Vajradhara Thangka in Boulder

January 27, 2010 by     Print This Post Print This Post

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


345 Responses to “Vajradhara Thangka in Boulder”

  1. John Tischer on November 28th, 2010 10:21 am

    There was no reason the vision of VCTR had to change…
    it worked fine in spite of the Regent, and it worked fine for 10 years before SMR’s “new direction” ….it worked fine without SMR doing anything.

    Now, the whole thing don’t work so good.,,,,tradition turned to fad.

  2. An Observer on November 28th, 2010 12:03 pm

    I’m sure it has nothing to do with pre-emptive religious politics, but the de-Kagyu-ification of Shambhala does seem to anticipate and mirror the ascendancy of the 17th Karmapa and coming of age of the Trungpa Tulku. Kagyu religious politics is a very messy and very hardball business. Steering clear of it and ‘blooming” Shambhala Buddhism” can be seen as a means to maintain a certain kind of independence going into the future. Marginalizing older students who never cease going on about how Trungpa Rinpoche would have done it would be a side effect, or benefit depending on how you feel.

  3. Damema on November 28th, 2010 12:14 pm

    I think the vision that is being altered was one in which the “ground” of VCTR’s teachings was the cosmic cervix of the coemergent mother, which accommodates samsara and nirvana both. The mother tantra, the jewel of the Kagyu, works with transmuting the world of desire into compassion. From this frame of space, palaces and kingdoms of emptiness can arise. When you cut out, edite out, the firey cervix of emptiness as an energetic principle and groundless ground, what do you have left? Kingdom of Rudra perhaps?
    Must these teachings and pith instructions, even commands, like “Lust for emptiness,” be slowly erased out because they are too inconvenient or uncomfortable or exposing to ego’s?

  4. John Tischer on November 28th, 2010 1:29 pm

    SMR’s “vision” is that of an ad exec. surrounded by
    yes men. He’s re-packaging Shambhala vision the same way a record company repackages to protect it’s assets.

    Reggie Ray re-packages vase breathing and calls it “meditation of the body” Keith Dowman re-packages
    Dzogchen and calls it “Radical Dzogchen”. In both cases, the teachings haven’t changed …there’s nothing new there…it’s just to attract students. Calling it Shambhala Buddhism
    doesn’t change what each path teaches…trying to put them together, however, has created a lot of confusion.

    Instead of Shambhala warriors, you have SMR, RR,
    and Adam Lobel….the Three Marketeers

  5. rita ashworth on November 28th, 2010 2:32 pm

    Dear All

    Yes I think SMR is going his way and that is that, however, I still think CTR’s older students who have left SI should have some say in the way the Vajradhara thangka is housed in the future because they were instrumental in creating the whole mandala.

    On the other side of the coin of leaving SI after practicing today I thought wow I am still connected to this rich Kagyu lineage and I dont have to follow any strictures from any orgs. now about relating to the whole thing so there is quite a lot of freedom in that aspect. And also I can relate to older and newer students who feel the same way about the dharma.

    So yes it is a ripe time not just for SI but for all of us as to how we are to proceed with the teachings both Buddhist and shambhalian in the widest sense in the future.

    Best Rita Ashworth

  6. Francis on November 28th, 2010 4:09 pm

    Actually John T. there is a big difference between Dzogchen and Radical Dzogchen. The former refers to a Dzogchen that is “compromised” by a lama overlay of vajrayana. This Dzogchen is taught usually in combination with Mahayoga and a graduated path relying on devotion.

