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May 10
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Shambhala Governance Training and Mandala Council
Thursday evening's opening events, 7 May 2009. Photo by Spigolo.

Thursday evening's opening ceremony, 7 May 2009, Koln, Germany.

This weekend, in Koln, Germany, from Thursday through Sunday, 7-10 May, the Kalapa Centre Europe hosts a major gathering of the Mandala Council, one of the main governing bodies of the Mandala, in combination with the annual Shambhala Europe Governance Training. This is the “Eastern Hemisphere” meeting of the Council. The “Western Hemisphere” meeting recently took place at Karme Choling and was attended by several European representatives.

The Mandala Council consists of the Directors of all Shambhala Centres, plus the representatives of other major entities in the mandala. It also includes the members of the Sakyong’s Council. It is chaired by the President, assisted by four Vice-chairs, appointed by the President.

Governance Training participants prepare to contemplate

Governance Training participants prepare to contemplate

The Mandala Council meets in-between meetings of the Shambhala Congress and creates a more continuous network of representatives of the various entities in the mandala. The link with the Congress is achieved by having the members of the Mandala Council present and participating in the Congress itself.

Click here for more information in English, German and Spanish.

The Governance Training and Mandala Council meeting kicked off on Thursday evening with an opening talk about governance and appreciation from President Richard Reoch and outgoing Shambhala Europe Director Chris Tamdjidi.

Click here Listen to Chris Tamjidi’s opening talk.

There are approximately 30 participants of the Governance Training, and the programme will swell to about 40 for the Mandala Council portion of the gathering, which will begin on Saturday morning.

Chris Tamdjidi giving one of the lifeboat groups their instructions.

Chris Tamdjidi provides instructions to one of the lifeboat groups.

Friday, May 8 update from Anna Weinstein:

We did a leadership exercise this afternoon, as part of the Governance Training section of the gathering. Participants were instructed to divide into three groups of nine people, each of which represented a group of shipwrecked people trapped aboard a sinking lifeboat. The setup was that the lifeboat could only stay afloat with eight persons; each lifeboat had one life preserver but no rope. The objective was to decide how to keep the lifeboat from sinking while keeping as many people alive throughout the “night” as possible, but each group was given different requirements for the process of how to make this decision.

Participants discuss finances (smiling!) – their countries of origin include Netherlands, Switzerland, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, and Sweden.

Participants discuss finances (smiling!) – their countries of origin include Netherlands, Switzerland, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, and Sweden.

A very entertaining day! We also had a talk and an appreciative inquiry exercise about lha, nyen, and lu, and a wonderful talk this evening from President Reoch and Mr. Tamdjidi about richness and mandala principle. We’ll begin the Mandala Council meeting tomorrow morning!

Sunday, May 10 update from Anna Weinstein:

Yesterday was a full day of Mandala Council meeting, including presentations about the structure of mandala governance, the financial status of Shambhala International and Shambhala Europe, translation, and topic group discussions ranging from how to support small groups to how to improve communication on a centre- and mandala-wide level.

A flow chart from one of the topic groups

A flow chart from one of the topic groups

At the close of the meeting in the afternoon, the local Cologne Dorje Kasung squad hosted all of the participants for a celebratory mess, followed by an even more celebratory banquet. The banquet was also the good-bye event for several outgoing Shambhala Europe staff members: Anna Weinstein (Centre Services), Willem Kuijpers (Finance Director), Ed Keizer (so many various jobs it’s impossible to include them all, but this particular thank-you was for his work as Comptroller for Shambhala Europe), and most poignantly the Shambhala Europe Director of the past seven years, Chris Tamdjidi. Money was collected by the entire European sangha to offer as a thank-you gift to Chris and his wife Saskia, in appreciation of their loyal devotion and service to the entire mandala over the past seven years. Chris was also presented with a crystal mala, studded with 22-carat gold counter beads and main bead embossed with the Tibetan syllables KI and SO, hand-made by sangha member and Dechen Chöling resident Ute Reinhart. (Ute’s beautiful website is www.schmuckschmiede.info.)

The hand-made mala for Chris Tamdjidi

The hand-made mala for Chris Tamdjidi

Today [Sunday] we heard reports from the discussions of the topic groups, followed by a question-and-answer session with the President and the Shambhala Europe Council (which functions for the European mandala more or less as the Sakyong’s Council functions for the entire worldwide mandala). President Reoch closed be describing how the discussions of this meeting will be fed up to the Sakyong’s Council and out throughout the mandala. Participants described having a new (for some, brand-new) understanding of what the Mandala Council actually is and does, and although people are tired from intense work, everyone is going back to their respective groups feeling very inspired and contemplating how to communicate this work to their local sanghas.

Watch video of Eastern Hemisphere Mandala Council Meeting:

Download MP3s of talks from the meeting at: ftp://shambhala-europe.org/s/shambhala-europe.org/

Readers will also be interested in a report from President Reoch on “What Happened to Shambhala’s Highest Priorities after Shambhala Congress in Cologne?”

Our gratitude to Anna Weinstein and Spigolo for their assistance in covering this weekend’s events. All photos by Anna Weinstein.

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3 responses to “ Shambhala Governance Training and Mandala Council ”
  1. the link to Ute’s website is not working from here.

  2. I don’t have any problem. But if others are having problems, please let our technical support know about it. [email protected]

  3. i don’t hear the MP3 file . is that only me ?

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