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Summer 2010: The Dorje Kasung

The Council of the Makkyi Rabjam
The current Council of the Makkyi Rabjam (the leadership Council of the Dorje Kasung) consists of the following members:
The Makkyi Rabjam, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche
Makpön Jesse Grimes, Dorje Kasung Commander and Chair of the Council of the Makkyi Rabjam
Kasung Acharya Mitchell Levy
Kusung Dapön Noel McLellan
Gesar Arm Commander, Bonnie Hankin, Rupön
Desung Arm Commander, Debbie Coats, Rupön
Strategic Planning Officer, Dapön E Don Winchell

The tradition of dharma protectors
The Dorje Kasung are members of the Shambhala community devoted to extending their meditation practice to benefit others. The Dorje Kasung is modeled on the ancient tradition of dharma protectors. Since it’s founding over 30 years ago, Dorje Kasungship has been carefully developed as a path of meditation-in-action. Dorje Kasung are trained in creating a container for practitioners so that they may hear and practice the teachings.

Dorje Kasung is a Tibetan term meaning indestructible (‘Dorje’) command (‘Ka’) protector (‘sung’). Indestructible refers to the indestructibility of space—complete openness—that cannot be destroyed or defeated. The Ka or Command refers to the teachings of Buddhadharma and Shambhala, which taken together are referred to as Shambhala Buddhism. These teachings present the truth of things as they are and the possibility of enlightened society.

The Dorje Kasung vow to protect the teacher who presents the teachings, the teachings themselves, the community members who practice these teachings, and the property of Shambhala.

The phrase “Victory over War” is the motto of Dorje Kasung practice. The “war” is against the three poisons identified by the Buddha: passion, aggression, and ignorance. The “victory” is being willing to face these poisons and meet them head on with loving kindness and compassion.

Restructuring of the Dorje Kasung
In 2009 the Council of the Makkyi Rabjam finalized a restructuring to address recent changes in the Shambhala Mandala. This alignment was in development for more than two years, through collaboration between the Makkyi Rabjam and the other members of the Council of the Makkyi Rabjam, and many senior officers and line command officers.
As the activities of the Sakyong and the entire Shambhala mandala have expanded, so has the need for the Dorje Kasung. The Kasung have become a highly active and dynamic volunteer force, with a global hierarchy to facilitate effective action and communication.

The Dorje Kasung consists of three Arms of operation. The largest is the Gesar Arm which works with container principle and security. The Gesar Arm is led by the Gesar Command Group, each member of which commands an aspect of Gesar service around the mandala. Similarly, the Kusung Arm which works the Sakyong’s service and the Kalapa Court, and the Desung Arm which works with community well-being, are led by Command Groups. Commanders for each of these Arms are also in place for each of the eight regions of the international mandala.

Main initiatives for this year
The Makkyi Rabjam made it clear that he would like to see the Dorje Kasung continue to flourish and move forward during his year of retreat. He stated that this is “not a time to disappear but instead to move forward with the incredible momentum that the Dorje Kasung have… The path of the Kasung is a central message of the Shambhala teachings, and we need to do more to utilize these teachings.”

To that end the Council of the Makkyi Rabjam has identified two main initiatives for this year. Essential Heart of Kasung part two and a Dorje Kasung Command Conference. Essential Heart of Kasung part two – a weekend program that outlines the View, Practice and Action of the Dorje Kasung will be taught in all eight regions by members of the Council of the Makkyi Rabjam.

The second initiative is to hold a comprehensive Dorje Kasung Command Conference in Halifax in October 2010. The conference will be open to all officers (including all commanders posted in the chain of command) as well as non-commissioned officers. This Dorje Kasung Conference will be a fantastic opportunity to join together with the clan, to deepen our shared vision, and to spend time discussing the practical aspects of our path.

The main objectives for this conference are:
To gather clan energy preceding the Makkyi’s return from retreat.
To review and explore the role of the Dorje Kasung in the rapidly evolving Shambhala mandala.
To gain further familiarity and confidence in working within the new Kasung Command Structure so as to facilitate it’s continued implementation.
To examine the practical needs of the Chain of Command.

From: The Kalapa Council

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