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Sep 02
Scene and Heard
Fifteen New Shastris
On behalf of the the Kongma Sakyong, Jampal Trinley Dradül Rinpoche, the Office of the Sakyong is pleased to announce the appointment of fifteen new shastris, effective on the Harvest of Peace weekend: September 22 – 23, 2017. These shastris join over one hundred shastris appointed in recent years, all fulfilling three-year terms in their respective centres. We welcome these inspiring new shastris into their vital positions serving Shambhala’s Pillar of Practice and Education in their centres.
Angelika Behrooz (Boulder, Colorado) has been a devoted student of Shambhala since 1986. In 1987 she had the good fortune of attending the Vidyadhara’s cremation. Other notable steps on her path were a two-year staff residency at Karme Chöling and the completion of the three-year retreat at Gampo Abbey.  In her professional life she holds a Ph.D. in Physics and was active in research and many years of teaching. She currently owns and operates a bookstore with her husband.

Merlin Cox (London, England) first came across the writings of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1977 and then encountered him in person during his 1981 teachings in London. He attended the 1988 Vajradhatu Seminary led by the Vajra Regent and is now a student of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. He served in various roles in the Dorje Kasing and the administration at the London Shambhala Centre, including a seven year period as director.  A software engineer, he worked for Amnesty International for 15 years, and is now self-employed, living in London with his wife, adult son and guinea pig.

Sue Gilman (Atlanta, Georgia) began practicing and studying in Atlanta in the 80’s and has been a member of various Shambhala communities including Boston and New York. Sue was the first Director of Sky Lake Lodge and a Director of Development at Karme Chöling. She has been teaching in Shambhala for more than a decade. Back home in Atlanta, Sue has spent the last 5 years as the Executive Director of the Wren’s Nest, the oldest historic house museum in the city. She spearheaded major energy upgrades to the 145-year-old house and developed a program of community conversations around racial reconciliation. She continues to convene conversations on race, the environment and other subjects that impact our world, both at the Shambhala Center and in the broader Atlanta community.Dhi Good (Denver, Colorado) began the Buddhist path in 1990 at the Denver Zen Center, and was ordained into the Lotus of the Flame Order in 1994. She joined the Shambhala sangha in 2005. As director of Shambhala Online, she works with a virtual team to support online studies in Shambhala. She holds a master’s degree in Future Studies and enjoys exploring change, technology and learning organizations.

Mariel Gomez (Vancouver, British Columbia) has been a student of Shambhala since 2002, and became a meditator instructor in 2006. She has worked in various capacities serving the Shambhala community in Santiago, Boulder and Vancouver. Mariel studied psychology at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile and received an M.A. in Early Childhood Education from the University of British Columbia, where she is presently also undertaking a PhD in Human Development and Learning. Through research, evaluation and intervention, her work has been aimed to support children’s learning in educational settings. Her current research focuses on the strengthening of preschool and school teachers’ education.

Ingrid Hoffellner (Vienna, Austria) started practicing in the Shambhala Community 1994 with Kyudo and has been a student of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche since 1999. She works as an architect, focusing on the renovation of social housing. She has been a teacher in Shambhala since 2011 and is now studying the Scorpion Seal path. She is also engaged in Nalanda practices, including Miksang and Ikebana.

David Kahane (Edmonton, Alberta) is a student of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and a part of the Shambhala community since 2007, serving as Centre Director of the Edmonton Shambhala Centre from 2014-2017. He is a Professor of Political Theory at the University of Alberta specializing in democracy, citizen involvement, and systems change, and has won two national awards for his teaching. He is fascinated by questions of social action in Shambhala in light of teachings on basic goodness and enlightened society. He tends a permaculture food forest in downtown Edmonton and is father to young Solomon.

Antonín Machander MD (Jablonec, Czech Republic) has been a stomatologist (oral surgeon) since 1965, and a student of yoga since 1969. In 1989 he founded the Centrum of Psychosomatic disturbances with colleagues, where he works as a psychotherapist (Person-Centered Psychotherapy, family therapy.) While he considered himself a buddhist since the age of 18, he was not permitted contact with buddhist groups. In 1978 Antonín read the books of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and in 1980 began regular correspondences with MI’s in Boulder. In 1987, after 18 years, he was allowed to travel abroad, he took refuge vow with Ösel Tendzin and attended the Vajrajana seminary in 1990. He attended Kalapa Assembly in 2000 and completed Chakrasamvara practice 2004. He became an MI in 2006, and is practicing Scorpion Seal 9. He has translated more than ten books of Chögyam Trungpa and Sakyong Mipham. He is married for the second time with 5 children.

