Who is the Kalapa Council?

In the Shambhala teachings, Kalapa is the capital of the Kingdom of Shambhala. It is the seat from which the Sakyong and the Sakyong Wangmo govern the mandala. In traditional Tibetan paintings Kalapa is depicted as the palace at the centre of the Kingdom of Shambhala. Because Shambhala is a mandala, the kingdom is normally depicted as a complete circle, with the capital as a smaller, inner circle:

A classical painting of the Kingdom of Shambhala,with its capital, Kalapa, at the centre.

In the contemporary Shambhala mandala, Kalapa refers to the core energy of the mandala, and is closely associated with the central role played by the Sakyong and the Sakyong Wangmo.

The Sakyong has appointed a senior leadership group, the Kalapa Council, to assist him and the Sakyong Wangmo in the integration and governance of the mandala. The Kalapa Council is the Lha body of Shambhala Governance. It’s role, described by the Sakyong, is “to disseminate and govern” and is “the structure for the Sakyong to express his direct command and wishes.”

The appointment of the council reflects the Sakyong’s wish to strengthen the central role of Kalapa in the mandala. He inaugurated the council in the forecourt of the Kami Shrine, devoted to Ameterasu Omikami, above Shambhala Mountain Center, on Wednesday 6 August 2008.

The creation of the Kalapa Council takes the evolution of the governance of the mandala to its next stage, following the adoption in 2005 of the model that established the Shambhala Congress (the largest consultative forum of the mandala), the Mandala Council (on which all Shambhala Centres and major entities have a seat), and the Sakyong’s Council (which governs the broader mandala on the Sakyong’s behalf).

Following a formal meeting with the Kalapa Council that took place 11 and 12 July 2010 at Shambhala Mountain Center, the Sakyong asked the Kalapa Council to assume the formal legal and financial responsibilities of the board of directors of the Shambhala mandala. This will be the council with the full authority to disseminate the wishes and commands of the lineage and to govern the mandala in accordance with those.

The members of the Kalapa Council are:
The Sakyong, Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche
The Sakyong Wangmo, Khandro Tseyang
The President of Shambhala, Mr Richard Reoch (chair of the council)
The Lamen Kyi Khyap, Dr Mitchell Levy
The Kalapa Acharya, Mr Adam Lobel
The Makpon, Mr Jesse Grimes
The Chagdzo Kyi Khyap, Ms Connie Brock
The Chief of Staff of the Sakyong Ladrang, Mr Joshua Silberstein

Those who have a standing invitation to the meetings of the Kalapa Council are: Ms Carolyn Mandelker, the Executive Director; Mr David Brown, the Head of the Office of the Kalapa Court and Executive Secretary to the Sakyong (and secretary of the council); and Mr Alex Halpern, Chief Legal Counsel.

Reporting to the mandala
The Kalapa Council posts seasonal reports on its work for the information of the Shambhala community as a whole. These take the form of comprehensive updates sent individually to all
members of Shambhala in July 2010. These are posted on as part of this column.

MEET THE MEMBERS OF THE KALAPA COUNCIL

The Kongma Sakyong, Jamgön Mipham Rinpoche
The Kalapa Council acts under the authority of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, the spiritual and temporal head of the Shambhala Mandala. The Sakyong is the Director of the First Class of the board of directors.

The Sakyong — literally “earth-protector”— is a “dharma king” and lineage holder of Shambhala, a tradition that emphasizes confidence in the enlightened nature of all beings, and teaches a courageous life, based on wisdom and compassion.

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche was born in 1962 in Bodhagaya, India, to Lady Könchok Palden. He received an initial Buddhist education in India, later joining Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in England and North America. As a young man, the Sakyong studied with great masters His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and with HH Penor Rinpoche. He is married to Khandro Tseyang Palmo, daughter of His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche, head of the Ripa lineage.

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche has written two books: the national bestseller, Turning the Mind into an Ally, and Ruling Your World, He is also an avid poet, artist and athlete. The Sakyong has run a number of marathons to raise money for the Konchok Foundation, an organization dedicated to serving the spiritual, cultural, educational and humanitarian needs of the Tibetan people in the Kham and Golok regions of eastern Tibet. He travels extensively, teaching throughout the world.

The Sakyong Wangmo, Dechen Chöying Sangmo

The Sakyong Wangmo, or Earth Protector Lady, is the manifestation of feminine energy – gentleness and peace – that we all possess. Representing the accommodating quality of space, which is the wisdom of basic goodness, the Sakyong Wangmo is an example of how to be a warrior. In the words of the Druk Sakyong, “space is the mother principle, which safeguards against the development of ego’s impulse.”

The many-faceted role of the Sakyong Wangmo in Shambhala society includes cultivating peace and harmony through communication and through encouraging true sophistication and elegance. By radiating gentleness and warmth, the Sakyong Wangmo promotes enlightened leadership and uplifts our world by joining all of us in a celebration of basic goodness.

President Richard Reoch, Chair of the Kalapa Council

Richard was appointed President of Shambhala by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche in October 2002. When the Sakyong established the Kalapa Council in 2008, he asked Richard to serve as it’s chair. