Global Delek?

November 21, 2008 by     Print This Post Print This Post

Is it time for a world-wide Chögyam Trungpa delek?

This could be a way to use an existing and yet not fully realized form – that of the delek system – to take care of each other. There are enough of us with a presence on this site – plus all those lurking but not saying anything (yet) – that it may be timely. For those places where there’s enough people (Halifax is one) local deleks could also be set up. We could explore how to use various online forms and tools to support the global and local deleks. 

This may also be a good first step that addresses some social and political concerns while deferring dealing with the thornier issues around religious and practice forms that may need to evolve in the future. I personally don’t feel the time is quite right for the latter – the ground needs further pacifying and enriching, so to speak.

Sherab Chödzin Kohn writes[1] of Trungpa Rinpoche’s 1968 discussions at Taksang of political consciousness and the delek system:

Kunga [Dawa] describes the discussions at Taksang: “… the best thing would be if there was an enlightened ruler who ruled his kingdom but there was also a form of democratic governance so that the people would have a say and would be able to communicate with local leaders. […] So the basis would be communities on the local level… and there would be meditation happening. Rinpoche came up with the idea of the knot of eternity, saying that this would be the banner of our revolutionary activity; I suppose because it represents the continuity of the meditative state without beginning or end.


Society as a whole was to be imbued with a sense of meditative openness. […] The seal of meditation, the knot of eternity, is on the activity of both the delekpa and the king – insight is anonymous (which is why the meditation knot has no faces).

Comments and next steps welcome.

– Mark Szpakowski

[1] The Delekpa and the King, Kalapa Journal, Number 2 (1999)


39 Responses to “Global Delek?”

  1. Rick Finney on November 21st, 2008 11:27 pm

    This is a fascinating idea. What would such a “wordwide” delek actually do, though? How would it look after its members? It’s worth remembering that beyond the inner circle of Sakyong “loyalists” and the outer fringe of old-dog “diehards” there’s a much wider world of people, scattered all over, who had varying degrees of contact with Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and still regard him as their teacher, though they may never have had much day-to-day involvement with Vajradhatu or Shambhala International. Thanks to the wonderful work of Carolyn Gimian, many people are still encountering the Vidyadhara for the first time through his books, much as many of us did in earlier years. Many of these people are now reflecting what they’ve understood of the teachings out into the world in very simple, direct, and real ways. The Shambhala world may be much wider than we know.

  2. rita ashworth on November 22nd, 2008 9:58 am

    well I was getting close to suggesting a conference in Halifax on exactly this issue myself but I did not because I thought we had to explore the concept of the National Assembly a bit more……….I would really like some form of a more tangible democracy to exist in SI…….aka voting ………..dunno it might be worthwhile to have conference in Halifax to discuss the whole of these issues arising on this website……….maybe then people could decide to put them to the Sakyong or if not …..schism …..that dreaded word ‘schism’ which I beginning to look upon just as another word and not see it so emotively………………I dont think from reading the Shambhala Congress website and listening to the audio broadcasts that there is any more moves on the ‘democracy forefront’ …………of course there are democracies and democracies…….thats why I think it is essential that we hear more from Ken Green on the Vidyadhara’s views on politics – the ‘political office’ that Ken Green had was that of ‘Archbishop’ ……Trungpa actually sort of humourously gave him this title but I begin to think he was not being so humourous…………Archbishops sit in the House of Lords in the UK and they have influence aka the Crown -its an established church in the UK…so they do have a modicum of political influence…………

    really if you want the whole thing to work you have to have a balance between the Sakyong and the people that make up that society……………….thats why I have been trying to find out about the Vidyadharas views on politics……….really the whole thing has gone beyond not just getting on with the Sakyong and the way he teaches…………..but what is appropiate for the setting up of a society that comes into being in a benevolent form that enriches all races…………….as globalisation proceeds people are looking more and more to religious leaders to bring forth some form of government that actually works and helps people to survive in these tumultuous times………I dont think they are going to take on the form of government that the present Sakyong is suggesting at this time………..

    ………really think myself Trungpa was hedging his bets on who would lead this sangha by having two separate lineages aka Sweeney and the Sakyong……… Trungpa always emphasised to the Regent that while he should hold the reins of power he should further empower other people on this path………….even to the point of allowing them to give transmission? – that is one big question………..if this was the case than everything would take off mighty high?!

    what do others think?


    rita ashworth

  3. barbara blouin on November 22nd, 2008 10:33 am

    Rick’s question is absolutely to the point: how would we go about creating such a global deleg? So far the idea is just … an idea.A good one and long overdue. So, Rick and you other so-far silent readers,and those who already contribute to the RFS conversation, I encourage you — all of you — to put on your thinking caps and generate ideas about how we can do this. I’ll do my part too.

    For starters, this can be a very modest but effective initiative: we don’t need to spend money. Since we are so far flung, it will need to be a web-based deleg, with local delegs in places where there are enough people to hold meetings. (Three people = “a meeting.”) We can start small and grow from there.

    We could create web-based conversation platform.

