The Keys to the Kingdom

May 19, 2009

Commentary by Susanne Vincent

Salutations to the former students of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche!

I write as a never-direct-student of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche (never witnessing his loving kindness, timing, wit or anything of his style or presence, but only the writings of the most intelligent mind that I’ve ever come across)  to the former-students-of-Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, because they carry forward That-which-I-define-as-Shambhala.

I’m a very recent voyager into this site, and I’ve just read three or four threads, with great delight.  I wasn’t aware that most of you existed or that you were talking to each other in this way, but in doing so, you’ve unwittingly assisted me a good deal and clarified the nebulous in quite a few places.

Through what you say, I understand a little of what I’d call your predicament. Quandary.  A liminal, edgy position – and in some of the dark matter (sic) of your exchanges, I hear the heart of Shambhala bleeding and feel resonance, concern and a good deal of curiosity.

The aim of this enquiry is to ask you to focus on a question – which is how the pure transmission of the Vidyadhara’s spiritual legacy will be carried forward.

I don’t know if that is a sufficiently precise way to say what I mean – probably because I’m describing something I’ve got no way to quantify – and I don’t have much of the language of such things (some of you could say it much better), but I hope you understand.

I heard from a houseboat family in Kashmir that the Imam of the mosque in Srinagar has a key which has been  handed down forever.  If the shit hits the fan for the planet – to the extent that the whole rigmarole is crashing without any other means of salvation – then he is to go up into the mountains and unlock the case that contains the Staff of Christ.

Why does this remind me of you?  I wonder if there is a parallel in value to the inheritance you hold?  Certainly I hear your sense of guardianship – and the word safeguard comes into my mind – as in protector practice.

I’ve loved listening to you, and your different textures of wisdom, and with great respect for the acuity of your minds and your willing disclosures (and sometimes mere vomitous projections, of course).  I hear in some of you a great sense of accountability, and I’m imagining you out there – in your various mostly American living environments or mountain huts – with the family jewels in the vault and an unclear sense of who they belong to.  Hot potatoes!

Now, all of this occurred as a result of your karma, of course, which could be a cause for confidence, please, since we all do very much need you to be confident.  You were born into this family, sometimes kicking and shrieking, but it has you by the nose, as in many ways it does me, and I have never been as close to it as you.

Looking at the State of the Union from many miles away, I find recently that I view the international construct that is currently identified as Shambhala quite separately in my mind from Chögyam Trungpa’s teachings and vision, or his Shambhala teachings and vision of enlightened society.  And this is of course, absurd.

Now I find a whole swag of you On the Outside, like some scene from Blade Runner, or maybe Watership Down.  Do you remember when the wild rabbits have this conversation with the farmed rabbits and the wild rabbits realise there is something very fishy about the situation with the farmed rabbits?

And all of this is fine for just so long, but no grinning Vidyadhara appears suddenly in the door with an expression that makes it obvious that all of this was a test of trust.  (Or does that spectre ever arise for you?  What do you feel if it does?  Try this one at cocktail parties.)

I don’t have a vested interested in seeing this.  It would be so much more convenient for so many people if the beacon of Shambhala did radiate a great big pulse of authentic presence at us all the time, calling . . . come . . .come . . .  across the miles like the Himalayas, or an absent lover.  I would sell all my furniture for plane fares – not a whisker of a doubt.

I greatly appreciate hearing what you are doing.  I am filled with excited anticipation by Suzanne Duarte’s discussion of DharmaGaia.  I’ve admired Bill Karelis’ blatantly loving heart, courage and determination to maintain an authentic position for some time – Bill’s work is slightly more easily tracked through reports than others.  I have also tracked the work / painful journeys of some better and lesser-known exiles such as Reggie Ray, Patrick Sweeny and Taggie, and there may be more exiles even within the walls.  One only has so much time to follow family affairs.  I also appreciate this is not a club, but with a heavily laden astrological twelfth house, I have often found that it is when we uncover that which has been supressed or exiled that we find the keys to the heavenly kingdom.

So I would like to ask you very sincerely – and as a very interested stakeholder – and even if you think you have already tried to answer this in your posts:

how is the authentic spiritual legacy of the Vidyadhara to be carried forward?

With love

Susanne (Susie) Vincent

Auckland, New Zealand

Susanne Vincent lives in Auckland, New Zealand and has been a student of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s teachings since about 1978 via the written word, and via Shambhala since 2000.  After many years as an organisational psychologist / consultant, she now works for the nonprofit and community sector.