Dorje Kasung: Transforming Aggression into Gentleness
Rusung Brian McCorckle
Perhaps you’ve had the experience of being at a program and seen official-looking people in blue blazers with pins, white shirts, khaki or grey slacks or skirts standing off to the side, or escorting the teacher. Maybe you’re seen them driving teachers, or standing outside the door of the Teachers’ Suite. Sometimes they’re wearing navy suits. Even more startlingly, at retreat centers like Karme Choling they might even be wearing khaki military uniforms. Yikes! Who Are These People?
The Dorje Kasung are the Third Pillar of Shambhala society, the Pillar of Protection (the first two pillars are the Government, and Practice and Education). Just as the physical body needs an immune system to survive, any healthy society needs protection to survive: police, fire departments, the public health system, conflict mediators, emergency response teams, all are essential for civil society. Recognizing the importance of these aspects of healthy societies, the Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche created the Dorje Kasung so that we could together explore how to provide protection in an enlightened way, free of the aggression typically associated with military forms.
The Tibetan word “Ka” can be translated as “sacred word”, and “sung” means protector. “Dorje” (or “vajra” in Sanskrit) means “indestructible”. The Dorje Kasung were created as the protectors of the teachings, the teachers, and the community. At the outer and most visible level is physical protection: of the teachers, the students, and the physical property. This includes driving teachers, attending to physical concerns such as fire safety and air quality/temperature, allowing teachers enough space that they can eat and sleep and prepare their talks properly, and creating a container free of disruption so that the teachers can freely teach and the students can relax and open up to being touched by the teachings. At an inner level, the protection is of the health and well-being of the community, especially in situations in which some community members infringe on the well-being of others. The secret level is protection of the teachings from denigration by teachers or students.
You may have noticed renovations in the back office of the Boston Shambhala Center. The black desk with green-painted walls is “KHQ” or Kasung Headquarters”. As the seat of the Kasung in Boston, over the desk is a small shrine where Kasung offer incense to the lineage before starting any shift. In KHQ you will notice some provocative photos of the Vidyadhara and the current Sakyong in full military uniforms. As the leaders of the Dorje Kasung, they teach the Kasung how to use military principles in ways that transform aggression into gentleness and compassionate activity. Of course there is a path quality to being a Kasung, and it takes years to learn to do this well. So, on behalf of Kasung everywhere, we apologize for those times when our own speediness tempts us to act from our habitual patterns that cause pain to others.
If you are interested in finding out more about what we do, or are interested in joining you are welcome to talk to any squad member. We are always delighted to welcome new Kasung to the squad! However, when you see us in uniform (blue blazers with pins, white shirts, khaki pants in summer) that means we’re on the job, so that’s not the best time to chat (except complaints are always welcome). You can also contact Rusung (squad leader) Brian McCorkle by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (781-248-6661).
From: Wake up Boston!