    And some of us, possibly many of us, can use Skype. Show of hands for that? We could have conversations in real time across the planet.

    What is most exciting to me about this is that it will arise from the bottom up — a completely democratic, grassroots, energy-driven, dynamic way to communicate and support each other that anyone who has access to the internet can participate in.

    Please spread the word.


  4. Ginny Lipson on November 22nd, 2008 12:27 pm

    I appreciate all of the above comments. This is a great idea, and I would participate.

    Hopefully, with starting simply and modestly, “the ground needs further pacifying and enriching, so to speak.” as was said…. we could eventually actually work together to progress towards some sort of a meaningful whole. As Rita said: ” if you want the whole thing to work you have to have a balance between the Sakyong and the people that make up that society.. ” A worthy hope and goal.

    If not that, perhaps some other alternative valid “sub culture” could evolve that would be helpful to people and preserve the legacy that we cherish.

  5. Rick Finney on November 22nd, 2008 1:08 pm

    If someone is able to talk to Ken about all this, could they also ask him about the Vidyadhara’s interest in the Habsburg empire during the last years of his life? I remember that the Vidyadhara even began referring to himself for a while as the Habsburger Mukpopa.

    Was this only because ithe Habsburgs were a multinational empire or kingdom, like Shambhala, organized around a central court? Were there methods of governing, or of receiving feedback from the empire’s outlying regions, that interested him? Did the Habsburgs ever devolve political power to smaller groups that had previously been held in tighter control?

    I wonder if any clues for us are buried in a better understanding of this.

  6. Suzanne on November 22nd, 2008 2:58 pm

    I wonder. Would it be a deleg outside Shambhala International, or within it? Would it be a separate group, or a new sub-group “deleg”?

    Like Rita, for a long time I have wished a true Congress would take place. But I envision it would work only if it was a complete representative gathering, like a National Assembly or even an International Assembly, but with more emphasis on enlightened aspects of democratic processes. I do not believe that democracy is evil and setting sun. Even when it has been corrupted it is still more safeguarded against corruption and more open to change than any other governing system.

    Voting is a suspicious event. I’m no political scientist but it seems to me that true democracy is about consensus rule, not about majority rule. In consensus rule, no decisions are made without 100% agreement among the members. If they do not attend meetings, they are contacted and made sure to be represented. Is that like or unlike the “spontaneous insight” of the Trungpa Shambhala deleg systems? I always thought of “natural hierarchy” a way of saying “cream rises.” If not all the milk is there, it’s not real milk, and cream can’t rise.

    To me a Congress or National Assembly would include representatives from all Trungpa’s students, including those from Ojai, Ireland, and other non-Shambhala International centers. It means that Shambhala International has representation as well, on an equal level. Each representative would accept tenets of equality etc.

    The gist I get from many a post, including Rita’s, is that most contributors to and supporters of Radio Free Shambhala are current members and quite concerned with the way things are going and would like to fix them, heal wounds and close divides. Others have moved on formally, but still have a concern and love for the vision of Shambhala. But another group? Well, maybe. I personally would love to have a place to go for group practice, since I am not a member of Shambhala International and always promoted the separation of Shambhala and Buddhism. But I’m not sure a new separate group is the right thing. I’m wondering if it’s not a good idea to not form any group but to build a movement, for a consensus approach, for building bridges, just draw more and more
    folks into the discussion, from every angle. Isn’t it more fun and more direct to express and “deliver” enlightened society on the spot according to the way Trungpa Rinpoche presented it? Why form a group to do it? For example, Trungpa practitioners could all “take over” the practice centers on certain days and make the shrines the way we were taught, do the practices the way we were taught, etcetera. That would be more like a movement than a group.

  7. Ginny Lipson on November 22nd, 2008 9:41 pm


    briefly, I can’t help but say this: what you just described, Robin Kornman said he did, (He told us at a CTLP meeting (last winter?)) In Milwaukee. I think he got an agreement with the Center to teach whatever it was that he wanted to teach, and then went in there “with his people,” and took over for about a week. It sounded sort of like Gesar coming to town with his high potency lungta gathering of students and associates. He said they actually did rearrange things to create the proper environment. Pretty far out!!

    (homage to Robin.)

  8. Mark Szpakowski on November 22nd, 2008 9:44 pm

    Suzanne, to my mind this would be a delek within Shambhala (as understood in the Shambhala Vision of CTR) but not within Shambhala International. There are already deleks within Shambhala International in Halifax at least, so that’s already covered for those who feel at home with the way things are in Sl. For those that don’t, I see a delek as a natural form for taking care of each other – that’s what deleks are about. I think this is a minimal move: it’s just acknowledging that there is a community that’s not being served by SI, and suggesting “delek” as a minimal form for that. That’s it. I do not see it as as forming any other type of “group”: in my opinion that’s currently premature.

    As mentioned in the post, I think Halifax is in a position to create such a local delek. And I think there are enough people, more than enough, around the world for a global delek. The logistics of such a delek holding meetings, and providing care for its members, are more challenging, but not insurmountable.

    This might then suggest that there is a greater community, with supporting deleks, which includes the CTR deleks (if we can call them that for now), as well as the SI deleks.