    Radical Dzogchen, in contrast is a recognition in “direct experience” of natural awareness. It is an existential experience , And even if fleeting, or a flash, one has conviction that resting in natural awareness and stabilizing this IS the path . Some people understand this immediately and that is what they “practice” they have conviction ,after the “view is pointed out that to i.e. familiarization oneself with the spaciousness of “pure presence with nothing to modify and nothing to do will lead to “confidence” . It is not a graduated path. And one’s commitment and samaya is to the “inner guru”

    The “Dzogchen” that we are taught today, by most lamas, has passed through many permutations, and has been presented in the vehicle of the Vajrayana because that is the way the monastics teach it, primarily because most people’s response to hearing these teachings is one of awe, as something far away.They bask in the presence of the lama, and then need that “fix” over and over to experience natural awareness. They don’t believe that it is possible to rest in the nature of mind as the ONLY practice and they see realizing the nature of mind as something far away and in the future , after many lifetimes.

    But, if one wants. because of propensity, the Radical Dzogchen, one without the monastic, gradual path overlay , which is contradictory in itself to the view of radical Dzogchen, then one has to go “back to the roots” that’s what “radical” means in this context, back to Garab Dorje’s teachings, such as the Three Words that Strike the Vital Point, or the Flight of the Garuda, and find a teacher that is committed to not compromising Dzogchen teachings. .

  7. Karma Dorje on November 28th, 2010 4:58 pm

    Why do we see this thoroughgoing tendency towards fundamentalism amongst a certain type of Western Buddhist? Whether it is people who hearken back to some “pure Buddhism” before the Mahayana teachings were expounded or now a “radical Dzogchen” that claims to extract the Dzogchen teachings from tantra, how are we not picking and choosing Dharma based on what we ourselves believe rather than what the guru instructs?

    I profoundly disagree with your summation, Francis. In fact, amongst most Nyingma lamas you could say that they teach vajrayana from within the view of Dzogchen. The view is introduced early and often and other practices are introduced merely as enhancements or to overcome specific obstacles. Moreover, how is having more skillful means ever a bad thing? The greatest expositors of Dzogchen such as Longchenpa always taught the highest view from within the context of nine yanas. Not everyone can grasp the Dzogchen teachings immediately. Milarepa in a perfect example and I don’t think that you can question his realization.

    “Radical Dzogchen” should really just be called “Macho Dzogchen”. It is hard to see how such a view is not a denigration of the other yanas and a grave fault.

  8. John Tischer on November 28th, 2010 5:28 pm

    Yes, Francis, the p.o.v. of “Radical Dzogchen” is that Dzogchen has been compromised by the Tibetan institution, but that does not mean that it is “new” or that it hasn’t been taught in this form before. Milarepa tried Dzogchen but wasn’t a suitable student, so his Dzogchen master told him to go study Mahamudra with Marpa. Perhaps it would be more accurate to call it “Reformed Dzogchen”, but that doesn’t sound so good does it? In any case, the way it is taught by K.D. has elements of the gradual path included. There’s nothing new or different about it…..except in the name.

  9. Rob Graffis on November 28th, 2010 5:31 pm

    Well if his Holiness Dilgo Khyentse was a Dzogchen expert, why did he spend 12 years in retreat(s), and practice quite regularly to the end? Because he didn’t get it?
    Same goes for the late Tulku Urgyen.
    In fact, a sign traditionally to look for in a true Dzogchen master is if they practice daily.
    I’m sure there are exceptions, like anything else, but realizing “it’s all here, why bother”, is definitely missing the point, as it was mentioned,concerning Milarepa’s original understanding of Dzogchen..
    What does this have to do with the Vajradhara Tangka anyway?

  10. John Tischer on November 28th, 2010 6:16 pm

    Getting rid of the tangka is a small detail of the over all market strategy…to put it simply.

  11. James Elliott on November 29th, 2010 3:08 am

    First, Dzogchen may be surrounded by explanations and preparatory practices of all kinds, but when the transmission is happening, when the student grocks it, Dzogchen is aaaaaaaalways radical. John Tischer’s label ‘macho Dzogchen’ kind of sums it up well.

