We’ve had a couple of community meetings in the last two or three years, and they’ve all been, I think, disastrous, because the people who are running them don’t know how to get people to shut up and listen to other people. You know, just do the practice of listening rather than cross talking and telling people that how they feel is wrong.
The thing that’s been most difficult for me is that when I look at all the oaths that I’ve taken to Shambhala, and, and also individually to the Sakyong. What’s happening right now, with him teaching on the side to a special invited group of people, is asking me to choose between those vows. And I mean, this is a practice and education issue, right. It’s asking me to choose between those vows that I made, that I made at the same time in his presence.
The Sakyong may have the same feeling from the other side: that is we who threw him out without due hearing or due cause; just pointing fingers and blaming.
Looking Forward: Aspirations
All of our practice and study activities need clarity, and there has to be communication, and there has to be support. Local centers are run by volunteers. Sometimes you get really, really good people, and sometimes you get just whoever, you know, got left sitting in the chair. We need to be able to support that.
I need to know what is happening with the Potrang, Lady Diana, the council, and whatever other aspects of Shambhala are shaping our present and our future. We need better communication among all the aspects of Shambhala. I want to continue my Vajrayana path and I need the Sakyong for this.
I’m longing for the Sakyong to teach Scorpion Seal Assembly, and to speak to the community about his situation.
My inspiration is the connections Shambhala gives us with people all over the world who love the dharma and the idea of enlightened society. We need to both heal and respect all those in our Shambhala world, and the world in general.
I like the idea of a big umbrella instead of a big tent. An umbrella gives protection but also provides openness and allows for teachings from everyone.
I take creating enlightened society very seriously. And society has many, many different viewpoints. And frankly, I think we can be a model for the greater world. So I think it’s really, really important that we figure out a way to be able to call ourselves one society with varying perspectives and viewpoints… Again, tears well up, but really, I hope so much that we do this.
Looking Forward: Suggestions
We need more basic Buddhism. The addition of in-depth Buddhist studies has been tremendously helpful for me.
What do we need? A big umbrella where all are welcome—”there are 108 ways of learning dharma.” And Shambhala has a lot of strength. Its view of society is its biggest asset and will attract more people, the more teachers we have and obviously including the Sakyong.
I think it might be worth considering the possibility that the best thing to do, and moving forward is actually to separate in such a way that in this case, roughly two sides, each is supported.
I went to every Congress that happened in the arts, and worked on working groups. And those were wonderful experiences, because we did group circles, where everybody was talking about an issues, and people didn’t agree, and we really listened. We had a whole process. But that didn’t really get taught down into the centers.
I appreciate deeply being invited and hearing others’ thoughts and feelings. I feel processes like this are crucial to our community’s going forward, in whatever shapes and groups that looks like. I wish everyone could be part of processes like this one.
These conversations are just what’s needed. More communication. More hearing and listening. More curiosity about others’ perspective. Always leading with heart.
As much Zoom fatigue as I have, this is just great. And it’s such an opportunity to see people, practice together and to share Dharma together. And I hope we continue to do that and work on how to do that better.