    Image: large circle, within which are a global CTR delek circle, a Halifax CTR delek circle, and an SI deleks circle (with individual delek circles within that latter circle). This image may not be how SI sees things, but I think it reflects the reality of the situation, and could actually be helpful in acknowledging that there is a bigger family. And, to repeat, it’s centered, not around our individual (and probably somewhat conflicting) ideologies or positions, but around care for each other. As Barbara says, from the bottom up.

    Someone asked me in an email how that connects to enlightened society. I think that for enlightened society to manifest it’s not sufficient to have an enlightened ruler. What’s necessary is to have a citizenry that’s actively working on how to manifest sacred world, and a ruler that’s likewise doing so. The seal of meditation, the knot of eternity, is on the activity of both the delekpa and the king – insight is anonymous. We need to do our part.

  9. Michael Sullivan on November 23rd, 2008 2:58 pm


    I attended the “Creating Enlightened Society” talks by Robin a few months before he died. Indeed, he did have a substantial number of students who regarded him as their teacher, and he had them re-create an “old school” shrine room with Khyentse and Suzuki Roshi etc. We DID have a Rigden thangka, but it wasn’t the fancy new one. It was a rather nondescript thangka of a Rigden King, with the forces of Shambhala driving off the forces of materialism. My wife and I brought it with us to the first year seminary was at Bedford Springs. It was loaned to Rinpoche for Seminary, and he kept it above the desk where he prepared his talks. At the end of seminary he painted the OM AH HUM syllables on the back of the thangka and returned it to us.

    Here is the link to the videos of Robin’s seminar. He was in great form despite some drifting off at times when the pain medication kicked in.

  10. Suzanne Duarte on November 23rd, 2008 9:42 pm


    I like your ideas a lot. I think a global CTR delek is a timely and reasonable idea, with the purpose of caring for each other since we are not being served by SI, and maintaining sacred outlook according to CTR’s teachings. Yes, Halifax is a natural place for a local delek, and that might inspire Boulder, where I’m sure a lot of old dogs might come out of the woodwork.

    I’m in Amsterdam and not aware of any other CTR students who are not affiliated with SI, except for my husband. So I would really like to feel connected within a global CTR delek.

    I wonder . . what do you think about talking to Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche about this idea while he is in Halifax? I’d be really curious to hear what he might say. What do you think, Mark?

  11. Ginny Lipson on November 24th, 2008 2:28 am

    Michael, Thank you for the link to Robin’s teachings! How precious indeed.

    Also, I just wanted to say to whomever, that I really like Mark’s idea of the various encompassing “circles.” I feel in a way, that it is already like that, for people who are trying to live in both worlds.. So this way, the outer circle people will also have more resources and communication and can care for each other. Very important!!!

  12. rita ashworth on November 25th, 2008 2:48 pm

    really great thanks for putting in the link for Robin Kornmans teachings – I have circulated them round the UK and sent them to Shambhala Europe -in case they have not got them.

    Really I mentioned voting and the National Assembly because they were Trungpa Rinpoches comments on his will – if he said he meant voting to happen he ment it to happen…………..!? Dont believe that Trungpa was infallible aka the Pope but I do take seriously his words on affairs-life as we know it……….aka Trungpa’s teachings there’s change and there’s change but on such an issue as the government of the whole thing I dont think there can be change

    …………interesting that Robin states that a third roughly of what Trungpa taught was with groups of individuals and that these teachings are not transcribed as of yet…………….why wait for people to be asked to do their stint on the Chronicle Project……….people should be writing down their memories of him now …………..even in the Uk there have been people who met him and the ‘teachings’ have not been written down…………..

    …………in essence if we stick with Trungpa’s vision of government aren’t we fulfilling the kasung role of protecting the teachings………….its all of one piece of cloth isn’t it?!

    ………….thats why I think it would be useful to get more teachings on politics happening…………..aka Robin Kornman again re his story of Trungpa playing chess and go and trying to play three steps ahead of the other player…………..that would be a useful skill in furthering the teachings in this world wouldn’t it


    Rita Ashworth

  13. Suzanne on November 27th, 2008 9:29 am

    Global CTR delek — sounds good to me. Surew wish we could find a way to use the name “Shambhala” though.

    Here is a quote that popped up on my desktop this morning and seems to describe the current communication gap.

    “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the
    spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that
    spectrum – even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.” –Noam Chomsky

  14. Mark Szpakowski on November 28th, 2008 12:05 pm

    Suzanne D, re talking to Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche about the global delek idea, I think it’s really up to us re doing that or similar things. He has many students who are Shambhalians, so I know he is quite up to date on what is happening, but I’m quite sure that whatever he may think he needs to remain politic and discreet. This also suggests the larger question of the need for leadership, for a central figure, and for imprimaturs from perceived hierarchies (such as the Tibetan Buddhist ones).

    Suzanne T, re using the name “Shambhala”, I think it’s quite possible to use it in many contexts – after all, it predates Shambhala Int by many many years, and is used in many ways by many people and groups all over the world. You just have to be careful not to step on SI’s service marks.

