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Apr 06
Mandala Projects, Mountain States
Understanding Shambhala Mountain Center
The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya Which Liberates Upon Seeing in moonlight by Marc O’Donoghue

The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya Which Liberates Upon Seeing in moonlight, photo by Marc O’Donoghue

By Jon Barbieri, Executive Director

So much has been said and speculated about what is happening here at Shambhala Mountain Center that I thought it would be helpful to communicate what we are doing, what our vision is, what practical challenges we face, and how important it is that we succeed.

We have evolved to having two major facets to our mission: one we are familiar with is the deepening of practice and study for one’s spiritual journey, as we all know this land as an incredible environment for the energy of drala and the powerful atmosphere created by the presence of so many lineage holders teaching here. The second facet of our mission, which is just beginning to open up, also has a lot to do with the vision of the Sakyong – how can we build bridges to other communities, share riches, and begin to examine issues that we all face as a human society.

Our programming is beginning to reflect this, more and more. We offer practice intensives for Shambhala community members, but are also opening our doors to other traditions, including Native American, Sufi, Christian, and Jewish. In 2006, the Dalai Lama visited to receive the Living Peace Award from the Sakyong, in a gathering that included Queen Noor of Jordan and Rabbi Irwin Kula. This event was an auspicious launching to the role that the Sakyong aspires of the entire Shambhala community, as well as Shambhala Mountain Center, can play in fostering peace in local, regional, or international areas of dispute. We are also developing programs around leadership in the business community, intended to address the mistaken view of greed and focus on principles of openness, intelligence, and compassion.

Flloor of the Great Stupa, photo by Charlene Leung

Floor of the Great Stupa, photo by Charlene Leung

On the physical front, you may have fond memories of RMDC from the ‘70’s and 80’s, or the Summer Camp which emerged after the 1986 Seminary, and we have now evolved into having three splendid buildings: Sacred Studies, and the Shambhala and Rigden Lodges. In order to fulfill the two aspects of our mission, and be a place where people from all kinds of backgrounds and experience can come, we need to work on our infrastructure – such as utilities, technology and communications – and add additional basic buildings, such as a dining room and staff housing. It is the aspiration of the Sakyong that, at some point in the future, Shambhala Mountain Center has the potential to be a Center for Peace, where leaders can come to receive training in mindfulness, the cultivating of compassion, and further learn how to withstand the aggression that they are dealing with.

The heart of everything that we do embodies the lineage of Sakyongs that includes our Buddhist path and Shambhala practices and aspiration to create enlightened society.

Floor of the Great Stupa, photo by Charlene Leung

Floor of the Great Stupa, photo by Charlene Leung

On the financial side, we face many challenges, not unlike other institutions similar to us at this time. Operationally, our revenues cover 72-90% of our expenses; our goal is in three years, minimum, to achieve a stable 90% of operating expenses and, eventually, to meet those expenses. We also service debt and must raise money to improve and expand our infrastructure needs. We can neither reach too far, nor can we stay still.

We wish to have ongoing communication and dialogue with the community both through articles such as this, presentations in various centers and exchanges about views, needs, and expectations. This is an extraordinary time, and I think it’s safe to say a pivotal time, for Shambhala Mountain Center. If you have any questions, suggestions, offers of assistance, please contact me.

Please leave comments below and, if you would like to contact Jon Barbieri directly, please click here.

Visit the Shambhala Mountain Center website by clicking here.

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