Dharma in Europe

October 23, 2009

Report by Bill Karelis   – Propagating the Dharma in Europe, September – October 2009

I am grateful to the Radio Free Shambhala website for publishing this introduction to the photo essay which is to be found on the Shambhala Times site.  The photo essay includes a few remarks on the various cultures in Europe I have savored.

By way of summary, I have toured Europe for Dharma purposes about thirty times in the last fifteen years, including for 4 ½ weeks this September – October, 2009.   This time, I visited the United Kingdom , the Netherlands , Germany , Poland , the Czech Republic, Lithuania and Romania , offering a total of sixteen public talks or intensive programs in twelve locations.   I am happy to report that the Dharma practice of some of the people I have met over the years is taking root, and small groups are forming, based on the teachings of the Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and his predecessors.

Romanian Sangha at Complete Teachings of Mahayana program

I have been asked my intentions for this work by many senior students.   I feel I am, in the words of the Vidyadhara, “just propagating the Dharma”–as I have been doing more or less without cease since 1994.    There is no change in direction on my side at all, although there is a change in sponsorship and venue.   My feeling is that the teachings of the Vidyadhara are for all humankind, and that they could and should be disseminated much more widely.    I do not feel that I am doing something special, nor that I am special by doing this.

It is traditional to propagate in the world at a certain point in one’s Dharma trajectory.   I have been informing my teachers of my direction, and so far there is no objection.   In fact, I have received encouragement to continue on.   I see no contradiction to the Dharma work of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and Shambhala International.   It is just more Dharma.   I am in no sense leaving the Vajradhatu sangha, or the Shambhala community–in fact, it is turning out to be quite the opposite.    There is directness and honesty now which has been liberating to some communications, and the heartfelt bond remains as before.

In my travels, I have encountered a great number of the Vidyadhara’s senior students, who feel shy for some reason to contribute their Dharma understanding and practice experience to others.  In the spirit of inclusivity, I would like to invite anyone interested to advise me, discuss with me, and possibly join with me in this work, according to their own inspiration and training.   The invitation also includes newer students.   Feel free to write to bkarelis@yahoo.com.

Heart in Palm

October 9, 2009

You can now listen to the September 9, 2009 Halifax Community Gathering with Adam Lobel: the MP3 (right-click to download (on Mac, control-click)) is available on the Halifax Shambhala Centre’s web site [mirrored here]. Shambhala Buddhist Acharya Lobel starts off with a talk on Time and Timelessness, but the vivid discussion by the participants soon cuts to the chase of raw essence, what’s been missing, what is manifesting right there.

This is a two-hour tape. It’s worth listening to the whole thing, but if you’re really pressed for time, start at the one-hour mark, with some eloquent and incisive remarks by Lodro Dorje on how Trungpa Rinpoche’s approach was to create a rich practice container which invited further teachings from the great Kagyü and Nyingma lineage masters.

The highlight though, comes later: Lynn Friedman – trembling but courageous, gentle and articulate. As one text says:

The heart placed fresh in the palm, nothing else.

This is what we miss, but – surprise! – this is what we are.

Madeline Schreiber adds outrageousness and humor, exclaiming about the Rigden Thangka, “it’s bad art!”

There’s a lot more. Adam confirms again that the cornerstone and signature of the Sakyong’s approach is what is being termed “the Shambhala Terma”. A couple of people bring up conflict, skirmish, as itself a vehicle.

At the end, recently-appointed Halifax Shambhala Centre director Yeshe Fuchs expresses dismay at how people are whining.

Listen for yourself. Listen to the voices. Listen to yourself.

Energy fools the magician. – Brian Eno