    The Chomsky quote points to the need to not just “question authority”, but more importantly question the framing and contextualization of issues and debates. George Lakoff has been quite articulate about this. I guess we could call such framings “primitive beliefs about reality”.

  15. Suzanne Duarte on November 28th, 2008 4:59 pm

    Hi Mark,

    Well, I wasn’t thinking about the need Dzongsar’s or anybody else’s Imprimaturs for a global CTR delek. I was thinking that, since he’s going to be talking about Transcending Madness – and possibly crazy wisdom, that he might have an outside-the-box creative idea or two.

    I know “he needs to remain politic and discreet” and that it’s really up to us, but I thought perhaps, given the timing, he might have something interesting to contribute as a spiritual friend of CTR and his students. I’m so far outside the hierarchy, perhaps it was a naive idea.

    Suzanne D.

  16. rita ashworth on November 29th, 2008 9:27 am

    just reflecting on what I have heard Robin Kornman say about the evolution of dharma in America when he talks in the last lecture about bringing down the power of the dralas to various ‘powerspots’ in the US – he talks about this in the context of what he was commanded to do by the Vidyadhara independent of any relationship with SMR. He sees the US a bit I think like what Japan is now and what possibly China could be in the future in the sense that family lineages will emerge ie not just SMR but others aswell……………thats not just three steps ahead of the game as in chess but a great leap into the future……………..didn’t Trungpa Rinpoche at times in the context of kasungship encourage people to solve terrorist problems like the Iran hostage siege…………think I have heard James Gimian talk of that…………..what about just theorising politically about what an enlightened society would be like aswell aka the kasung way described…………………Robin talked about developing the theory ‘behind/within’ shambhala seems to be no-one doing that at present besides SMR and the context of kingship…………….D H Lawrence as a literary author was always trying to find some sort of Utopia with all his travels………………….I think he came finally to rest in Mexico…….where his wife Freida(?) lived after his death……………perhaps Lawrence was a king of literature working with the dralas aka poetry………….would be interesting to hear about how others view bringing down the dralas in a western context…………felt really sorry for Robin when he had to face questions from the audience about SMR…….he too had to be a bit discreet……I think…………but he was also independent too in saying that he would follow CTR’s command to bring down the dralas in his own way……….dunno perhaps there can be ways within Shambhala that we could do that in our own way……………re Robin

    …………thinking also about asking a local Budhist centre in my area to invite Wangdor Rinpoche over………(he was mentioned in Robin’s talk – they hosted him in Milwaukee……………maybe there could be a dialogue happening with him…….feel sometimes out of depth aka Tibetan Buddhism and culture………although have read a lot of books by Shambhala publishing)

    What do others think?


    Rita Ashworth

  17. Michael Sullivan on November 29th, 2008 1:33 pm

    Hi Rita

    Robin and I collaborated to bring Wangdor Rinpoche to Milwaukee 6 times. His specialty is Direct Introduction, and he teaches primarily from the Three Words of Garab Dorje, also bringing in Mahamudra teachings along with the Dzogchen. He was Robin’s primary Dzogchen teacher for the last 8 or 9 years of his life.

    He is the retreat master at the Padmasambhava Caves at Tso Pema. His translator, Lama Lena, has also spent years in retreat at the caves. He has told her that it is time for her to teach, and we hosted her this last summer.

    We called ourselves the Ad Hoc Rime Committee, and used Robin’s influence to get use of the local Shambhala Center for the events. You DON’T need a “real” organization to do this!

    My understanding is that Wangdor Rinpoche will come to the USA this coming spring sometime, and that it will probably be his last trip. I would encourage anyone inclined to host a teaching to do so!

  18. Mark Szpakowski on November 29th, 2008 3:08 pm

    Just want to say that Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche’s Transcending Madness program is happening right now in Halifax, attended by 550 people. He said that there are not many places in the world (and he travels a lot, came here from Madagascar, Sunday leaves for Brazil) that are reminders of his guru, Dilgo Kheyntse Rinpoche, but this (and this sangha) is one such. He is extremely aware of and up to date on the Shambhala sangha situations (and the concerns represented on this site), and not just because of the special care and responsibility he feels, but also as a member of the lineage stream and teachers both backing and benefiting from the Vidyadhara’s activity and students in the West.

  19. rita ashworth on December 2nd, 2008 2:01 pm

    Dear Michael

    Many thanks for the stuff on Wangdor Rinpoche – I will look up the text.
    Also thought maybe the videos could be highlighted on this site as a resource -perhaps in the audio section.

    …….was wondering what was in the manual that Robin devised for course-could you put that up on this site aswell……..did Robin advocate a return to the Kapala Assembly format as was done in the past……..was wondering how Robin would have liked the Shambhala teachings to be put forward to people in the future ………re his inspiration from Trungpa Rinpoche and his book on Gesar………

    found this quote from Gesar Mukpo on dharmabrats – got me to thinking that Gesars view would fit in very well with Robins explanation of the various clans of Shambhala in -was it Golok…..

