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Nov 25
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Shambhala News Service
The Passing of Acharya Allyn Lyon

AllynAcharya Allyn R. Lyon passed away on Friday 20 November 2015 at Swedish Hospital in Englewood, Colorado, age 78, surrounded by friends and family. In her role as an acharya, and throughout her decades of teaching, Allyn guided countless students with her heartfelt, unconventional yet clear presentation of the teachings.

She is survived by her son, Chris, and many, many students and colleagues who will long miss her. The Sakyong, when informed of Allyn’s death, wrote from his retreat in Nepal: “Allyn, my love and blessing are with you now, as you travel the great path of warriorship.”

A Shambhala funeral ceremony was held at the Boulder Shambhala Center on Monday 23 November and Allyn’s cremation was held at Shambhala Mountain Center on Tuesday. Her biography follows.

Born in Ohio in 1937, Allyn R. Lyon was raised in northern New Jersey. After two marriages, the adoption of her son Chris and completing an M.A. in Government from the University of Ohio, Allyn’s attraction to eastern philosophy led her to Naropa University in 1974. “Naropa, of course, radically changed my life,” she said.

By 1977, Allyn and Chris were living at Karmê Chöling. As a meditation instructor, Allyn sat five dathuns and began teaching. She attended the 1979 seminary, the first of seven that she would go to as a student, staff member or teacher. Allyn also held various administrative roles at Naropa University and the Boulder Shambhala Center.

In 1992, she directed three Naropa Nepal Programs and two three-month Maitri Space Awareness programs in Crestone, CO. In 1995, Allyn “found herself volunteering” to take on the position of Director of Shambhala Mountain Center, also teaching in Europe, Mexico, the Pacific Northwest, and elsewhere during that time.

In 2000, Allyn was designated an Acharya by the Sakyong and given the name Drukmo Choga – Dragon Lady Dharma Joy. Having finished her tenure at Shambhala Mountain Center, she began teaching full time in Mexico, Brazil, and Chile. She became “resident Acharya” for the Shambhala Center in Los Angeles, Tepotzlan, Mexico, and then Shambhala Mountain Center, also teaching in Brazil and Chile.

Never one to be limited by convention, Allyn’s teaching style was a mixture of meticulously presented doctrine and sassy humor. Each talk was peppered with her throaty laugh, accompanied by insistent nodding (as if asking, “right? right?”), making her audience complicit. Allyn demonstrated bravery with her unhesitating embrace of the Shambhala teachings and late in her life by joining the ranks of the Dorje Kasung. Allyn’s speech could at times be quite sharp; her intention was unfailingly kind.

Allyn described her main interest in teaching dharma as the nature of mind and how it functions: “What is mind? How does practice work with mind? What is real?” But if there’s a bottom line, Allyn said, “it’s that I really enjoy practicing the dharma, teaching and sharing my love of the dharma with students.”

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5 responses to “ The Passing of Acharya Allyn Lyon ”
  1. Aurore Chabot
    Dec 4, 2015
    Reply

    I took my Bodhisattva vow with Acharya Allyn Lyon in Tucson, AZ, and later had the pleasure of experiencing my first weekthun with her in Los Angeles where I was captivated by her teaching and great sense of humor. I was so sad to read of her passing and will always remember her generous nature.

  2. Luis Prado
    Dec 1, 2015
    Reply

    your teachings, kindness and compassion will be always remembered in São Paulo, Brazil. Thank you for everything! I took my refuge vow and bodhisattva vow with her. The way she taught was one of a kind. Her laughs and unexpected comments will remain as a hallmark for us. I will remember you gracefully. Luis

  3. kathleen fraser
    Nov 30, 2015
    Reply

    I am sad to read of Allyn’s passing. I remember particularly a weekend teacher training programme she taught in London. Such a big heart, I can still feel her down to earth kindness beaming out to me when I knew nothing of dharma.. Long may she beam.

  4. I sat one of Allyn’s Dathuns, took my refuge and bodhisattva vows with her and had the good fortune to coordinate two weekthuns with her and sometimes drive her as Kasung. One evening, after a long day of practice in Los Angeles, I drove her the short distance from our center to the home where she was staying and we found ourselves having to wait at a train crossing. We sat in silence for a few minutes watching the red lights flash and the wooden arm raise up and down in preparation for the train to pass and eventually she said something to the effect of, “it’s quite a show, isn’t it.” In her presence, this mundane moment became perhaps the richest expression of sacred world I have ever experienced. I loved her so very much and will miss her profound generosity always.

  5. DurING the time I worked at Naropa circa 1983-89, Allyn was always an inspiration. I loved her spontaneous mind. i remember, in particular, a trip to TaoS To visit Kobun Chino Roshi. In those days she and I were noted for the most disorderly desks at Naropa. After the vidyadhara died, she took me into the room with his relics and said, “FEEL THE ENERGY?”


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