    Second, Mr. Perks frames the thanka and the issues of the divided community as if it were as simple and gentle as two paths, you can follow either one. If only it were so. The marginalization of so many of Trungpa Rinpoche’s students says something different. There have it seems been efforts in the last year or so to make some effort to relate to those students, but really the fabric of the community has been so dramatically meddled with, that one would have to be somewhat isolated from mainstream Shambhala Bhuddism not only to feel fine about focusing only on what Trungpa Rinpoche transmitted, but would I think find very little help or support in terms of a realized master giving direction and taming sentient beings so-to-speak.

    The fact that ideological stands have become something of a norm in Shambhala is not entirely the fault of membership neurosis, but rather of how on an institutional level one ideology, including all the cultural symbols and norms, teachings and rituals and the various forms of education and preparation, that built up to a great extent organically around what was going on in Vajradhatu for decades, have been intentionally usurped and replaced by central decree with something ‘new’.

    It isn’t about whether one is better than the other, my guru is better (or as good as) yours. It is quite simply that the culture which is really intrinsic to who people are, has been changed so radically by central decree that cohesive and intrinsic involvement with that culture has been disrupted. An organic development would have accommodated many more people and perhaps many of the changes that have occurred.

    So the thanka is like a big symbol of how the culture developed and worked on for decades has been swept away, in order to present not new teachings as such, but as an experimental attempt as SMR implies in his letter, to change the entire social structure. Can that be done in any context by central decree? I doubt it and so far it doesn’t look promising. A return to Tibetan theocracy?

  12. Dan Montgomery on November 29th, 2010 11:43 am

    Although I’ve withdrawn my name from any official Shambhala lists, I did get a personal form letter 🙂 from Ulrike Halpern, Boulder Center Director, about a series of practice sessions being held to mark the “transition” that is occurring. The shrine room is being closed for renovations. The thangka will be repaired by Ann Shaftel, sent to Halifax and stored. In my letter to the various people Clarke Warren originally suggested, I had recommended that they give the Thangka to someone within our lineage who actually wishes to continue the Kagyu tradition in the flavor of how VACT taught us – Reggie Ray. But obviously no one’s giving anything up here, just hiding it away. May it re-emerge as terma in some future time! Hopefully without disintegrating into mold in Nova Scotia.

    I include part of the letter Ms Halpern sent me below, just because I find the language interesting. The need to establish our “unique identity” is particularly intriguing. Federal trademark, anyone? The other message = petitioning is futile.

    “Earlier this year you wrote about your wish that the Vajradhara Thangka in the main shrine room in Boulder not be removed. ….
    We wanted to communicate with you individually to let you know that these concerns were shared with Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. He emphasized the importance of respecting this lineage treasure of Shambhala and asked that great care be taken in removing the Thangka (please see the below letter for details) and that there be a strong practice container around this transition.

    He feels strongly that as we evolve as a community, it is important that we have iconography that serves to clarify our unique identity and aid our path as practitioners of the Shambhala dharma…….”

    In any case, I did attend the practice session last Tuesday. The “staff” included an acharya, a shastri, two kasung, and an assistant. For all that, only 5 practitioners showed up, 3 of whom were not yet born when the thangka was put up. The session was blissfully unconditional, just sitting and walking, with only about 90 seconds of rap about changing times and SMR knows best. There’s another, last session, this evening at 7 – if you’re in Boulder, please consider witnessing this. That’s likely all that can be done at this point. Visualize the Guru of luminous space on your head and take it with you.

    Good luck, all!

  13. Rob Graffis on November 29th, 2010 5:13 pm

    I don’t doubt anyone’s feelings in a positive sense, but beyond gassing and moving the Tangka to Halifax, but the pragmatic question is, what are the future plans for him?
    If the Mona Lisa was to bve restored, I’m sure they would have future plans for her already (I know, I shouldn’t compare the two.