    Gesar’s quote:
    “Look Shambhala is whatever we see it as. Whatever tract of it we understand. Could it be there are a multiplicity of Shambhalas?
    Shambhala should never be seperated from an individual. When we start to think of it in that way we fall victim to our own fear of missing the point and missing our chance to “get it.” Don’t worry we are all there already. ” (you can see the fuller quote on Dharmabrats re the discussion on SMR.)

    – this would also tie in with Robins explanation of the various powerspots in the US and around the world.

    myself more into the Kagyu path but I can see the relevance of Shambhala to constructing a society………..but I wish people could be taught in a ‘quicker’ format than at present………..the cost of the whole thing still bugs me in the sense that alot of people only have so much time to spend their weekends and their holidays…………think there could be an easier way of reaching people………believe Robin was working on various formats to bring the Shambhala teachings into peoples lives at a time and at a place and at a cost where they were at -is this true?

    Robin also did say he was a lineage holder of Trungpa’s teachings…….although he did say people should do things under the aegis of SMR -not totally sure of that myself……….of course Robin was an older student of Trungpa……… this sense of lineage holder who would you qualify as lineage holders of the teachings -is it time spent with Trungpa, time teaching, ——-not sure………from where Robin was coming on this………..but interesting that he said it to his audience.

    ….would be interesting to get some feedback on the above from others and you.


    Rita Ashworth

  20. Michael Sullivan on December 2nd, 2008 4:22 pm

    My guess is that Robin was referring to himself as a lineage holder in the broadest sense — he studied and practiced all that he could from his teacher and in that sense holds the lineage. Not in the “dharma heir” sense, or even the formally acknowledged sense (as with the Acharyas – although you could argue that their title is as much about loyalty to SMR as it is about holding CTR’s lineage).

    We love our organizations and hierarchies and little pins and whatnot, but the proof is in the person. We love titles and ritual formalities and tend to dismiss those outside of the “system”

    Robin as a person had studied and practice deeply. His realization is hard for someone like me to gauge, but I know that Wangdor Rinpoche referred to Robin as a person who had achieved some realization, when he was giving a teaching in California a few weeks after Robin’s passing.

    It is crucial for CTR’s students to apply the teachings and realize them. And pass them on, whether through official or renegade channels!

  21. Lee Weingrad on December 3rd, 2008 1:01 pm

    I think that it’s not that lineage is irrelevant, or that hierarchy is irrelevant as we move forward and as these ideas and inspirations become clarified. I think that in reading these posts there is a genuine respect for leadership, lineage and hierarchy.

    But the question is that for us as a group, our requirements are different than they would be for a 20-something just starting on the path. Most of us have been practicing for many years — and while that doesn’t mean we have all reached some stability in recognizing unfabricated wakefulness, we have confidence in power of practice and in the phenomenal world as infected by that self-existing brilliance and non-referential value.

    The extent to which this is a shared aspiration and shared vision means that the group already exists and there is no need to fuss over the fine print. Another element in this array is that we are not seeking confirmation or credentials for our vision. So while we might be respectful of the need for hierarchy and lineage, in this case what we are talking about, seeing and doing, is the genuine product of the compassionate activity of that lineage and its brilliant holder, Chogyam Trungpa.

    From this reference point, the question is if there is not need for further credentials, what is the nature of ourselves, our group? The answer is that we see the phenomenal world, the sacred world and something that evokes and compels our activity, our attention, our compassion, our common aspiration to realize the sacred path we have been shown.

    So then when we sit down and look at each other, what do we see? The body of the dharma, the body of the guru Chogyam Trungpa. What do we think? The mind of the guru Chogyam Trungpa? What do we hear in our open-mindied questioning of things? The speech of Chogyam Trungpa.

    We have to realize that what we are looking for, we already have. That we are the body speech and mind of the Vajraholder Guru, Chogyam Trunpa. This is the liberation theology of our delek. It need not be confirmed by the Sakyong, or even Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche. It’s who we are.

    At some point we need more than assent to this truth; we need to practice together.


  22. Suzanne Duarte on December 3rd, 2008 3:27 pm

    Lee, thank you for this:

    We are the body speech and mind of the Vajraholder Guru, Chogyam Trunpa. This is the liberation theology of our delek. It need not be confirmed by the Sakyong, or even Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche. It’s who we are.

    It is so.


  23. Rick Finney on December 31st, 2008 12:20 pm

    Regarding the reportedly large numbers of older students of the Vidyadhara who have formally left Shambhala International, or have at least drifted away: What are the numbers actually involved? Is anyone really tracking this?

