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Jan 28
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Next Steps: Europe

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche in Berlin, photo by Katja Aßmann

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche in Berlin, photo by Katja Aßmann

Shambhala Times is pleased to share this news update:

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche has written to all our European members to share his “thoughts and vision for the future of Shambhala in Europe.” Reflecting the growing diversity of the countries and cultures of our European community, it went out in nine languages.

The Sakyong’s letter covers three main topics: 1) The location of the seat of the Sakyong Lineage in Europe; 2) The structure of Shambhala Europe as a whole; 3) The opportunity for Europe “to manifest Shambhala society within the heart of modern human culture.”

The Sakyong has asked President Reoch and the Kalapa Envoy to Europe, Christoph Schoenherr, to lead this initiative “to ensure local and regional stability and development through this evolution.” They have written to all Shambhala members in Europe explaining how this will be done. They are now in the process of setting up a task force to explore and help with implementing the Sakyong’s ideas and vision.

A Europe-wide Mandala
What started as a small number of Shambhala outposts, mainly in Western Europe, is now a continent-wide mandala with Shambhala centers and groups in 16 nations, including the countries of Eastern Europe. The goal now is to create a single Europe-wide mandala, not one divided into two Europes.

Contemplating the significance of this, the Sakyong consulted Feng Shui master, Eva Wong, and talked to European leaders in all three pillars. He asked if the time had come to establish a new seat for the Sakyong Lineage in Europe with a more central position in the geography of Europe. The outcome, as the Sakyong shares in his letter, is that “Berlin seems ideal as [the] future seat of our lineage.”

The task force will explore the practical feasibility of this move. It will then make recommendations to the Sakyong and the Kalapa Council about the possibility of this move, linked to a larger plan.

Community Development
In his letter, the Sakyong points out that “over the last fifteen years, Cologne has been an impressive force for Shambhala — growing from a small city center to the focus of Shambhala activity in Europe. […] My wish for Cologne is that it continues to strengthen and play a vital role in our mandala.” One of the task force’s four specialist groups, now being assembled, will focus on this.

The Sakyong points out that the time has come for a new internal structure for the organization of Shambhala in Europe. “I do not see this as simply migrating the administration to new offices. Rather, this is an opportunity to rethink the structure of Shambhala Europe as a whole,” he says.

“The development of Shambhala in Europe over the past decades has outgrown a structure that was essentially established when the entire Shambhala community in Europe had only a few hundred members,” says Christoph Schoenherr, the Kalapa Envoy to Europe. “Today, that is the size of the communities of France, the Netherlands or Germany alone.”

The task force will set up and lead country-by-country consultations on how Shambhala national structures can best function in each country and be synchronized on a European level. This will simplify the governance and communication lines throughout Europe. The aim is to give a much wider sense of empowerment to regional leadership and the communities in each country.

Shambhala Society in Modern Culture
“The Shambhala teachings are based on societal awakenment — the journey from individual liberation to social enlightenment,” the Sakyong says. “Centering ourselves in a large city environment will give us tremendous opportunities to integrate our teachings into society.”

Creating opportunities like this fits in with the larger Shambhala vision of riding the wave of interest in social transformation and spirituality. There has always been the feeling that this societal dimension of Shambhala would find natural partners in Europe with its long history of social inquiry and innovation.

The festivals in London – Awake in the World, 2013, and Amsterdam – The Bright Now Festival, 2014 – have shown this to be true. “These were dynamic, outward-facing gatherings bringing together social activists, thinkers, professionals and a range of organizations to reflect together with us on profound possibilities for change in society,” says President Reoch. “We all want to see this continue.”

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7 responses to “ Next Steps: Europe ”
  1. Indeed, we are each a king! The teachings of the Buddha are available to all of us. No need to depend on others to explain it to us. Time for us to use our own minds and intelligence as the Buddha intended. Anyway, this is the 21st century. Isn’t it time to move beyond “myths?”

  2. EB, Michael, Sakyong means Earth Protector. The myth of Shambhala is that Dawa Sangpo, the leader of that city, asked the Buddha to give him teachings that he could practice and still remain a leader, in a position to benefit not just himself but the society he was responsible for. Hence, we have the Shambhala teachings, given by the Buddha, which invite each person to take their seat as a King — as an Earth Protector. This is an invitation to hold a larger view — that we can each be leaders, benefiting not just ourselves, but our whole community, the larger society, and the world.

  3. hello,
    i wish i could have access to the schedule of activities of the Shakyong Mipham Rinpoche for the year to come ,
    in case he would come in europe ,i d really like to generate a connection.ok thanks a lot ;stay well;
    jigme ,KATSEL sangha,le jardin du garouda (france)

  4. It’s both. The ‘lineage’ is the line of masters – Druk Sakyong, Sakyong Mipham, and so forth. So it is a Sakyong lineage because each holder is an empowered Sakyong. He is the leader of Shambhala as a global community which professes a belief in Shambhala Buddhism.

  5. Perhaps the concept of royalty and its trappings has eclipsed the humility inherent in Buddhism. Exalted as he was, the Buddha rejected such trappings. Emphasizing the royalty of individuals seems to be the antithesis of the Buddha’s approach. Is it practical to incur financial costs by relocating in the midst of a change in fundraising approach (Unified Giving) and during a period of significant financial challenges? Is Berlin really the center of Europe anyway? Further east, but also further north. “The task force will explore the practical feasibility of this move.” Really? Seems like the decision is a done deal. All things considered though, I think it’s good that nowhere in the article does the word Buddhism appear.

  6. Jinpa Heyer
    Jan 29, 2015

    EB, Shambhala Buddhism has always been handed down from the lineage of Sakyongs. There’s no change here.

  7. Can anyone explain why we are being called the Sakyong Lineage? What happened to Shambhala Buddhism? Thank you.

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