  14. Dan Montgomery on November 30th, 2010 1:33 am

    Rob et al,

    I ventured back into the Lion’s Den this evening, the final night to see the thangka. Bigger crowd tonight, maybe 12 people, all seemingly motivated by tremendous sadness about the situation. We sat, walked, did tonglen, and ended with a “council”. To her credit, Acharya Judith Simmer-Brown refrained from lecturing us, and asked us each to speak from our hearts. Most people couldn’t speak, teared up, and handed the talking stick on. A couple of us did speak. I said what I had to say, and realized, as I listened to the words cascading out of my mouth, how irrevocably DONE I am with this cultic retro-Tibetan new and improved Sakyongism passing itself off as dharma. The first thing I ever learned from the Vidyadhara was that negativity can be wisdom if we don’t edit ourselves, and I didn’t. I’m angry. And I know I have no power in this situation, so the best thing to do is withdraw and seek wisdom elsewhere. It’s been a fine ride. Goodbye.

    Rob, to answer your question, though, the Thangka, according to Judith, is to be given an honourable place in the Kalapa Centre in Halifax. Please bear in mind that the Kalapa Centre has been on the drawing board for at least 20 years, and does not, in fact, physically exist. So, Vajradhara will likely spend at least a few years in storage.

    The thing that troubled one of the younger people there, someone who had grown up in the community, was that, evidently, the shrine room is to be completely redone color-wise. She talked about how much she loved the deep orange of all the window frames, and how they were all going to be painted white. I found myself envisioning some insipid, unearthy, sexless, cold, pastel, neo-confucian chinese aesthetic, like the Rigden thangka, no longer the lusty, hot, red/orange/gold/black we’ve lived with and practiced in for so many years, punctuated with the deep sky blue of Vajradhara.

    Aesthetics matter. That’s another thing I learned from the Vidyadhara.

    Over and out.


  15. rita ashworth on November 30th, 2010 5:06 am

    Dear Dan,

    Thanks for that heartfelt report from Boulder.

    Yes I feel somewhat the same way about the removal of the Vajradhara thangka from Boulder even from such a distance as the UK, primarily because the whole change has not gone through a thorough consultative process and no accommodation has been made for people who want to practice in a different manner than is now taking shape.

    But more than this the whole thing about the actual Art itself which we use in Vajrayana practice. For me to actually root a vajrayana artistic tradition in all our various countries the Art has to connect with the people there and the introduction of the ‘new’ Art as in the shambhala lineage tree somewhat disturbs me because we are not relating to our own connections to religious/secular Art.

    I am particularly buoyed up in this viewpoint by the chapter on Introduction to Tantra in The Lions Roar where in the Q and As there is quite a detailed discussion of Art in relation to iconography. Here Trungpa states:

    “Personally I am more for nativising –for making American Tantra American Tantra rather than imported tantra, as the Tibetans made tantra into Tibetan tantra. I am all for it.”
    Page 157, Chapter 6,The Lions Roar, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche (Shambhala Publications)

    And also on the following page there is a discussion of Christ as King as imagery too. Reference is also made to actually changing the Tibetan seed syllables in to the Roman alphabet but he does state that that should be up for discussion by Lamas from several traditions in Japan, Tibet and Mongolia.

    Of course as to Protectors there is much discussion because western religious imagery has not been totally into that. But to me here I somewhat connect the practice of the shambhala teachings in revealing the protector principle because it is so connected to drala or environment. To
    tell you the truth I do indeed think the proctectors will arise in this way –this is why I am interested in all the new groups forming and their encounters with new environments in Nature and generally in the world.

    Well I hope this small digression on Art but also somewhat stemming from the discussion on the thangka will show that iconography is a huge area for debate at present in the west.

    If anyone wants to email me re ideas on Art Mark has my email address.

    Best from the UK

    Rita Ashworth

  16. Suzanne Duarte on November 30th, 2010 8:54 am

    Bravo, Dan Montgomery! I’m completely with you in what you express. Thank you very much for your on-the-scene-of-the-crime reporting.