    Rick Finney

  24. Rob List on December 31st, 2008 5:33 pm

    Well folks, there are maybe more of us out there than you realize! Meaning those of us who honor and cherish the great wisdom and pioneering achievements of Trungpa Rinpoche, and yet perhaps were never even a small part of Shambhala – before, during or after.
    From the first time hearing him speak at an A-frame church at 55th and Arapaho, I knew I was a fortunate person indeed. He was and is the one who brought me to the Kagyu, who provided the opportunity for the blessings of the 16th Karmapa, who instilled in me the working model of fearless, compassionate, serious and high-spirited follower of the dharma.
    As a young and naiive meditator [thank you Fran], as a parttime teacher of theater at Naropa, as a dissatisfied customer at Tom’s, I never was comfortable with warriorship. Yet still my practice and my devotion to the lineage of Naro, Tilo, Marpa, Mila, Gampopa and the glorious Karmapas and their teachers, is due without doubt to the lucky stars of the Front Range, the smell of sage and the rich, crisp voice and silent pause of Trungpa Rinpoche. My path has led me elsewhere, to my dear teacher now, but I will never forget who pointed the way.
    So yes folks, we are out here, don’t worry – I’d venture to guess even quite a few of us – who honor this great Kagyu lineage holder, and will always do so, in our small and individual ways, still out here practicing. We may not agree with you, but we support you.
    As the man said, ‘good luck’, and hope you all come out fine!

  25. Suzanne Duarte on January 1st, 2009 1:08 pm

    Re: Rick Finney’s question: “Regarding the reportedly large numbers of older students of the Vidyadhara who have formally left Shambhala International, or have at least drifted away: What are the numbers actually involved? Is anyone really tracking this?”

    The only way I can think of to get an idea of how many CTR loyalists have left Shambhala International would be to determine the numbers of students who had taken refuge or bodhisattva vows with CTR, or had attended 3-Yana Seminaries or Shambhala Training, before he died, and/or the number of students on the Vajradhatu and Shambhala membership rolls when he died; then get the number of such students (from the days when CTR was alive) who are still official (dues-paying) members of SI, and compare the numbers. This latter might be very difficult to ascertain, since it is doubtful that SI keeps track of such things.

    Of course, there ARE students who never met CTR but remain loyal to him. Some remain affiliated with SI and some have left SI. The number of those who want to study and practice CTR’s teachings but not within SI would be difficult to discover unless they present themselves on this site.

    Then there are people like Rob List, “who honor and cherish the great wisdom and pioneering achievements of Trungpa Rinpoche,” but study and practice with another teacher or more than one other teacher. There may quite a few such people who were ‘senior’ students (sadhakas) with CTR, but who left his mandala at some point after his death to study with other teachers. How could they be accounted for, except through the grapevine of personal connections among old CTR sangha friends?

    The point I’m trying to make is, how COULD anyone track the diaspora, since the institution that replaced Vajradhatu is apparently not interested in the students of the Vidyadhara who have left?

    The Vidyadhara cared deeply about keeping the sangha together, but that has not happened. I’d personally love to know how many have scattered and would love to see them networked and reconnected, but I have my doubts that this will ever occur. It’s been an entire generation since CTR died, and my generation is already dying off.


  26. Sam Scoggins on January 6th, 2009 11:40 am
  27. Mark Szpakowski on January 11th, 2009 5:31 pm

    The following message went out a few days ago to the nova-scotia-announce mailing list. Please spread the word to greater Halifax area sangha who may not be on that list:

    On Sunday, January 18 some of the Halifax area sangha will meet in the living room at Coburg House, 6059 Coburg Road, at 1:00 pm to brainstorm about ideas for creating a Chögyam Trungpa Delek.

    We are also interested in the possibilities of forming a study group and practice spaces.

    Essentially, there are a number of practitioners here in Halifax, young and old, who are specifically students of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. We are looking for a home and the delek form seems the most natural form since it is about community and taking care of each other.

    PS This is not about the Coburg House area delek, which happens to need a new dekyong – we are just using this space to meet, thanks to the kind offer of Madeline Schreiber.

  28. rita ashworth on January 13th, 2009 1:38 pm

    great to hear that this meeting is happening in Halifax -could someone take the minutes of the meeting and post them up on this site or is it possible to record the meeting – would be interesting to hear what is discussed.
    sort of semi-detached from SI myself in the UK-primarily interested in doing arts disciplines now in this sangha…………thinking about my loyalties aka being member of org now…………primarily still think the SI org is too top-heavy………..not enough discussion occuring as to governance and also what people really think about how the teachings should go forward in the world.Plus issues of financing the whole thing – would like Shambhala teachings to be available more freely -perhaps a different format is called for besides the weekends-hope people can think big at your meeting and think radically about getting the teachings to people on low incomes and no-incomes.

    also all the big projects aka the big festivals and the stupa -definately there has to be some grassroots input into how the budget is spent………myself dont think the stupa should have been built so early -all that money could have been used to further the teachings in the world. Better maybe just to build Buddha statues in parks -the Buddha form which is accessible in parks does spark peoples interest in the religion -whereas the stupa you have to travel to RMSC to see it.

    Plus I think there needs to be more emphasis in spreading the teachings in the west-dubious about the Sakyong going to this three month terma ‘teaching’ in Orissa and peoples financing of it-what about the terma to be discovered here?! Plus the Vidyadhara ‘uncovered’ the Shambhala teachings in the west and the Karmapa died in the US.
    Definately has to be some discussion about the way Tibetan teachers interact with SI…………..

    well thats some meaty subjects to discuss on this board and at your meeting – hope this input has proved useful.