Elisa Marzuca (Santiago, Chile) encountered the Shambhala meditation path when she was 18 years old, while studying psychology. She has been part of the Santiago Meditation Center since 2000, where she has been Director of Practice and Education, an MI and teacher. She has taught yoga and meditation within the prison system and is founder of Padma, an institute where psychology, meditation and yoga find a space to complement and enrich one another.

Will Ryken (St. Petersburg, Florida) first connected to Chögyam Trungpa and the Buddhadharma in Boulder, Colorado in 1972 and that was it. While in Boulder, he became a Dorje Kasung in 1975, lived at Karme Chöling for two years and then was Director of Dorje Khyung Dzong for another two, returning to Boulder until moving to Florida in 2006. Mr. Ryken co-founded the Shambhala Sun Summer camp in 1984, and he is a Dapön in the Dorje Kasung. Mr. Ryken has been teaching in prisons for the past twenty years and is currently a mentor for a gentleman on death row in Angola state prison in Louisiana. He currently lives in Ruskin FL. with his wife Paula Bickford. They both teach and play at the St. Petersburg Shambhala Center as well as teaching and assistant directing Shambhala and Kasung Program around the world. Mr. Ryken is well known for his wisdom and humor.

Achim Schlage (Hamburg, Germany) joined the Shambhala Community in the early 1980’s and has served the Munich and Hamburg Shambhala Centers in various positions. In 2000 he co-initiated the European Donor Group, a group of sangha members dedicated to propagate generosity within the European mandala, and the Family Working Group in Europe. He served as Chagdzö for Shambhala Europe. He is practicing kyudo, has been teaching in Shambhala for 10 years and lives with his wife and three sons in Hamburg, Germany.

Joachim Sehrbrock (Vancouver, British Columbia) has been a student of Buddhism and a practitioner since 1996. He became part of the Shambhala community in 2000 while studying Contemplative Psychology at Naropa University. Joachim is passionate about Buddhist and Depth Psychologies and has published and taught widely on sexual and gender diversity. He has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and has worked as a psychologist in clinical and academic settings since 2005. Joachim lives with his husband in Vancouver, BC.

Ruth Wallen (San Diego, California) has been a member of the Shambhala community since 1980, when she felt immediately at home attending a Level One at the Berkeley Dharmadhatu.  After moving to San Diego she served as coordinator, and more recently has worked in various capacities to support the development of practice and study at their growing Shambhala Center.  A practicing artist, whose work is dedicated to encouraging dialogue around ecology and social justice, she is a professor in the MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts Program at Goddard College and also teaches at the University of California, San Diego.  She lives in San Diego with her husband and teenage daughter.

Tessa Watt (London, UK) has been a member since 1992 and a teacher since 2012.  She was Director of the Awake in the World festival (2013) celebrating 50 years since Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s arrival in the West. Tessa teaches mindfulness in the UK’s Houses of Parliament and a range of other workplaces. She was a leader of the Mindful Nation UK report (2015) launched by the All-party Parliamentary Group for Mindfulness.  She is an Associate of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, and co-founder of Being Mindful (beingmindful.co.uk) which runs MBSR courses for the public. Tessa is author Introducing Mindfulness (2012) and Mindful London (2014). In her earlier career she was a BBC Radio Producer, making documentary features around the globe. Tessa has a PhD in History from Cambridge and an MA in Traditions of Yoga and Meditation from SOAS, University of London where she also lectures.

Denise Wuensch (Denver, Colorado) began practicing Buddhism in the lineage of Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, while living in her hometown of Houston in the mid-1970’s.  She attended the first Vajrayana seminary offered by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche in 1992, and has served in the Kalapa Court, his personal residence, as Head of Household since 1994.  She currently holds the title of Shabdo in that role.  In her profession as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker she has a private practice in Denver, Colorado, specializing in Contemplative Psychotherapy and Trauma Recovery. In addition, she also works as a hospice social worker, providing support and counseling to families and patients at the end of life.  She lives with her husband in Denver.


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3 responses to “ Fifteen New Shastris ”
  1. Although I’m not familiar with many of the names, I’m sure that, as always, the Sakyong’s right on the mark. I’m particularly delighted to see Sue Gilman’s name among the selection. She is both full of humor and compassion which is a prime combination!

  2. Betsy Pond
    Sep 8, 2017

    What an inspiring group! I am honored to serve with you. Thank you for your dedication and devotion.

  3. Kristine McCutcheon
    Sep 3, 2017

    E Ma Ho – what wonderful choices – may you all prosper and radiate.

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