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Apr 15
Shambhala News Service
An Update from the Board of Directors to the Shambhala Community

Dear Shambhala Community,

We would like to share with you an update on the Shambhala Board’s recent activity and the initiatives of Shambhala Global Services.

As we announced in the recent Joint Statement on Mediation Settlement, on December 21, 2021 the Shambhala and Sakyong Potrang Boards agreed to settle the mediation process begun in August, 2021. This agreement creates a more independent Shambhala Board, gives Shambhala a license to continue to use the trademark “Shambhala” and leaves open the possibility of further communication. The Shambhala Board followed up on this with the communication Moving Forward As A Community Post Mediation. As was stated in this letter:

It has been close to four years since the crisis in Shambhala began and during this time it often felt like the direction of the organization was on hold. We have all had to examine our connections with Shambhala and the lineage in ways that were personal and often uncomfortable. Now with this agreement in place, we can turn our attention to moving forward as an organization, as a community, and as individuals. After a long period of uncertainty, we feel excited about what may now arise. We hope you will join us as we continue to strengthen our dharmic paths and together establish a Shambhala that reflects the elements of a good human society, for the benefit of all.

In this letter and as a guiding principle, the Board is dedicated to Shambhala as an inclusive society, welcoming all students within the dharmic streams of both Sakyongs.

The Shambhala Board is committed to informing the community in a transparent and comprehensive way on the many upcoming developments and initiatives within the Shambhala organization. You are invited to read our multifaceted report below and access our answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) here. We look forward to taking this journey with you!

Shambhala New Year 2022 – Year of The Water Tiger

This year’s Shambhala Day live broadcast on March 3 focused on the importance of the senses and asked the question, “What Is Beauty?” Community members from around the globe participated in the broadcast which included: a beautiful original cello performance by India Gailey, titled “Water Tiger”; delightful “sense video vignettes” created by Chase Bauer; an evocative original composition and video by Herbert Elsky and other collaborators; and a collectively created calligraphy by Barbara Bash. Daniele Bollini gave an inspiring talk, and attendees also heard messages and greetings from the Shambhala Board, the Shambhala Development Office, the Land Centres, and Centres and Groups around the world.  

You can click here to view the Shambhala Day 2022 live Broadcast.

Update From The Office of Practice and Education

Recently, the Shambhala Board sent a letter to all members about how Practice & Education is moving forward with a new collaborative decision making structure, and what our practice and study path will look like. A similar letter was also sent to all Shambhala Educators and Center Leaders with more details about the coming structure. We look forward to a series of community conversations where all of this can be discussed in more depth.  The Board’s Letter to the Community Regarding P&E can be found here.

Shambhala Online Update

Compassion for Ukraine – Daily Tonglen Gathering
Shambhala Online is continuing this daily practice gathering on Zoom, as we rouse compassion for those suffering from violence due to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. We begin by inviting a check in from our sangha members in Ukraine. These check-ins have been both heartbreaking and profoundly inspiring and clarifying. Next, we ride that fresh inspiration directly into our practice, which includes 5 minutes of shamatha, 10 minutes of tonglen and another 5 minutes of shamatha. 30 minute session + discussion. Daily at 11:00 AM Eastern – Click Here for a Time Zone Converter.

Shambhala Sunday Gatherings
Weekly Sunday Gatherings for the global Shambhala community are a place where we can practice meditation together, hear dharma teachings from a featured guest teacher, learn more about the activities of incredible people in our sangha, engage in discussion – and connect with one another, our community, and our hearts. Join us every Sunday at 3pm Eastern – Click Here for a Time Zone Converter.

Update on Conversations With Shambhala Leaders

As was mentioned in the most recent Shambhala Leadership Forum, the Shambhala Board is seeking the input of local communities in creating a good working relationship between Centres and Groups and Shambhala Global Services. They are inviting leaders to consider local needs and concerns regarding this critical relationship, to bring up ways to go forward as a community, and to engage your colleagues and community members in a conversation about this over the next few weeks.

You can click here to learn more about hosting your own local community conversation, access a conversation manual, or get support from facilitators to consult with you or host your local conversations.