    Rita Ashworth
    Stockport uk

  29. Petra Mudie on January 13th, 2009 10:25 pm

    As you know, Mark, I am excited about the idea of a CTR delek in Halifax and would like to attend the meeting on Sunday. I heard that Coburg House was not going to be a possible venue – can you give haligonians an update on the time and place?

  30. madeline schreiber on January 14th, 2009 12:57 pm

    Subject: NS: CTR Delek Not Meeting At Coburg House
    Date: January 14, 2009 10:59:21 AM AST

    Dear Sangha,

    A week or two ago Mark Szpakowski asked me if the subject meeting could happen at Coburg House. In the spirit of openness I said yes. But having this meeting here has caused quite a lot of upset for a number of people. Some have only communicated their views on this to me privately. Others by group emails.

    All in all, I feel that this meeting is more controversial than I first realized. It would not be in the service of Coburg House, which is my responsibility, to have a CTR Delek meeting here. Mark told me that as soon as he finds another location he will post the information.

    For now, please do not plan on coming here for the meeting on Sunday, January 18 as previously posted.

    Sorry for confusion,

  31. Mark Szpakowski on January 14th, 2009 1:52 pm

    I posted this to nova-scotia-announce:


    The meeting scheduled for Sunday January 18th at Coburg House can no longer be held there.

    Barbara Blouin has agreed to host the meeting at her house at:

    [address], Halifax

    Google Map: [location]

    To clarify what this meeting is about, it is for those practitioners in Halifax, young and old, who specifically are students of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, and who are looking for dharma and sangha practice forms that are not being offered locally. We can start with discussing the possibility of forming a delek, which seems the most natural form since that is about community and taking care of each other.

    If anyone needs a ride, please email me.

    I apologize for the vagueness of the description. I tried to put it in a way that would not offend anybody, but I’m sure I have failed.

  32. rita ashworth on January 14th, 2009 2:42 pm

    May I suggest people who find the idea of a CTR delek controversial actually go to the meeting in the spirit of free discussion and democracy-you might see why people are writing stuff on this board.

    Do they have controversial debates in Canadian schools – in English schools from the age of eleven we were taught to debate opposing views in a spirit of openness so that people in the audience could make up their mind about issues- perhaps this might be a small reason why we had a one million march of people in London against the war in Iraq.

    Really hope such controversial meetings spark some flares of awakedness in all the people attending the meeting-plus hope you have some nice cups of tea and biscuits-dont forget the sugar!


    Rita Ashworth
    stockport uk

  33. Mark Szpakowski on January 14th, 2009 2:45 pm

    As my son’s t-shirt says:

    we have cookies – come to the dark side


  34. rita ashworth on January 14th, 2009 3:01 pm

    ho…………………hum – that got a laugh 4,000 miles away……… you…… best for the meeting.

    rita ashworth
    stockport uk

  35. rita ashworth on January 20th, 2009 2:14 pm

    On the inauguration of the President Barak Obama – I would like to point out the plans of an older philosopher and thinker. I was rereading the Communist Manifesto and thought back to my seminary and the inclusion of this book into a Shambhala politics brochure. The ten point plan given by Karl Marx(below) I agree with in part – I agree with points 2,5,6, 10. Others I have some sympathy with aka 7, 8, 9 – I suppose the ones people baulk at especially in America would be 1, 3, and 4.

    Remember reading a poem by Trungpa Rinpoche in Best Thought, First Thought that he decried Marx and asked rhetorically where were the true communists. Indeed where are they?

    Capitalism is not working either and Communism is almost dead………..but the true communists – what did Trungpa envisage for that world – that enlightened political society………..seems to me that the political practicalities of Shambhala will have to begin to be envisaged soon aka the political authorities and its subjects/citizens. Any ideas anyone? (wonder what you think of Marx’s ten point plan and maybe the construction of a Shambhala Manifesto).

    1. Expropriation of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
    2. A heavy progressive tax.
    3. Abolition of all right of inheritance.
    4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
    5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
    6. Centralization of transport in the hands of the State.
    7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of wastelands and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
    8. Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
    9. Combination of agriculture with industry, promotion of the gradual elimination of the contradictions between town and countryside.
    10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present from. Combination of education with industrial production, &c., and &c.


    Rita Ashworth
    Stockport UK

  36. Kristine McCutcheon on March 16th, 2009 1:47 am

    wow – this discussion has been an interesting read. Thanks for all the input.
    I just wanted to chime in on one point because I have been phasinated by the ideas of delegs and the political treatise of VCTR.

    I had heard (please confirm or deny this one all of you) that Trungpa Rinpoche had once described delegs as ‘family groupings’ and that those groupings would be about seven families. (i want to be adopted by a family) say a family was not just 3 people but ex wives and step fathers and close friends that are adopted for deleg purposes say family of 7? so 49 or under 50 people not defined by geography but by some type of ‘loyalty’ people that ‘want’ to get together because they are family.

