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Nov 17
Shambhala News Service
Kalapa Council thanks Sophie MacLaren

Sophie MacLarenShambhala expresses appreciation for Sophie Maclaren for supporting the development of young sangha in Shambhala

We wish to express our gratitude for over a decade of work that Sophie Maclaren has devoted to inviting, cultivating and nurturing young sangha members in Shambhala. We are thanking her today in light of the next phase in the development of this work which is now unfolding in both Europe and North America.

Starting as early as 2002, Sophie directed a 2 year teen program which enabled young people to choose their own Shambhala class topics, and cultivated a close young sangha. In 2004 she and friends started the first young teacher training in Boulder. In 2006, with the support of the European Donor Group, Sophie was invited to work full-time for Shambhala Europe, where she spent 6 years developing new programming and policy to support family, children and young adults in Europe’s 65 centres, together with former director of Shambhala Europe, Chris Tamdjidi. In this capacity, Sophie directed and oversaw the development of established programs including International Family Camp and Rites of Passage, and developed and facilitated more than 30 new residential retreats, dozens of talks and workshops, and established family and young sangha groups in dozens of cities. Some highlights have been the annual summer youth leadership program at Dechen Choling, in France, the annual EveryBodhi Festivals at the Hotel Schloss Heinsheim in Bad Rappenau, Germany, and a new youth cultivation financial policy adopted by Shambhala Centres in The Netherlands which has resulted in an explosion of ‘under-thirties’ growth in this region. These programs have provided a bridge from Sun Camp to The Way of Shambhala and brought hundreds of new young practitioners together for meditation, talks, discussion and celebration. These events have cultivated a global community of young meditators, and inspired many young people to engage fully in the Shambhala path.

With the help of the Shambhala Trust and European Donor Group, Sophie founded EveryBodhi, a pan-dharmic community under the umbrella of Shambhala Europe that organised and funded these youth retreats and events, enabling young buddhists and non-buddhists from over 30 countries to connect with each other, with Shambhala, and to explore teachings relevant to their generation. EveryBodhi started the first young leader and teacher training in Shambhala Europe, at the EveryBodhi Festival in 2011. Other key projects were supporting young people from other traditions to begin youth initiatives within their sanghas, and providing consultation to organisations aiming to engage the next generation.

In 2011, Sophie was asked to lead an international working group on young sangha with the goal of creating a larger international framework that would encourage and stimulate the “rising generation” within Shambhala.

In 2012, the Sakyong invited Sophie to be part of the steering group for a fresh international initiative, originally described as “bright lights”.

The initiative was designed to address the fact that Shambhala needs to continue to attract and stimulate youth discussion and interest in Shambhala Vision, and also be able to provide programming and events attuned to the needs of that generation. This would build on but not be limited to, existing initiatives within or parallel to Shambhala.

Aiming to explore the experience to date and identify other possibilities for the future, the Sakyong asked that she and other “bright lights” who have been working with youth in our mandala gather and envision ways to further stimulate youth connection with Shambhala Vision. Inspired by the Sakyong’s aspiration, the “Ziji Collective”, a spontaneous grouping of young Shambhalians on the West Coast of the United States, has now been reaching out to other members and leaders of that generation, both within Shambhala and beyond. They are exploring new and flexible ways of communicating and working. Please stay tuned for more news as they get underway.

As this and other iniatives, both within and beyond Shambhala unfold, we wish to thank Sophie for her tireless and pioneering work of cultivating many youth in Shambhala who now engage in the path and hold leadership positions themselves throughout the mandala. Having left Shambhala, Sophie is currently studying at the University of Oxford in the Unitied Kingdom, and in addition to thanking her for her work, we wish her well with her studies.

Ki Ki So So!
The Kalapa Council

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7 responses to “ Kalapa Council thanks Sophie MacLaren ”
  1. It must have been something like ten years ago that I encountered Sophie’s name for the first time, when I was asked if I would be interested in coming to a new years festival for young people who are interested in Buddhism. I went to the first festivals and remember them with great joy. Creative workshops, meditation, yoga, discussions and of course Sophie. Like a Shambhala queen hosting people from different ages and many countries and touching their hearts and minds.

    Sophie thank you for your inspiration and for planting these seeds, you are one of the kindest people that I know and I hope to meet you many more times.

    Ki Ki, So So!

  2. Lucie Benzerdjeb
    Nov 24, 2013

    When I think of Dechen Chöling I also remember Sophie and I am glad and proud that I came to know her.

  3. Corine van Huissteden
    Nov 22, 2013

    It’s good to see that Sophies wonderful work is getting some credits! Not near enough, of course, if you see how much her work means to so many young people, but, yeah, how to catch that in a few words?

    Sophie started an important mindset change, which will without a doubt lead to more and more wonderful events and the development of so many beautiful people! The seeds she planted will almost all grow! Her nurturing in the beginning of this development was essential, and will now be continued by other great people.

    Thank you!

  4. Sarah Wilson
    Nov 22, 2013

    Sophie’s hard work and tireless dedication to bringing bright new minds into our sangha has been invaluable. Her initiatives and programs have made such a visible impact at centers around the world. She has worked hard in the vision of Enlightened Society and we owe such gratitude to her for helping to ensure the future flourishing of our grand vision!

  5. Tycho van der Reijden
    Nov 21, 2013

    Dear Sophie, thank you for all your hard work on behave of all the parents. You did a great job. Hope to see my daughters to follow in your footstep. I know, it was not easy, but please remember, it was worthwhile. Keep up the good spirit and lot of success with your study and work. Ki Ki So So!

  6. So good to see Sophie’s work in action here with Everybodhi at SMC. I hope there is someone to take up the flag going forward!

  7. Sherab Gyatso
    Nov 17, 2013

    Good to see your hard work recognized Sophie! All the best for surviving Oxford’s workload!

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