Here is a link to the Affiliate Agreement Areas of Interest. This memorandum presents the many areas involved in a working relationship between Shambhala Centres and Groups and Shambhala Global Services.

Invitations to leaders to join calls with the Shambhala Board have been sent out to discuss this memorandum and whatever questions you may have following the release of the Joint Statement on the Mediation Outcome. If you did not receive the invitation, you can access the information and link to register on the Shambhala Network here.

Recruiting New Shambhala Board Members

Later this spring, the Shambhala Board will begin a process to recruit new Board members. Our first step will be to form a Board Advisory Nominating Group made up of representatives of the Board and members of our community. This group will solicit applicants for the Shambhala Board and then interview and recommend potential candidates to the Board that reflect the diversity, skill and wisdom of our community.

Update From The Office of Care & Conduct

Code of Conduct Presentations for People in Positions of Authority
The Office of Care and Conduct is now offering additional Code of Conduct presentations dates and times specifically for groups of leaders and educators in Shambhala. As we move forward as a community, it is essential that individuals holding Positions of Authority (POA) in our community have an understanding of the Code of Conduct, as well as have signed the POA policy.

To review and sign the POA policy electronically, click here.

To learn more about the Code of Conduct policies and process, and your responsibilities as Teachers, Educators, Meditation Instructors and leaders in Shambhala, click below to register for a presentation:

2021 Report on Code of Conduct Complaints and Concerns

As a global organization, Shambhala is committed to accountability, transparency, inclusivity, and care. This report contains data about the concerns and complaints received by the Code of Conduct team beginning on Shambhala Day 2021 until Dec. 31, 2021, as filed under the Shambhala Code of Conduct.

2021 Report on Code of Conduct Complaints and Concerns
2018- 2020 Report of Care and Conduct Complaints

Counseling and Therapy Offering Continues 
In 2021, forty individuals in North America and Europe accessed the Therapy and Counseling Offering. If you, or someone you know, has experienced harm due to aggression, failings on the part of the organization, or actions within the Shambhala community, you are invited to access the counseling and therapy offering. If you live in Europe or know someone who would benefit from the European Counseling and therapy offering, click here.

Pocket Version of the Code of Conduct Poster
Have you ever wished that you had a small discrete way of accessing the Code of Conduct and guidance on expressing a concern or filing a complaint? Well, many people do! So the C&C Office has developed a small, pocket version of the Code of Conduct poster that can be printed and placed in discrete areas, such as bathrooms, hallways, small meeting rooms, etc. It is our aspiration that anyone wishing to express a concern or complaint has easy access to relevant information. Click here to download and print the pocket version of the Code of Conduct.

Shambhala Financial Update

2021 was a year of challenges. The pandemic continued to affect our community, resulting in lower in-person program attendance and revenues. SGS was also affected by many challenges during 2021 and this is reflected in a loss for the year, which was expected and budgeted. The SGS loss for 2021 is $90,192 USD compared to a budgeted loss of  $73,157 USD. While this is a relatively small difference to what was projected, $147,000 USD from the sale of Windhorse Retreat Center in Wisconsin (in conjunction with the wishes of the local sangha) and the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy are propping up that bottom line. Keeping all this in mind, Shambhala Global Services managed to navigate a very challenging year.

We are working with the expectation that 2022 will be critical in telling us what is sustainable going forward. It should be further noted that for 2022 the Director of Operations and Director of Care positions will not be paid for by restricted funds and are now part of the operating budget. We will not have the $147,000 USD of additional revenue in 2022,  and the projected loss will be substantial. This means we will be relying on sustained and increased Centre and Group affiliate transfers and good Shambhala New Year fundraising to operate in a healthy and sustainable way in 2022 and going forward.

Click here to review the March Finance Update.

Societal Mirror Project Update

The Societal Mirror Project is a Board-sponsored initiative that aims to uncover the key questions and indicators that will help both Shambhala leadership and the community understand our general state of health and well-being, what we are doing well, and where we need to improve.

The scope of the project has been organized into five areas:

  • Paths, Teachings, Practices, Programs & Studies
  • Governance, Leadership, Communications & Interconnections
  • Economy, Resources & Assets
  • Care and Conduct & Protection
  • Culture & Community Well-being

Our intention is to regularly monitor the key questions for each of these domains with the goal of understanding the well-being of Shambhala as a community and organization. This data will help us deepen our understanding of what and who we are as a community, as opposed to making assumptions about “how we are doing”, and will greatly aid in decision-making and planning for the future.

