The Wheel is Turning

December 9, 2010

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.

RFS Weekthun

October 21, 2010

RFS Weekthun

Old Folks

September 16, 2010

Mad Monks

For discussion of matters related to the aging front of the greater sangha, including resource issues, such as mutual support, finances, accomodations. As John Perks recently wrote (on 2010/09/16):

Sometimes as we get older and have health problems, we also have financial problems. I was wondering if there is any Shambhala sangha organization that helps out with older Shambhalians in terms of giving some monthly stipend for healthcare, or food for that matter. If not, maybe we should start something.

Shambhala Constitution

July 19, 2010

Edicts of Ashoka

Edicts of Aśoka

What would the constitution of an enlightened society, country, state look like?

How could it offer a better balance of care, authority, transparency, monarchy, democracy, socialism, checks-and-balances, church and state?

Topics studied could include study of past and current societies, constitutions, and political theories.

Resources identified here will be collected into a Vajra Politics class style curriculum, published on this site.

This table is an initial gathering point around such aspirations.


April 30, 2010

The Celtic Buddhism table.

Celtic Buddhism

Glen Ard Abbey

James Rita Ash Table

April 25, 2010

James Elliott, Rita Ashworth, and Ashley Howes can often be found in conversation at this café table.

Cafe Table

Of Note

April 15, 2010

Ginny Lipson (here) and Lee Weingrad have reported on the effects of the magnitude 7.1 earthquake on Surmang and on Thrangu Rinpoche’s monastery in Kham (cf the Kunchok Foundation web site and also Surmang Foundation and the Chronicles).

We also note that Karmapa XVII had to cancel his trip to Europe, due to the Government of India not providing the appropriate permissions. Europe meanwhile is in the aftershock of the Polish airplane tragedy, with its echoes of the 1940 Katyn massacre of the leadership of a nation. And now that great zipper of volcanic mountains running up the spine of the Atlantic opens a bit in Iceland, shutting down air travel.

Milarepa and the Origins of the Kagyu Lineage is an incredible, brilliant talk by Trungpa Rinpoche, from the Message of Milarepa seminar, July, 1973 at Karme-Chöling. The Q&A draws out a concise exposition of crazy wisdom. Audio available thanks to the Chronicles, Shambhala Archives, and the Chögyam Trungpa Legacy Project. Everything in just 34 minutes.

Loyalty is an essential topic these days, worthy of probably more than one article. One correspondent sends this link to Loyalty is Paramount in Woods’s Inner Circle.

Another key topic is Drala, and Bill Scheffel’s is a living resource. He has also started a blog, The Drala Principle. He writes:

I will introduce a new subject each week, often with accompanying video. Subjects will include:

  • The Drala Principle.
  • The legacy of Chögyam Trungpa.
  • Cambodia and a sustainable future.

This site will be adding a discussion forum, so that off-article-topic discussion can find a home and take place without overwhelming article comments.

If you have ideas for articles and related forms and contributions, contact

On Shambhala and the Samaya Connection

February 28, 2010


The Chronicles site has posted an Editorial by Ellen Mains: On Shambhala and the Samaya Connection, initiating its Vajra Dog series.

Ellen begins:

Not long ago I heard someone say that people who disagreed with decisions made by the Sakyong or Shambhala International were people who didn’t practice and therefore, we shouldn’t pay attention to them. As I stepped into the shower the next morning, I found myself being gradually drenched with thoughts and reflections in response to that statement. Although the shower ended, the other deluge continued for the next couple of hours and I realized I needed to write the ideas down, if only for myself. They reflect some of the heartfelt feelings, reflections and struggle of an older student of the Vidyadhara.

Read more… and discuss here.

Vajradhara Thangka in Boulder

January 27, 2010

It appears that the Vajradhara thangka in Boulder, which was commissioned by the Vidyadhara, placed by him over the shrine there, and blessed with the handprints of the 16th Karmapa on the back, will be displaced by the “Rigden thangka”, as has already happened with the Vajradhara and Buddha representations throughout the Shambhala International organization over the last few years.

For the story of the “great Vajradhara thangka”, as we shall refer to it now, and a discussion of its unique place in our mandala, please see the article by Clarke Warren, published at the Chronicles of Chögyam Trungpa website.

In 2000 and 2005, when Dorje Dzong was used as collateral to secure large loans for Shambhala Mountain Center, the Boulder sangha was not consulted. Again, the Boulder community has not been included in the decision making process regarding this change, which is so central to our lineage and to our spiritual direction.

It seems important to offer clear, nonaggressive, honest feedback to the Shambhala Adminstration on matters of such importance to our dharma practice.

Therefore, to spark conversation, below are three questions to contemplate.    Please feel free to offer comments.

