could go. But also I am beginning to think that we can share too our knowledge with others in the conventional religious/secular networks. Yes groups are being formed even within the established churches that are questioning whole bodies of doctrines and creeds that were once held so dearly. This revolution in social consciousness is going on everywhere and can not be held within one specific organisation.

    I do feel the real revolution in peoples spiritual lives will not be brought about by building fantastic Kalapa centres but the actual meeting of grassroots groups on the ground.
    For example look at our western cities in connection to grand churches that are already there –alot are empty of practitioners, even within the most powerful church on this

  29. rita ashworth on March 7th, 2011 3:47 am

    continued: on this earth the Catholic church. So yes I believe we are going through a transition stage in our practices and we will have to meet people where they are at at street level.

    So heres to the future for all of us carrying on Trungpas teachings in the world.

    And best for the New Year.

    Rita Ashworth

  30. John Tischer on March 9th, 2011 7:30 pm

    “Luminosity is seeing that cables
    may support the bridge but the metal
    itself is a disease…yet, we only need
    placebos because we’re hypochondriacs.” — Eusebio Sandoval

  31. Jim Hartz on March 12th, 2011 8:32 am

    John Tischer mentioned Ikkyu.

    Here’s a short poem from COYOTE’S JOURNAL (Wingbow, Berkeley, 1982):


    May my heart
    Be empty, O Karmapa;

    My wallet full.

  32. Jim Hartz on March 18th, 2011 12:13 am


    KITARO NISHIDA: On Prajñaparamita

    What I am talking about is something absolutely dialectical in the sense of the self-identity of absolute contradiction. Even Hegel’s logic did not avoid the standpoint of objective logic. It is precisely the philosophy of the Prajnaparamita Sutra which can be said to have truly taken absolute dialectic to its ultimate conclusion.

    • • •

    DAVID DILWORTH: On Nishida’s Dialectical Method

    If we attempt to express this in logical terms, we have to transcend rational, objective logic, which presupposes the subject/object dichotomy, and speak in dialectical and paradoxical terms. Here Nishida introduces the term gyakutaio teke me, the root meaning of which I take to be “in terms of a correspondence (relation) of inverse polarity.” This adverbial expression means “dialectically,” but seems to stress that the items in dialectical relation are absolutely inverse, or contradictory directions of the same tension or polarity.

  33. Rob Graffis on May 14th, 2011 2:50 am

    Is it true that if you attend the Scorpion Seal Assembly (or Vajrayana Seminary), you are not allowed to receive or accept Dzogchen teachings or transmissions from other Dzogchen masters? I can understand it to a point, because anybody could claim to be a teacher (Just ask SMC who has hosted many such teachers of all types) .
    But seriously, I would like to know from those who have gone to either if the official policy of Shambhala International is that you can only receive Dzogchen teachings or transmissions from the Sakyong in this lifetime.
    I think it’s a fair an honest question.
    I don’t recall many teachers calling them selves Dzogchen Masters, even though they were very much acknowledged as such (mostly out of humbleness.
    This should not be an anger provoking question.
    I wonder where the “New Curriculum” stands on this issue.

  34. Frans Schuring on May 14th, 2011 10:08 am

    I’ve gone to either, one as staff, the other as paritcipant.
    It’s not true!
    And don’t worry, how could one get angry about something as non-existent as that.