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Staying in the Loop: the Story of Shambhala Journalism
October-November 1978

Sawang Osel Rangdrol Mukpo on the cover of the first issue of Vajradhatu Sun, October-November 1978.

communicationn. 1a the act of imparting, esp. news.  b an instance of this.  c the information etc. communicated.  2 a means of connecting different places, such as a door, passage, road, or railway.  3 social intercourse (it was difficult to maintain communication in the uproar).  4 (in pl.) the science and practice of transmitting information esp. by electronic or mechanical means.  5 (in pl.) Mil. The means of transport between a base and the front.  6a paper read to a learned society.” (The Concise Oxford Dictionary)

“communityn. (pl. -ies1a all the people living in a specific locality.  b a specific locality, including its inhabitants.  2 a body of people having a religion, a profession, etc., in common (the immigrant community).  3 fellowship of interests etc.; similarity (community of intellect).  4 a monastic, socialistic, etc. body practising common ownership.  5 joint ownership or liability (community of goods 6 (prec. by the) the public.  7 a body of nations unified by common interests.  8 Ecol. a group of animals or plants living or growing together in the same area.” (The Concise Oxford Dictionary)

Human beings communicate in many different ways: through spoken or written words, touch, exchanged glances, body language and gestures, the energy we transmit and receive, music, silence—the possibilities and subtleties might well be endless. Shambhala has always been a wonderful mix of all of these (and we might have a bit of an unofficial reputation for our propensity for touch), but almost right from the start, we relied on the written word to help us stay connected and informed.

The launch of Shambhala Times prompted its editors to ask about Shambhala’s communication history. Here is a top-line summary. If you are able to fill in any of the gaps—names and dates and any other noteworthy tidbits—please post a comment.

1970 to 1977

  • Regional newsletters like Karma Dzong, Dharmadhatu and Kalapa Bee
  • Garuda (five issues)
  • Primary Purpose: Offer teachings such as Trungpa Rinpoche’s Essay on the Secret Crescendo of HUM”, and “Four Foundations of Mindfulness”

1978 to 1991Vajradhatu Sun

Editorial goals:

  • “Publish teachings by the major Vajradhatu teachers, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and the Vajra Regent Osel Tendzin
  • Present community news of interest, replacing various regional newsletters
  • Present teachings by other Buddhist lineage holders and discuss issues of interest to the sangha
  • Encourage a sense of expansive vision and down-to-earth practicality, as exemplified in articles that range from the big vision of politics to the bottom line of community businesses” Best of Vajradhatu Sun, introduction” (The Best of Vajradhatu Sun)

1991Shambhala Sun replaced Vajradhatu Sun

Rather than serving as a community publication, Shambhala Sun targeted a larger audience with subscription and newsstand circulation, which was always Trungpa Rinpoche’s intent.

1994 to 2001Shambhala News

A sixteen-page black-and-white insert in Shambhala Sun with overprints sent to centers to provide high-level news, society pages, milestones, etc., to Shambhala community members

1996 to PresentShambhala News Service

  • An email service offering periodic messages from the Sakyong, Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche; the Sakyong Wangmo, Dechen Choying Sangmo; the president; and other leaders of Shambhala
  • Also offers news on major developments, programs, and events

2002 to 2009The Dot

  • A black-and-white tabloid newspaper published three or four times a year
  • Guiding Principles: Deliver news, announcements, and stories that bind, engage, inform, and inspire community members
  • Shambhala Day 2009Shambhala Times

  • Online Community News Magazine
  • Guiding Principle: Provide a community forum for news and views from all over the Shambhala mandala

Publications for Specific Audiences

Iron Wheel

  • Late 1970s to 2007
  • The journal of the Dorje Kasung

Kalapa Journal

  • Four editions from 1998 to 2002
  • For people around the world who had received Lodge Transmission

Ki Ki So So

  • Mid-to-late 1990s
  • Originally intended for Shambhala Training resident directors and broadened its audience to keep people informed about Shambhala Training programs and activities
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3 responses to “ Staying in the Loop: the Story of Shambhala Journalism ”
  1. These may be protected by fair use in US and fair dealing in Canada.

  2. The links to “Garuda”, “Shambhala News”, “Vajradhatu Sun”, and “The Dot” appear to be broken. Ditto “Iron Wheel” and “Kalapa Journal”

  3. I noticed the back issues of the Dot are now posted on this website. I have a nearly complete collection of Vajradhatu Suns which I would happily begin to scan for posting as PDFs, if copyright permissions would allow it. They a really are fascinating and it would be nice to make them more widely available.


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