    In the DHARMA, Suzanne

  17. Kelley Lynch on December 1st, 2010 7:34 am

    Thanks for your absolutely on-the-scene-crime-reporting, Dan. How shameless of the Sakyong. Is he this threatened by Karmapa and his father? Obviously. I wonder why Namkhaí Drimed hasn’t guided him more wisely. He’s his father-in-law and a student of Rinpoche’s. I suppose, if we don’t view this as an interior design scam, we could view it as the Sakyong behaving out of jealousy. I think his authentic presence will permanently wither and that is his problem. He should head on over to a psychiatrist – Freudian preferably.

  18. Anonymous on December 1st, 2010 11:33 am




    “When we were in Scotland at
    Samye Ling, we slept in the same room. Sometimes we
    ended up sleeping in the same bed. It was kind of tight.
    He was a very good father, I guess. He didn’t get mad at
    me too many times. Once I was playing with matches or
    something, and I started a fire in our room. One corner of
    the room was pretty badly damaged. I almost burned the
    place down, and he did get mad about that”

    Sakyong in an Interview with Maron Greenleaf about his memory of CTR, for the Dot Spring 2007

  19. Phyllis Murray on December 1st, 2010 4:33 pm

    Does anyone know if there are any plans for the three dimensional Chakrasamvara mandala made by Tenga Rinpoche?
    Will that continue to stay at the Boulder Shambhala Center?

  20. Suzanne Duarte on December 1st, 2010 9:16 pm

    News Flash!
    01 Dec 2010 – Vajradhara Thangka to reside in Great Stupa of Dharmakaya

    The Sakyong and the Druk Sakyong Wangmo, Lady Diana Mukpo, announced today that the Vajradhara Thangka, commissioned by the Vidyadhara Chogyam
    Trunpga Rinpoche, will be hung above the main entrance within The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya and preserved for use by vajrayana practitioners.

    In a letter to the Shambhala community, Lady Diana Mukpo describes the thangka as “an important and precious part of our history as a community” and says that both she and the Sakyong “wish that it be honoured and appropriately displayed.”

    In order to accommodate the large thangka of the Primordial Rigden which has been commissioned for the Boulder Shambhala Center, the shrine room there is being remodelled.

    “The Sakyong and I have worked hard to find a way for the Great Vajradhara thangka to remain in the shrine room,” says Lady Diana in her letter. “After exhausting all the possibilities, we decided that the best place for the thangka would now be in The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya. This felt to us to be the most appropriate place for such a sacred part of our lineage so closely connected with the Vidyadhara. I hope this will provide the right environment for those of you who wish to continue your practice with this thangka.”

    For the full text of Lady Diana’s letter, please

    Her letter also describes the significance of the Primordial Rigden thangka and the Shambhala Lineage thangka now being painted by master artist Noedup Rongae.

    “Throughout his life, starting in Tibet, the Vidyadhara worked tirelessly to manifest his vision of the Shambhala Lineage and the Kingdom of Shambhala on this earth in his lifetime,” she writes. “These two new thangkas represent a further fulfillment of his wishes. The Shambhala Lineage that he lovingly nurtured and propagated, is growing and becoming recognized as a force for goodness in the world around us. As we evolve as a community, it is important that we have iconography that serves to clarify our identity and represent to the rest of the world who we are and our path as practitioners.”

    (This announcement was from the Shambhala News Service)

  21. John Perks on December 2nd, 2010 8:04 am

    Thank you Suzanne,
    What great news “rejoice the great eastern sun arises”

  22. Dan Montgomery on December 2nd, 2010 10:44 am

    Sitting on my cushion, with the dawn spreading golden light across the land, clouds swirling around the high peaks, I can see way off to the sky above SMC. Imagining the blessings of this great thangka, at home there, fills me with happiness.

    Thank you Lady Diana for this decision.

  23. Anonymous on December 2nd, 2010 12:31 pm

    The Peasants Rejoice!!!.

