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Sharing Shambhala, Part I, October 8, 2021

"Studying With the Sakyong" Group

Some of us expressed our commitment to the path of teaching by the Sakyong; one expressed wanting others to hear the Sakyong’s current teachings, which are brilliant.

Without the clarity of a central teacher, what is there to hold?

We began talking about, how could a center accommodate us and other people that are not Sakyong students or are brand new, or are on the fence or following Trungpa Rinpoche but not the Sakyong, etc.? If we could be cordial to each other, friendly to each other. If we could agree on some way of having the shrine room look a little different depending on who was in it, which group or which practice was going on. In terms of thangkas, and photos—we just scratched the surface of that topic.

The wish for harmony and mutual courtesy I wish to work together with, rather than anything else. That sense of inclusiveness is very evident.

I don’t think anyone’s going to change anyone’s mind about whose path they’re on or who they’re following. It becomes a question of, How could we accommodate and work together?

"Not Studying with the Sakyong" Group

And to go, that’s a heartfelt wish expressed by a few folks was that the Sakyong recognize, own up to and apologize for the harm he has done. That’s something that we all feel is really been holding us back.

I don’t focus my disappointment just on the Sakyong, but on a systemic culture that people began to report on, thankfully, a couple of years ago, that wasn’t being noticed by the most senior practitioners. It was even being committed by the most senior practiced representatives of the Sangha. So I think the care and conduct issue is what has affected me most, but I don’t include it as just the Sakyong; but I hold him responsible for not being able to understand how to administrate better if he didn’t want that to happen.

The term “enabling”—an enabling situation was, unfortunately, too much part of the culture.

There is an element of, your path is your business. It’s each individual to decide for themselves. I think there’s the sense of the large umbrella, the larger umbrella.

Even in the midst of the current situation that we’re in, people are still joining, accessing the teachings, newly taking refuge and all these other things. So the fact that there is something that is sustained. And that there’s a very strong heart wish for the community to be able to manifest in that way and continue in that way.

"Ambivalent About Practice Relationship with the Sakyong" Group

Our ground had to do with values of integrity, compassion, cult versus culture. Things of that order, with communication as being our primary value.

One possibility is having other teachers just enrich the situation so that we don’t stay stuck in the situation.

The fruition is to have compassion be connected to basic goodness. And to have a sense of humor to get beyond frustration, to have a sense of humor about the situations that we’re dealing with.

Open Discussion

I still am really hoping to hear how students not with the Sakyong would like to experience Shambala. I hear a lot of what they don’t want, but not really getting a sense of what they do want.

I just get a feeling like, “How could you possibly be a student of the Sakyong when he’s done this and this and this?” and I don’t see how that’s going to turn into, we can all share the same place to practice.

I’m so sorry that the shit hit the fan the way it did. But we needed some fresh air in the environment, because it really was becoming a hypnotic environment in our sangha. We had some strong sense of like a party line or a particular vision. For me, Shambala is a radiant quality of going out into the world, and this limiting sense of circling the wagons just doesn’t radiate very well.

We used to host teachers, all different teachers, Kagyu and Nyingma, mostly, many others. There was this connection, and that was broken when there was the edict to stop inviting other teachers, which just tore us apart. And so in terms of what people want to see, we want to see an inclusive open-armed community, that appreciates and shares the teachings as widely as possible.

I’m hopeful that we can have a sangha that’s—I’m going to paraphrase—inclusive, open, welcoming to all, and safe.

How do we hold together a very broad umbrella? What’s the center pole of the umbrella? How do we relate to that?

We just began to move toward the deeper water of this discussion, and this forum has held up so far. So perhaps a slightly deeper discussion is possible.