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May 10
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What Happened to Shambhala’s Highest Priorities after Shambhala Congress in Cologne?
President Richard Reoch, and then-Shambhala Europe Director Chris Tamjidi, at Congress 2007.

President Richard Reoch, and then-Shambhala Europe Director Chris Tamdjidi, at Congress 2007.

By President Richard Reoch

The Third Shambhala Congress was held at the Kalapa Centre (Europe) in Cologne, Germany, in May 2007. Out of the many issues discussed, six top priorities emerged. These were identified by the Mandala Council (on which every Shambhala Centre has a seat) immediately after the Congress.

At the Eastern Hemisphere Meeting of the Mandala Council taking place in Cologne on May 7 – 10, President Richard Reoch reported on these top priorities and what has happened to them. Read a report on the Shambhala Governance Training and Mandala Council meetings.

PRIORITY ONE: Stabilize the finances of the mandala while also propagating the Shambhala teachings related to money and wealth.

Thanks to a mandala-wide drive, spearheaded by a matching grant from The Sakyong Foundation and supported by Shambhala members worldwide, the centre of the mandala is now free of operating debt. We were also greatly helped by an extremely generous bequest to Shambhala. At the time of the Shambhala Congress in 2007, we were being crushed by over half a million dollars of accumulated debt. All that debt has been paid off. This was a huge step forward.  All donations to the centre of the mandala can now be used for creative and constructive purposes.

In addition, the Sakyong’s Council adopted a new set of Shambhala Principles for Financial Sustainability which are now being introduced to guide the mandala’s financial management at all levels.

Participants at Shambhala Congress, May 2007, Koln, Germany.

Participants at Shambhala Congress, May 2007, Koln, Germany.

The Sakyong’s Council also established the Dana Group of fund-raising experts and created the position of Development Coordinator for Shambhala, to which Lodro Rinzler was appointed. A great deal of work has been done by that group, working with several acharyas, to develop presentations of the Shambhala teachings on money and wealth.

During 2008, a second matching-grant campaign benefited virtually all Shambhala Centres throughout the mandala with an estimated increase of half a million new dollars flowing in to local centres.

PRIORITY TWO: Distribute teachings and practices on governance as path

Following the Congress, the Governance as Path Working Group was established, chaired by Amy Conway. It has identified a number of priorities in this area, including focus on wider presentation and understanding of The Six Ways of Ruling. The working group has planned several Shambhala Governance Academies. One was held at the time of the Western Hemisphere Mandala Council meeting at Karmê Chöling in November. One is taking place this weekend in Cologne. Another is planned for Berkeley, California, in June.

The aim is to create a path of training and mentorship for leaders using both in-person and online programs. Though focused on the Six Ways of Ruling initially, the group aspires to provide a path that would also offer management  training and leadership training always using the Shambhala teachings as the basis for all we do. The working group has also collected resources that have already been used in governance trainings throughout our mandala so these can be more widely shared.

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche with Richard Reoch, prior to addressing Congress 2007.

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche with Richard Reoch, prior to addressing Congress 2007.

PRIORITY THREE: Increase staff in the Practice and Education office in Halifax.

The Shambhala Office of Practice and Education has been generously supported by the Shambhala Trust which is providing support for work on the roll-out of the new curriculum being developed under the direct guidance of the Sakyong. An additional half-time post has been added to the office to support the work of this intensely overworked team.

PRIORITY FOUR: Develop regional structures throughout the mandala.

There has been significant progress in developing a regional perspective and new structure for Northern California. The Warrior General has been in discussion with both the Sakyong and President in response to a long-standing invitation to create a Council of the United Atlantic Kingdom. A regional assembly in the North West Pacific in November 2008 expressed the aspiration to develop a regional model.

The Sakyong's blessing of Rosa Sophie Tamdjidi

The Sakyong's blessing of Rosa Sophie Tamdjidi

PRIORITY FIVE: Create and implement a mentorship program to support centres and groups

Given the extensive European experience with mentorship, the former director of Shambhala Europe, Chris Tamdjidi, contributed to discussions in the Governance as Path Working Group on how to develop this mandala-wide. The Working Group is now taking this forward, with a plan to support Centre Directors who have recently taken up their posts.

PRIORITY SIX: Endorse and commit to Sustainable Shambhala as a core initiative to address global climate change

The Touching the Earth Working Group, chaired by Jessyca Goldstein, has been formally integrated into the Sakyong’s Council. It has worked with the Sakyong to lay the ground for his recent statement “Protecting the earth: A call to contemplation and action on climate change.”

The working group also issued the 2009 Shambhala Green Commitment. It has invited all Shambhala Centres to make five commitments to improve their environmental performance over the next year. All activities will be posted on the Touching the Earth web page so centres around the world can learn from what others are doing. On Earth Day 2010 the group will post an update from all participating centres about their success at fulfilling their 2009 Shambhala Green Commitment.

The working group has liaisons people in 32 city and land centres around the world.  They will act as point people for a sustainable centre transition program and future activities like the continuing Green Commitment initiative.

Interior of the Kalapa Centre Europe, in Koln, Germany.

Interior of the Kalapa Centre Europe, in Koln, Germany.

ANOTHER HIGH PRIORITY: “Create a seat on the Sakyong’s Council to represent the third jewel and community care with a working group to develop and make known a “chain of help”.

The Sakyong’s Council has now created a Community Care Council, chaired by Mary Whetsell. It is an umbrella grouping bringing together leadership from working groups on issues such as aging, accessibility, families and children, and diversity. Debbie Coats, the Commander of the Desung Corps has been closely involved in this initiative.

A major step, in starting to move this forward, was the preparation and distribution (in four languages) of the Shambhala Community Survey, which was announced on Shambhala Day 2008 and was sent (using the Shambhala database) to one out of every four Shambhalians worldwide. The results of this survey are now being published on Shambhala Times, the new community news magazine.

NEXT SHAMBHALA CONGRESS: After the last Congress, The Mandala Council decided that this is more than enough to be getting on with over the next two years and that therefore the next Congress should be in 2009. That will be in November this year in Halifax. Stay tuned for a Save the Date announcement very soon!

All photos by Spigolo from Shambhala Congress 2007. Click here to view more.

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