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Heartfelt Practice of Generosity

Shambhala Trust provides funds for four projects at Fall 2017 meeting

by Gregory Lubkin

On the weekend of December 1-3, 2017, the Shambhala Trust held its semi-annual meeting at the Los Angeles home of Trust member Gregory Lubkin.  During the weekend, the Trust invited some of the Southern California Shambhala community to a reception at the Westside (Los Angeles) Shambhala Center.  It was a delightful event featuring several energetic second-generation Shambhalians, in some cases with their parents also present.

For those not familiar with the Trust, it is a group of individuals from the Shambhala community who combine an inspired vision of awakened society with substantial experience of working in practical ways with the world.  They have adopted the following mission statement:

The Shambhala Trust is an expression of enlightened society. We are a community that explores and cultivates the heartfelt practice of generosity. Our intention is to identify, mentor, and fund innovative and strategic projects that advance the Shambhala vision of awakened society. 

The Trust does not manage an ongoing body of funds but meets twice a year to raise money for projects being considered.  Formal applications from those seeking funds explain what is being proposed and how much is being requested.  Members of the Trust individually decide whether and how much they want to allocate to a specific project.  Members make various levels of financial and energetic commitment to the Trust, and individuals’ actual contributions are not revealed publicly.  The Trust has recently experienced an upsurge in fresh energy and membership.  This has occurred in part because of a policy change that makes it easier for community members with more limited means to participate, so long as they have a sense of inspiration and generosity.

Kalapa Valley Bridge

In the past, the Trust has provided funding for major projects central to the Shambhala mandala, such as the four land centers, the Great Stupa, the Way of Shambhala curriculum, and the expansion of Shambhala teachings into South America and New Zealand.  More recently, the focus has changed to emphasize projects that “turn the flower outwards,” benefiting the wider world and expanding the vision of awakened society.  Nevertheless, the Trust still considers projects within the mandala that are not otherwise addressed by the Shambhala organization’s budgeting and fund-raising.  At any given meeting, the Trust generally looks at four to seven applications.  Not all projects are approved for funding; in some cases, the Trust views a proposal as appropriate but in need of further development.  In all cases, the Trust regards its mentoring function as an important part of its value, helping applicants sharpen proposals and strengthen implementation.

The Trust funded the four amounts requested for projects at the Fall 2017 meeting as follows (all amounts quoted in U.S. dollars):

Kalapa Valley Bridge:  Kalapa Valley in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, has been called “The Heart of Shambhala.”  The Scorpion Seal cabin located there is a key retreat site for the Sakyong, who has written some important texts there.  However, the cabin is on the other side of a river that rises too high at times for the Sakyong and his support staff to cross.  The Trust was asked to provide funding towards a sturdy bridge that would make access to the cabin possible in all seasons.  $9,000 was requested and raised by enthusiastic Trust members.

Persons of Color Retreat

Persons of Color Retreat:  The Engaged Mindfulness Institute led by Acharya Fleet Maull and Kate Crisp has planned a meditation retreat specifically for persons of color in May 2018.  As previous Shambhala Times articles have reflected, the Trust has a history of supporting Shambhala-related initiatives for persons of color, as well as the multifaceted work of Acharya Maull.  The Engaged Mindfulness Institute requested $10,000 from the Trust, and $6,750 has been raised.

Yukoan Tea Room

Yukoan Tea Room at the Halifax Shambhala Centre:  The Yukoan Tea Room at the Halifax Shambhala Centre is one of the few locations in North America suitable for conducting the Japanese tea ceremony practice (chado) in a thoroughly traditional way.  The two tea masters associated with it were trained in Japan, and in turn have been training members of the Shambhala community and others to practice this ancient contemplative art properly.  In fact, other educational institutions in the city send students there to learn the “way of tea.”  However, the location of the tea room in the lowest level of the Halifax Shambhala Centre has not been fully built out to reflect the jewel-like quality of the tea room itself. Mindy Moore, representing the tea practitioners, and Michelle Munro, Director of the Halifax Centre, joined the Trust via video conference to help explain the renovation project.  $8,000 was requested from the Trust and $6,900 has been raised.

Montreal Shambhala Centre Renovation

Montreal Shambhala Centre:  The Montreal Shambhala Centre has been seeking a space to purchase and found the “perfect” building.  The Montreal community has raised the purchase price and closing costs, but they have not yet fully funded their renovation costs.  Unfortunately, the Centre was unable to provide a representative to help the Trust with questions about certain aspects of the proposal. $12,000 was requested, and $3,500 was raised.

The Trust welcomes inquiries from community members who are interested in either supporting worthy projects or submitting proposals.  For more information on the Trust, its members, and the projects it has funded, visit the Trust website at www.shambhalatrust.org.

The Shambhala Trust’s Spring 2018 meeting will take place in Boulder.

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