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Jan 31
Shambhala News Service
Briefing on Financial Challenges

Kalapa Council LogoThree of the major entities in the Shambhala Mandala are facing significant financial challenges. They are: Shambhala Europe. Shambhala Mountain Center and the Centre of the Mandala.

Over the recent months, the Kalapa Council has compiled information on these challenges and has now prepared a briefing for Shambhala leaders and members. It includes, for each entity, a description of the situation, what the leadership is doing about it and who to contact if you want further information.

For those who wish to keep track of how our complex mandala is doing, at least from a financial management point of view, this briefing is a must-read. It also offers a glimpse of the scale of the challenges faced by leaders in these major hubs of our Shambhala world.

Click here to download the PDF briefing document.

Click here if you’d like to leave a comment.

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6 responses to “ Briefing on Financial Challenges ”
  1. I would like to acknowledge Bill Karelis’ thoughtful comments above. It has been my feeling as well since I first encountered Shambhala, that the “bottom-up” (or inner facing) financial structure is ultimately untenable. The center of the Shambhala mandala is operating much like the old Tibetan theocracy, and apparently living beyond its means.

    To quote S.N. Goenka, who built a very successful network of decentralized Vipassana Meditation Centers around the world, run by entrepreneurial teachers like himself: “When these organisations work for their own expansion, they have already started rotting. The aim should be to increase other people’s benefits. Then there is a pure Dhamma volition and there is no chance of decay. When there is a Dhamma volition, “May more and more people benefit,” there is no attachment. But if you want your organisation to grow, there is attachment and that pollutes Dhamma.”

    A center-heavy organization requires expansion in order to support its weight, but this is of no lasting benefit to all the outlying supporters, who mostly volunteer their time and energy for no remuneration. And it is also why most monarchies have collapsed around the world. I believe that some fundamental changes need to take place in the Shambhala model, and probably need to start with the Sakyong and his immediate family, continuing on through the top-heavy Kalapa Court and Shambhala International organizations. Ultimately, we would all do well to contemplate Goenka’s words and ask ourselves how we can best be of benefit to others.

    Submitted with humility to the sangha.

  2. Bonds are a way of accumulating debt.

    Stock shares are a way for Sanga Members to
    obtain ownership and responsibility for success.

    Think about it.

  3. Fab martin
    Feb 3, 2014

    Growth based on Debt and globalization is not sustainable anymore. If we look at astrology we all know that this is not going to change till 2025. Exiting from international and investing to domestic may sounds dramatic, but a possibility to concentrate resources. It is an outrageous statement I know, all changes have an outrageous quality thought.

  4. Bill Karelis
    Feb 2, 2014

    These comments are in response to the “Briefing on Financial Challenges.”

    There is one statement in the SMC summary, which seems worthy of reexamination. Under the heading of whether SMC is going bankrupt, the .pdf document states that the assets of SMC far exceed its liabilities. I believe this might not be the case. The land and plant at SMC are worth only what someone would pay for them. Since they are not configured and will not be configured as a viable convention center or resort without many millions in renovations and new construction, they might be worth nothing. (This is not taking into consideration the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya, which is priceless, and in any event has been cordoned off legally, along with the Encampment grounds, from the rest of SMC.) This is precisely why the bond holder also insisted that Dorje Dzong in Boulder (which houses the Shambhala Center) and also Marpa House be encumbered by the bond financing development at SMC–so that in the case of default one or both of those properties might be taken for their cash value.

    Another issue is how much SMC has provided since 1999 (when the buildout began) for the support of what are described in this report as central office functions. Combining the annual transfer payment to central with the outright funding of the Kalapa Court mandala (and/or defraying its expenses), the figure may be in the $3 – 5 million range, or something like 30- 40% of SMC’s total operating deficit over the last 15 years. I do not know these figures for certain; it would be helpful if SMC would provide the actual ones. It appears that SMC is being used as a funding vehicle for central functions, much as the dues to the Shambhala Center in Boulder have been funneled, in essence, to the central office by virtue of many refinances of the Dorje Dzong mortgage over the decades, and much as the net income into Shambhala Training was folded into the central office budget some years ago. If this reading of SMC’s contribution to central is correct, given the current accumulated distress, then the model has to come into question. And in fact, the entire centripetal flow from the outlying entities to the center might be worthy of reconsideration. Essentially, it prevents the outlying entities from reinvesting their local income and from capitalizing their own growth. In addition, it increases the jeopardy in which the outlying entities, such as SMC, or the Munich Shambhala Center a few years ago, may find themselves. The long-term result, absent a great influx of new funding from bequest, donation, sangha bonds or some other vehicle, has to be shrinkage of the whole organization.

    What seems to be missing is a direct relationship between the center of the mandala and the individual sangha members. The indirect method of asking the sangha to support outlying entities and projects, and then internally transferring funds from those entities and projects to central, does not properly reflect the Buddhist tradition of a direct offering and direct exchange, or the Shambhala tradition of bravery and openness (in financial dealings as in the rest of life). Without that electrical connection, the lineage will very likely be weakened over time.

    I make this offering so that Shambhala International may flourish.

  5. Bravo for bonds!

    What can we leverage? As for any outstanding debt or services, call the banks back and tell them we want a better rate, service fees reduced, and in return a charity credit card for a growing worldwide community will be considered.

    Our Lineage celebrates *outrageous* – what alternative revenue streams can we start folding in?

    Centres: Can current facilities during daytime low-usage accommodate daycare, after-school programs such as tutoring, job training programs? Cafes, bottled water vending machines, window placards in-memoriam? Patron programs?
    “Eyeball” real-estate: Text-to-donate? Goodsearch.com? A paywall for Shambhala Times? (preferably not yet, but let’s look at all the options, even bad ideas can be the seeds for feasible ones).

    Thank you for sparking the conversation by sharing information as we approach the Year of the Wood Horse May we identify & clear every hurdle :-)

  6. Shambhala should issue bonds. Many non-profits use ‘social impact’ bonds.
    It’s not as weird as it sounds and bond-financing is awesomely helpful for cash flow.
    If I have $10,000 to invest (for example), I probably don’t feel able to donate it, but by investing it (at low interest), I can support Shambhala with a few thousand dollars – and I would if that option were available.

    Shambhala is trying to maintain large-scale, broad-based, long-term growth with a weak income model and short-term debt. It needs to transfer that debt to the sangha instead of just relying on donations.

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