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Mar 18
Shambhala News Service
Practice and Education Updates for the Shambhala Community

The Shambhala Board, in partnership with the Office of Practice and Education, has released the following Practice and Education Update to the Community. In addition to English, the Letter is also available in Español and Italiano with other translations soon to come.

Dear Shambhala Community,

Thank you so much for the strength and patience that you have shown over this past period of uncertainty in Shambhala. As we said in our February 19th letter about moving forward as a community, it is time now to consider how we will act together to establish a Shambhala that reflects the elements of a good human society for the benefit of all.

In this communication we are happy to provide you with a first look at the view and initial actions being planned for those elements of the practice and education sphere that are within the purview of our Shambhala organisation. This letter will be followed by many opportunities to participate in community conversations about these plans, and to provide feedback about your own aspirations and practice and education priorities. 

Our Shared Dharma Heritage

As sangha members of Shambhala, we share a rich and multifaceted heritage of teachings and practices, all centred on the experience of basic goodness and its manifestation as enlightened society. Our teachings and practices are rooted in the Buddhist and Shambhala traditions. They have been brought forth by our Sakyongs, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. They continue to come alive as they are applied to our worldly experiences — relating to mental and physical health challenges, child rearing and end-of-life issues, and the many social and environmental crises that we face.  

While our personal relationships to the Sakyong lineage vary, we are all in Shambhala in order to continue experiencing the benefits of this legacy of teachings. Since the origins of our community, Shambhala sangha members have shared the responsibility for nurturing the teachings and bringing them forth so they are available in contemporary and relevant forms.  This activity will continue within our Shambhala organisation.  

The Shambhala Path of Practice and Study

We will continue to offer the Shambhala Training Levels, supplemented by the In Everyday Life Courses, a re-tooled Shambhala School of Buddhist Studies, and many more opportunities for deepening and enrichment on your path. Warrior Assembly would be open to those who have completed the Sacred Path, and we will be looking to add an intensive program to deepen in the sutrayana & enlightened society teachings. Teachers, meditation instructors, teachings, programs and assemblies will still be available to support you. There are different options for continuing on a spiritual path after Warrior Assembly, and these will be clarified so that you can make informed choices about your future studies. The teacher and instructor paths will be renewed, enriched and opened so that you can enter and advance your understanding of Shambhala in that way, and so that the community can build the capacity to continue offering our tradition to future generations of practitioners.

We are also excited about bringing forth the many dimensions of our dharma heritage that have fallen outside of our core curriculum, including the arts, deeper study of Buddhism, and applications of Shambhala and Buddhist dharma to societal and personal concerns. Study and practice of these dimensions will enrich our lives and enhance our connections with each other.  They are also very important gifts that we in Shambhala can offer to the world.

The Way Forward

The changed relationship between the Sakyong and the Shambhala organisation means that the structure and workflow of the Office of Practice and Education within Shambhala need to change. Our intention is to create a networked, collaborative structure to carry out the many tasks and make the many decisions involved in practice and education activities. Our most senior teachers in Shambhala will be included in shaping these activities as we move forward. A more detailed letter about these plans is being sent to Shambhala educators and centre leaders. If you are interested in that level of detail, you can access that letter here, and you are welcome to participate in that creative endeavour.

As we noted above, in the near future we will be hosting community conversations to provide more information about the revised structure of practice and education in Shambhala and to gather your feedback on practice and education priorities. These sessions will be announced publicly, but If you would like to receive a direct invitation, please click here to join our contact list.

As challenging as the past few years have been, Shambhala practitioners, teachers, meditation instructors, groups, centres, land centres, Shambhala Online and all the other elements of our community have shown tremendous resilience. Geographic boundaries have dissolved and we are relating more across distances than we ever have. We are learning how to pool resources.  The experience and creativity of our teachers has resulted in an unprecedented outpouring of dharma study and practice opportunities. We are learning how to care for each other across divergent views and practice paths, and in many ways how to take our teachings on gentleness and bravery to heart. Let us bring this energy into renewed practice and study activity in Shambhala.

In the Vision of the Great Eastern Sun,

The Shambhala Board
Mark Blumenfeld
Susan Engel
Lilly Gleich
Peter Nowak
Tai Pimputkar
Susan Ryan
Paulina Varas

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