To learn more about this project and its phases, click here.

Update on An Olive Branch Recommendations

In 2018 the Kalapa Council (the previous Board of Shambhala) hired An Olive Branch, a Zen-based consulting group that works with spiritual communities in conflict and crisis. The Kalapa Council asked An Olive Branchto explore and document past harm that occurred in Shambhala, advise how it could be prevented in the future, and make recommendations for steps that could be taken to heal our community. In March 2019, the Shambhala Interim Board received and then published An Olive Branch’s full report and recommendations to the community.

The Shambhala Board has recently reviewed the recommendations that were received from An Olive Branch and put together a comprehensive update on all activities responding to these recommendations.  You can click here to read the full report.

March 2022 Appointments and Departures

The Shambhala Board wants to extend our deep appreciation to all former Acharyas, Shastris, and Kasung who have served diligently and wholeheartedly for so many years.  Although their titles were recently dissolved by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, we will continue to welcome them to contribute their teaching, leadership, and wisdom to Shambhala.

Tai Pimputkar resigned as a Director of the Shambhala Board after serving since May 2020. Tai brought a strong background in finance and psychotherapy, sat on the Finance, Practice and Education, and Revenue Generation committees, and was one of the regular facilitators for our Board meetings. We will miss Tai’s strong insights. Tai has been juggling two separate careers as a banker and therapist, working on Mudra Space Awareness, relating to family and friends, diligently practicing, studying and helping all aspects of the sangha, as well as working with the Shambhala Board during this critical time.We will miss Tai, but applaud her recent work promotion and understand her need to focus more fully on her career.

Melanie Klein has held the position of Director of Operations for SGS and has stepped down after the end of her two-year contract. During this transitional time, Melanie had strong contributions and gave heartfelt care to the ongoing support and management of all of our SGS employees and initiatives, revived the Leadership Forum, and managed many legal and governance projects. Melanie has always acted with remarkable composure, cheerfulness, and intelligence. We will miss Melanie and wish her everything good in what she will accomplish next.

The Shambhala Board is pleased to announce that current Shambhala Global Services team members David MacLellan, Finance Director, Faradee Rudy, Development Director, and Tara Templin, Care and Conduct Director will form an “Executive Leadership Team” (ELT) to manage and lead all the functions of Shambhala Global Services. We are delighted that they have agreed to step forward into these new and challenging roles that will help us move forward as a community in new and positive directions. With these positions, we look to transition over the next period of time from a managing Board that has been very involved in the day-to-day operations of Shambhala to a more strategic and policy-oriented Board.

The Shambhala Board would also like to announce the hire of a new Growth and Integration Consultant for Shambhala Online, Frederick Meyer. After two years of the pandemic and presenting our teachings mainly online, the Board has recognized for some time now that Shambhala Online will continue to be an important entry point into Shambhala practices and teachings. As such, we want to provide the necessary support and resources, so that the Shambhala Online Team can continue to flourish and grow in new and dynamic ways.

Finally, the Board is pleased to announce the hiring of Irene Woodard,Director and Co-Founder of Shambhala Touching the Earth Collective, as the newest member of the Shambhala Global Services Team. The Board recognizes that the work of Touching the Earth is an essential component of who we are as a community and the support we can provide as Shambhala Global Services.

Touching the Earth’s Mission and Values are: To inspire and engage the warriors of the Touching the Earth Collective to uphold the healthy sustainability of the sacred living environment for all beings. Clearly seeing the need for an urgent response to human-caused environmental degradation, Touching the Earth warriors invite individual and collective action for the rebalancing, protection and celebration of a healthy living world.

In The Vision of Brilliance and Compassion,

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

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1 response to “ An Update from the Board of Directors to the Shambhala Community ”
  1. Nicki Dayley
    Apr 15, 2022

    You all are so amazing for the incredible work you have done. Thank you for assembling this very in-depth report, with all the attachments. Deep bows of gratitude to all involved on every level!
    Take care…Nicki

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