  24. Mark Szpakowski on December 6th, 2010 10:17 am

    FYI, there is a short video of the installation of the Vajradhara thangka in the SMC stupa at

  25. Dan Montgomery on December 6th, 2010 5:58 pm

    One needs to be Greg’s “friend” in order to view this, actually. Mark, would you consider getting a copy and posting it?

    Considering that I was told less than a week ago that the thangka was going to a not-yet-built facility in Halifax, the speed with which this was executed, once the decision was made, is amazing!

    There’s hope for us yet.

    – Happy Peasant

  26. anonymous on December 6th, 2010 7:37 pm

    Whose “hope”? SI’s hope that the incredible level of “self-anesthesia” that has been necessary to cope with the destruction of a whole mandala will continue unabated?

  27. John Tischer on December 6th, 2010 8:41 pm

    Anon…….you may be right….but you don’t have to be afraid to tell us who you are….There would be more hope if you were more obvious, less afraid.

  28. Anonymous on December 6th, 2010 9:20 pm

    Dear John:
    You are very much mistaken if you still believe openness or honesty is tolerated in ANY part of this community, including here. It is just a matter of degree, in terms how far “in” this cult one still is.
    We have been abused, our spiritual journey hijacked by a bunch of money-hungry kleptomaniacs, who will bleed everyone left dry, and then walk away without a backward glance.
    Anonymous is what we are, nameless to those “true believers”, just a border tribe.
    The endless intellectualizing, and conceptualizing , and idiot compassion, (CTR’s negative negativity) when ACTION IMMEDIATELY was called for, has assured that we are all anonymous now.


  29. Rob Graffis on December 7th, 2010 1:24 am

    I was wasn’t t to re post this, but heck, I read this in the newspaper last year.
    The person in question, as far as I know, is still on the Board Of Directors Of The Shambhala Trust. He was last year.


    “Greenberg’s unsuitable recommendations and misrepresentations deceived his advisory clients into believing their money was safe with him.”

    Donald M. Hoerl
    Director, SEC Denver Regional Office

  30. Rob Graffis on December 7th, 2010 1:26 am

    PS I did get off the topic here, and violated to the one post a day rule, but I did want to respond to autonomous.
    More on this later.

  31. John Tischer on December 7th, 2010 12:51 pm

    Dear Anon,

    Since you feel the way you do, why do you care what they think of you?

  32. bindutheclown on December 7th, 2010 12:56 pm

    The secret was secret not because it was somehow sleazy or shameful.

    The secret was a secret because it could be taken the wrong way.

    But now the secret is out, it may attract the lunatic fringe who have taken no pre-requisites.

    The symbol is now the institution.

    In the eyes of Joe Schmidt, KOS is a laughing stock.

    Who’ll be magnetised to a sect ruled by His-and-Her Majesties?

    What next, mass arranged weddings and past-life regressions?

  33. Mark Szpakowski on December 7th, 2010 1:14 pm

    Greg Smith’s video of the Great Vajradhara thangka being installed in the Stupa is at .

  34. Dan Montgomery on December 7th, 2010 7:00 pm

    To paraphrase Lyndon Johnson, “If we’ve lost Joe Schmidt, we’ve lost the War!”

    Is Joe still with Jane Doe, by the way? Haven’t seen them in years….

    And, by the way, by “we”, I don’t mean “me”, I mean them, if you know what I mean.

  35. John Tischer on December 7th, 2010 7:37 pm

    Well….might as well post it here as any where else…

    And I don’t want to add anything to it. You have minds. make them up.

  36. John Tischer on December 7th, 2010 7:51 pm

    We have seen the future, and it is us, to misquote Pogo

  37. Gordon on December 7th, 2010 7:56 pm

    “John Tischer
    Well….might as well post it here as any where else…
    And I don’t want to add anything to it. You have minds. make them up.

