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Jan 16
International Programs
Warriors Gather at “Water’s Whisper”

In this program profile of the upcoming Warrior Assembly taking place in Cuncumen, Chile in February, Shambhala Times correspondent Aaron Delong introduces us to the scene and some of the warriors involved in creating this powerful situation.

February in Chile is the dry season, the summer. Around Cuncumen, a name that translates as ‘water’s whisper’ in the native tongue, the hills roll blonde with midseason grasses, and in the deep night the Southern Cross illuminates the clear night sky. The huasos (Chilean cowboys) ride in this area that lies between the twin mountain ranges of the Andes and Coastal Cordillera. The neighs of the huasos’ horses calling to one another across the spreading pastures mingles together with the cries of the wandering peacocks in the scrub and the songs of the myriad birds that flit through the towering, fragrant, eucalyptus groves. Above, near an overlook of the convergence of the three valleys, perches Las Colinas de Cuncumen, the resort site of the third Warrior Assembly to be held in South America, which will take place in just under a month, from February 6-19.

Las Colinas de Cuncumen was also the site of the first two Warrior Assemblies in Chile that were held in 2003 and 2009. These programs were an immense success, helping to deeply establish the Shambhala dharma in the western southern hemisphere. In the words of Santiago Shambhala Center Director Sergio Gomez, “I found it (the 2003 Assembly) to be an ineffable and extremely beautiful gift to have the chance to receive teachings in the language I’m most familiar with, under the sky I know best, and on the land I’ve walked on most. One could experience what our dharma forefathers felt when sowing the teachings in their own countries.”

The vision for this year’s Assembly in Chile began last fall, during a Kalapa Governance gathering in Santiago. At the gathering, Director Gomez learned that Kalapa Acharya Adam Lobel would be in Chile this summer, accompanying his wife in her studies there. Director Gomez then extended an invitation to Acharya Lobel to lead a Warrior’s Assembly during his stay in country, an invitation Acharya Lobel graciously accepted. Extending an invitation in September to host a Warrior’s Assembly in February did not leave the Chilean sangha much time to prepare, but, characteristically, everyone threw themselves wholeheartedly into the effort, and now, just a few months later, their vision is on the verge of becoming a reality. Translator Magali Meneses reports that people are currently working feverishly to finish up their studies and requirements prior to the gathering, while others are working to cover all the logistics involved in planning such a program. Staff is being assembled, principally from Brazil and Chile, and finances are being adjusted in the hope that no one who is able and ready will be left out of receiving these precious teachings.

As Kalapa Acharya Adam Lobel shares with us: “Warrior Assembly is one of our most powerful training retreats. It introduces the principle of Ashe, which is an intensification of fearless compassion and confidence. You could say that Warrior Assembly provides student warriors with the ‘weapon of gentleness,’ and trains us in how to wield this weapon. In this moment in history, we need all of the tools possible to work with the socio-economic and ecological challenges that we face. It is a moment where profound and genuine bravery is required. I am particularly looking forward to opening up these teachings in Chile, South America, where there is great tradition of powerful social movements. We will see what sparks will fly.”

The kingdom of Shambhala is worldwide, but one of its most vibrant, flourishing outposts is undoubtedly centered around Santiago and Cuncumen. This is where the ashes of Acharya Simon Luna were scattered, the beloved senior teacher for the South American sangha, who passed on in 2007. This is also where the Sakyong performed a blessing in 2006, when leading the first Vajrayana seminary to occur south of the equator. It’s a magical place, a location with a climate in which almost anything can be planted, cultivated, and brought to fruition, and so it is no wonder that the seed of the dharma has thrived here and given rise to such a warm, committed community of practitioners. In the vision of enlightened society, it is a wonderful thing to be able to bring the teachings to all parts of the world, if only to reveal, in the words of 2003 Warrior’s Assembly participant Simon Guendelman, “(that) after Warrior’s Assembly, no one really knows where we are from. It might be that we are all from the here and now, and that intangible experience is present everywhere.”

Concumen is two hours from Santiago, near the coast. In the summer, the sunsets blaze pink and rose and the nights are gentle, as described by Director Gomez, to be “enjoyed with dharma and conversations shared with a good Chilean wine under a bright, summer moon.” The approach of another gathering of warriors in such a place is a cause for celebration for Shambhalians everywhere. Many thanks to all who will make it possible.

There is a group of people working hard to get to Warrior Assembly next month in Chile. If you could assist them in any way, please click here, and thank you!

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