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May 03
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Dorje Khyung Dzong Welcomes New Directors

Retiring and New Directors

President Richard Reoch thanks the previous directors and introduces the new directors of Dorje Khyung Dzong

After sixteen years as Resident Directors of Dorje Khyung Dzong (DKD), Bruce and Melissa Robinson will be retiring from this post in early September. I wanted to let those of you have a special connection with Dorje Khyung Dzong know about this transition.

Bruce and Melissa have done an exceptional job of maintaining the facilities at Dorje Khyung Dzong and supporting retreatants. Their care and commitment to the retreatants have touched many people’s lives and helped them with their practice.

During their tenure they have made many improvements to this retreat center including building two new cabins (Coil of Joy and Rigdzin) and a fire offering building. In addition, they improved the roads so that mud season is no longer feared and they reburied many miles of water lines so that they no longer freeze in the winter. Most of the cabins now have solar lights and many have better windows and larger porches.

DKD Land and Huerfano Valley

All this was accomplished through the generosity of the many retreatants and friends of Dorje Khyung Dzong who have done so much to care for and strengthen this treasure of our mandala, as well as much appreciated support from the Shambhala Trust.

In addition, they instituted an annual Chakrasamvara Drupchen in 2003 and have led three fire offerings and one Vajrayogini intensive. These programs have helped many people learn and deepen in these important practices.

The Robinsons plan to move back to the Colorado Front Range between Denver and Fort Collins in September 2012.

The Road from DKD to Town

On behalf of the Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, I would like to express tremendous, heartfelt appreciation for the incredible service that Melissa and Bruce have offered to our lineage and our community. Their integrity, steadfastness, devotion and warm heartedness touch us all. Together, they have offered radiant examples of what it means to live a life of service that manifests the golden dharma of Shambhala.

I am delighted to let you all know that the Sakyong has appointed Dan Benson and Sheila Cataford to be the new directors of Dorje Khyung Dzong. It’s wonderful that they, as a couple, have accepted this challenge. Sheila and Dan have each completed many retreats here and have spent time at Dorje Khyung Dzong as temporary replacements for the Robinsons at various times over the last few years.

The View Walking to Tiger Cabin

Dan and Sheila are moving from Sonoma, California, where they are both very active in their local Shambhala center as teachers, administrators, and meditation instructors. Both have been students of the Sakyongs since the 1980’s and have been participating in the Scorpion Seal Assemblies. In addition, Sheila has completed Vajrayogini practice and Dan has completed the Kagyu three-year retreat at Sopa Choling and has an MA in Buddhist Studies from Naropa University. They have both expressed their strong connection to Dorje Khyung Dzong and retreat practice and look forward to serving the sangha in this way.
Upon leaving their role, Melissa and Bruce share this with us:

Windhorse Cabin Waiting for a Retreatant

One of the challenges for the transition to new Resident Directors at DKD is that the changeover is 100%. There is no staff to help maintain the continuity and keep things going while the new Directors transition into their new home and their new job.

There is a lot for them to learn as this is a multifaceted job. The Resident Directors do everything – manage the business end of things, act as Meditation Instructors for all levels of practitioners and maintain all the facilities.

For that reason, we will spend up to a month here helping Dan and Sheila learn the basics of the job and settle into their new home. We will also make sure that they meet with the local community and the local business owners.

Upon regarding their decision to leave their lives in Sonoma, California, to become the next directors at DKD, Dan and Sheila share this with us:

Aspen in the Hills Above DKD

Back in 2006, we were visiting with the Robinsons around the kitchen table at DKD having just come out of individual retreats. Feeling inspired and joyful after practicing and soaking in the drala of DKD, Sheila spontaneously asked Bruce and Melissa to please keep us in mind to be the next directors at DKD when they were ready to retire. Dan looked surprised as he was having the same thought. Come to find out, both of us had held this as an unspoken aspiration for years. From that moment on we have been keeping in contact with the Robinsons.

DKD is a remarkable place for retreat. It is a magical land that has been blessed by our teachers and decades of retreatants. Bruce and Melissa have done an incredible job over the years caring for retreatants and developing the land for retreat practice. Thanks to Bruce and Melissa’s hard work and dedication, we’re stepping in at a time when DKD is in a very strong position to serve the sangha.

Sheila Greeting DKD Neigh-bors

Solitary retreat at DKD has been an integral part of our path. Both of us have had experiences at DKD where the directors were very helpful in facilitating our retreats. We feel inspired to serve the sangha in this way.

Dan says, “I think being directors of DKD is the best job in the mandala. I’m sure I’ll get over this when I get the snowplow stuck up to the axles in a ditch… in a snowstorm… at night… for the third or fourth time. But then again, maybe not!”

Please join us in welcoming Dan and Sheila to their new roles in the leadership of Dorje Khyung Dzong.

For more information about DKD, please click here.

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