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Jun 19
Community Articles
Summer 2010: Community Development

Culture and Decorum
The Shambhala Office of Culture and Decorum was established after the proclamation of the Edict of the Sakyong Wangmo, The Garland that Binds the Kingdom, at her empowerment. The Sakyong Wangmo, Khandro Tseyang, is the Patroness.

Wendy Friedman, the Director, is working with a leadership group comprised of Noel McLellan, the Kusung Dapon; Basia Solarz, the Secretary to Khandro Tseyang; Angela Pressburger, the Education Officer; and Marguerite Drescher, Associate Member

Part of the mandate is to appoint Office of Culture and Decorum representatives in Shambhala Centres, and to provide support, context and training for them. A small network of people in key centres has now been established. The office has decided to work with a small group of representatives for the first year or so to determine what is actually needed and helpful in centres, and find effective ways to communicate, before expanding to a network of representatives in every centre.

The Office of Culture and Decorum is also involved with several mandala-wide projects. This includes supporting the development of the Shambhala Households initiative by providing information to centres and individuals and preparing articles.

The Office is preparing Shambhala Decorum Manuals. Eventually there will be three levels of manuals. The first, An Introduction to Shambhala Culture, will be published by Shambhala Media in the autumn 2010, pending approval by the Kalapa Council. The Shambhala Trust has kindly given funding which will greatly help with the cash flow for this publication. The intention is that this small book will be offered to new members when they officially join Shambhala and begin to pay dues. In addition, initial work has begun on compiling and harmonizing iconography and symbols, and planning for online decorum demonstrations and mini-talks

The Office is also involved with the Kalapa Court Council, a small group to oversee the tone, structure and continuity of Kalapa Courts, and the Sakyong’s Advisory Panel on Sacred Environments, providing guidelines and support to Shambhala Centres regarding design, décor and iconography.

The Office also acts advises the Kalapa Capital Centre project on planning, design and fundraising projects. It co-sponsored a successful gathering of Kalapa Shambhala Society members in Halifax in March.

A Culture of Kindness

“The success of our community, and its future, is going to depend heavily on the visible and ‘feelable’ kindness in our mandala,” said the Sakyong at the concluding session of the Fourth Shambhala Congress. “We can be doing a lot of things right when it comes to programs, but if there is not a feeling of kindness, nothing is really going to stick. As a community based on basic goodness, if somehow we do not exude kindness to other beings, all the posters will be in vain.”

Following the Congress, the Sakyong’s Council formally decided that the key strategic objective for the immediate period, in line with the Sakyong’s wishes and the aspirations expressed by the Congress, would be to “deepen community and manifest a culture of kindness”.

In line with this, the Sakyong’s Council has placed increased emphasis on the issues being addressed by the international working groups established following the Shambhala congresses and has have agreed to create further groups to take up other topics, including a new working group titled “Building Shambhala Community”.

The work is being guided by these words of the Sakyong, expressed during the same week of events in Halifax in November last year:

Based on our conduct as a community, we will either fail or succeed… I know many of us want our community to grow, to be more prominent and to help, but fame and well-being will not occur if we, as a community, do not embody or manifest our principles.

I am happy that we are still here, and I think that generally speaking there is much more heartfelt-ness, love, and kindness in our community.

There is polite kindness and then there is profound kindness. We realize now that in order to change the world, our community needs a profound sense of kindness. That kindness obviously comes from our being somewhat happy with ourselves, but we have to express it and apply it.

The challenges that are going to come in the future will be more and more forceful and strong. Our fabric as a community will really depend upon how we are able to manifest in this next period of time.

If the field of our mind is not ploughed with kindness and self-respect and love for others, then the seeds of realization have no place to grow.

Community Newsletter

A new quarterly online newsletter, Exploring Community, has just been launched by the Community Care Council (described below). It includes: Lisa Havelin writing about Befriending Self and Other in Minneapolis, Cameron Wenaus describing the upcoming Shambhala Network project, Wendy Friedman discussing nyida days and offering suggestions for the Midsummer’s Day festival at Shambhala Centres, and a “desung’s corner,” as well as links to articles and information regarding various aspects of exploring community. To see this first edition, please click here

Community Care Council
Within the Sakyong’s Council is a subset of the whole, known as the Community Care Council. This is led by Mary Whetsell, vice-chair of the Sakyong’s Council, it consists of the chairs of the following groups:

The Accessibility Working Group, chaired by Hamish Maclaren

The Children and Families Working Group, chaired by Susan Williams

The Desung Arm of the Dorje Kasung, represented by Commander Debbie Coats

The Diversity Working Group, chaired by Charlene Leung

The Governance as Path Working Group, chaired by Amy Conway

The International Panel on Shambhala Care and Conduct, represented by Irene Vliegenthart

The Mandala Structure and Governance Working Group, chaired by Joe Inskeep

The Shambhala Commission on the Status of Women and Feminine Principle, chaired by Sangyum Agness Au

The Touching the Earth Working Group, chaired by Jessyca Goldstein

The Working Group on Aging, chaired by David Whitehorn

From: The Kalapa Council

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