    If this was the orginisation structure of delegs then they would be
    – democratic, each deleg would represent itself and how they internally operate is up to them.
    – multigenerational, students of many different teachers would be in one deleg
    – could focus on ‘community issues’ such as care of each other, pooling resources, education, paving roads, orginising group practices or study about whatever topics they desire
    – representative, a deleg could bring issues to a larger council.

    Recently I was in a tibetan refugee camp and spent a lot of time in peoples houses trying to figure out how things worked.
    The most inspiring thing i learned was that they did things by ‘family grouping’ or ‘house’. Because it was a refugee camp they only had limited land so the housing was tight and each house had up to 3 distinct families living in it, often with a few single people also attached. streching over at least three generations and extended to toronto, switzerland and other places family had immigrated. Maybe 18 or so people living in a ‘house’ and a few houses were a community ‘voting bloc’. all members of the ‘family’ contributed to the bottom line – no matter where they were.
    Also there were community organizations that looked into all the ‘social issues’ and these had representatives from each of the ‘families’ Each of the camps had representatives on an overall refugee camp council which in turn had a representative on the government of the tibetan government in exile and the various different social groups that they operate.

    I want to see how all of us can approach a multilayered community situation that will take care of all of us and our needs and still all be called ‘mukpo clan’. I would like it to start with my family – which is all of you.

    please give insights,
    Kristine (back in halifax in april)

  37. John Tischer on March 16th, 2009 2:29 pm

    I once met a Tibetian woman who had just come from Nepal on a sponsorship to the USA. In talking with her, I asked what happened to those family members who were mentally ill. She had a hard time understandingwhat the term meant, but when she finally did, she said they are taken care of by the family.

    The culture of the USA promotes the individual over the family. In fact, it was designed to isolate people into small units, indoctrinated by television into ideal consumers. It seems to me that the deleg concept
    would have to overcome this culture to be effective. It would be like
    relearning communiry…what many peoples of the world take for
    granted and by which they are able to sustain themselves.

    The closest we’ve come as a sangha to experiencing community was
    probably in the early days of Karme Choling and Shambhala Mountain Center. Regular community meetings brought people together and
    engendered co-operation and mutual respect. Now that the major centers have taken on a more corporate flavor, that spirit has been lost. All we have right now are sites like this one and Dharma Brats to relate to each other as community. Boulder used to have a sort of Buddhist community feeling….no longer. I wonder if Halifax still does.

    So, we seem to be going backwards on this issue. I really wonder if it’s possible to form a community of practitioners outside of,
    at this point, for that matter, within it.

  38. John Tischer on March 16th, 2009 2:29 pm

    I once met a Tibetian woman who had just come from Nepal on a sponsorship to the USA. In talking with her, I asked what happened to those family members who were mentally ill. She had a hard time understanding what the term meant, but when she finally did, she said they are taken care of by the family.

    The culture of the USA promotes the individual over the family. In fact, it was designed to isolate people into small units, indoctrinated by television into ideal consumers. It seems to me that the deleg concept
    would have to overcome this culture to be effective. It would be like
    relearning communiry…what many peoples of the world take for
    granted and by which they are able to sustain themselves.

    The closest we’ve come as a sangha to experiencing community was
    probably in the early days of Karme Choling and Shambhala Mountain Center. Regular community meetings brought people together and
    engendered co-operation and mutual respect. Now that the major centers have taken on a more corporate flavor, that spirit has been lost. All we have right now are sites like this one and Dharma Brats to relate to each other as community. Boulder used to have a sort of Buddhist community feeling….no longer. I wonder if Halifax still does.

    So, we seem to be going backwards on this issue. I really wonder if it’s possible to form a community of practitioners outside of, or,
    at this point, for that matter, within it.

  39. Kristine McCutcheon on March 17th, 2009 9:33 am

    thanks john,

    that is it!
    reversing the way we see or think we see our culture.
    Having a different view – isn’t that what cutting through is?
    If we did it before (with wonderful guidance) why can we not do it again on our own!. manifest as society…. ( do we really need an orginisation to do that for us???? – i say not!)

    I think we all come closer to that idea when we are dying – but do we need to wait for that?

    the question of outside or inside shambhala doesn’t seem to concern me as much as ‘actually’ taking care of each other and relating to each other. being a family per say. many of us isolated ourselves from our bio families when we chose to become buddhists and move to far off lands and such.

    no body really wants to go to a ‘meeting’ but who refuses thanksgiving dinner or such with their ‘family’ or gurls night with the other dakinis or boys night or tea with the chodpas or ?? there should be hundreds of forms where we can be generous to each other and take care of each other at the same time – that are not so ‘political’ or agendized. but family.

    is the bottom line that we have to live together? like a dharma centre? or can we find some other way to instigate that closeness?

    another observation from orissa was the children. they were quite literally passed to who ever had hands free. and they grew up with tons of parents telling them to mind their manners and as part of their role they served anyone older than them. It has been a long time since anyone has felt close enough to me to put their child in my arms. that felt good.

    sorry that is too many ideas – but i feel inspired that we don’t need to ‘recreate’ some concept but just crawl out of our shells and do it.

    party at my house when i get back. for no reason!