  1. Do you feel it is appropriate to remove the great Vajradhara thangka from its current position in Dorje Dzong, Boulder?
  2. What is your personal practice relationship with the Karma Kagyu lineage?
  3. Where do you think this kind of change will lead?

Appeal to Prevent the Vajradhara Thangka in the Boulder Shambhala Center from Being Removed

by Clarke Warren

It is highly probable that the Vajradhara thangka in the main shrine room at the Shambhala Center in Boulder will be removed.  It is to be replaced with a painting of the Primordial Rigdin.  I learned this after having spoken with a member of a committee at the Shambhala Center to study and make suggestions for the redesign of the main shrine room.  From what I was told, one option is for the thangka to be rolled up and put in indefinite storage, although no decision has yet been made as to the fate of the thangka.

Yet since the removal of the Vajradhara thangka has not yet taken place, there is still an opportunity to appeal for the thangka to remain.

The Vajradhara thangka is a paramount embodiment of the teachings and activities of Vidyahara the Venerable Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche.  He commissioned the thangka, and it was painted by his close friend, the renowned thangka master Sherab Palden Beru. The Vidyadhara placed it at the center of his mandala, composing a profound poem of blessing on the back.  The thangka was also blessed by the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, Rigpe Dorje, who placed his own handprint on the back of the thangka, a rare and powerful blessing.

For more information on the history and significance of this thangka, please see an article I wrote for the Chronicles of Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche. The follow-up letter from Mark Nowaskowski presenting the Vidyadhara’s poem of dedication on the back of the thangka, and my follow-up to his comments provide further perspective on the “inner” significance of the thangka. The link to the article is:

I am making an urgent appeal to all and anyone who will register their support for the Vajradhara Thangka to remain as the main shrine object at the Boulder Shambhala Center.  Please support this appeal to the leadership of Shambhala Intl by sending in your own words an appeal for the thangka to remain.  Or you can simply cut and paste, or modify, the following:

“The great thangka of the primordial Buddha Vajradhara in the main shrine room of the Boulder Shambhala Center is a major legacy and continuing embodiment of the life, realization and teachings of Vidyadhara the Venerable Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and the Kagyu lineage.  Please permit the thangka of Vajradhara in the main shrine room of the Boulder Shambhala Center to remain as the main shrine object.”   Signed, your name.

As a second approach, please participate in a discussion of the issue of this thangkas removal on sangha-talk, sadhaka talk, or any other site.

Your appeals can be sent to the following e-mail addresses: (I include my own address at the end, as I would like to document this effort):

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, via his secretary David Brown:

The Kalapa Council, c/o David Brown:

The Shambhala Intl. acharyas:

Secretary for the acharyas:

President of Shambhala Intl. Richard Reoch:

The Sakyong Council:

The Mandala Council:

Ulrike Halpern, Director, Boulder Shambhala Center:

Jim Fladmark, Director, Office of Practice & Education, Boulder Shambhala Center:

The Governing Council, Boulder Shambhala Center: c/o Ulrike Halpern:

The Building Committee of the Boulder Shambhala Center Main Shrine Room, c/o of Steve Vosper:

– Clarke Warren:

The summary of addresses for all the above is:,,,,,,,,,

Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter,

Clarke Warren

Tintin in Shambhala

December 27, 2009

A comic, anonymously inserted into the meme-stream, has been making the rounds recently:

Click the image above to get the full-sized version on the web page where it originally appeared.

This cartoon was first brought to the world’s (well, the Shambhala world’s) attention in a sangha-announce message posted December 6, 2009 by “gremi” at, titled Need help with this puzzles!:

Dear Friends,

My wife and myself are back home, and are so much appreciative of the North American Sangha contributes to Europe, where we study and do Shambhala dharma practices. 

We hope you will tell us what is the meaning of this cartoon that we also got from the internet and want to know if we did not receive something written down explaining. What is the message please?

Here is the cartoon:

What does this mean?

Yours, Gordi and Lyske Remi

This was followed by several more messages by “George Remi” (as the Shambhala member site identifies “gremi”), including a compilation of various responses to and speculations on the cartoon .

A Tintin aficionado would know that “George Remi” is the name of the Belgian individual who used the nom-de-plume of Hergé to author the world-famous Tintin comics. Many of us grew up with those, and Chögyam Trungpa himself was a big fan of the young bodhisattva.

The comic is ambiguous enough to elicit reactions true to a person’s proclivities. The final, mostly blank conversation balloon invites readers to put their own response in Tintin’s mouth.

Please go ahead! Rules of the game:

  • first, post a short phrase or sentence to go in the final conversation balloon. Let’s say the same length as for Twitter: 140 characters max!
  • then, if you wish, comment on your contribution and/or the comic
  • we will insert a copy of the final panel, customized with your wording, into your comment

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