    Well it’s nice to see that we’re getting back to our posting-Hitler-Videos-on-the-internet roots.

  38. John Tischer on December 7th, 2010 9:11 pm

    Oh, come on…
    Or do you think we’re all children??

  39. Lodzin on December 13th, 2010 6:35 pm

    From the perspective of a Shambhala youngster (only been practicing for five years), you people are insane. In a philisophical community that practices non-attachment you’ve managed to create a schism over a picture. Granted, it’s a beautiful painting with a rich and incredible history, but it’s still just a picture. The message stays the same, Vajradhara or Rigden presiding over it. If you don’t like the direction that SMR has taken, you have plenty of other options for practice communities.

  40. Karma Dorje on December 13th, 2010 7:07 pm

    From the perspective of an outsider watching who has been practicing for 25 years, you are insensitive. Many of the people here are the ones that have built the infrastructure you are now taking advantage of with their blood, sweat, tears and money. A ‘Shambala- Love it or Leave It’ approach may make you feel righteous, but it is not compassionate.

    This has never been about just a picture. This is about a legacy and a lineage of teaching. If you can’t understand the valid concerns of those that are writing here, why don’t you at least keep your mouth shut and feel some gratitude for what they have built for you.

  41. John Tischer on December 13th, 2010 7:41 pm


    Everybody talk!

    do you wanna wrestle?

  42. Tara on December 13th, 2010 11:39 pm

    Your youthful ignorance is showing. The practice of non-attachment does not preclude discriminating awareness. To follow your logic, one could be so detached that they would have no judgement about right or wrong action.

    Don’t fall into the trap of being a junkie to transcendence. That’s not what AWAKE is all about.

    Cults tell dissenting members to leave if they don’t agree with the party line. We’re trying for a dialogue here, not knee jerk superiority. It’s really rude to call your elders insane. You are talking to people with a 35-40 years history in the community. For us, it’s not just a picture. It’s a symbol, with layers of innner , outer and secret meaning.

  43. James Elliott on December 14th, 2010 2:34 am


    With the establishment and enormous expense of building the Stupa, we can see some things within the tradition are of value and worth great effort to preserve. The reasons for that go far beyond ego’s schemes. And of course some things are best let go of. In Buddhadharma, in any case, when speaking of letting go the basest level of material objects is virtually never what they are talking about. That’s a new age version of anti-materialism which Trungpa Rinpoche spent considerable effort and time speaking about.

    In general if all vestiges of a previous generation are replaced, there can be no lineage and the development of culture becomes retarded, caught up in reinventing the wheel often in worse shape than it was before. Symbols, very much in Buddhism but also in secular vernacular culture, is very much an integral part of lineage and culture. Wipe those away and one can effectively lobotomized culture. For large scale examples look at the cultural revolutions in China or Russia. For gentler versions the New Age or hippie movement.

    Lodzin, what exactly is it you are letting go of?
    What is it you value?

    Ladies and gentlemen, it is not only newer students who hold such views.

    A classic example of the ‘new’ community spirit. And a demonstration of exactly why people are concerned about some of the directions Shambhala International has taken.

    In the inspiration that loyalty cannot be measured by degree of agreement.

  44. anonymous on December 14th, 2010 4:13 pm

    Bindu The Clown wrote:

    “Who’ll be magnetised to a sect ruled by His-and-Her Majesties?”

    Well here’s the answer:
    (Newser) – Even Prince Charles got a taste of how angry British students are over a big hike in university fees. Protesters smashed a window of the prince’s Rolls Royce and splashed paint on the car as he and Camilla were being driven through London. The prince’s office confirms, in style: “Their royal highnesses’ car was attacked by protesters on the way to their engagement at the London Palladium this evening, but their royal highnesses are unharmed.” They arrived at the theater looking unruffled.

  45. John Perks on September 21st, 2011 10:46 am

    ” Who does the grail serve”
    ” the king and the land they are one”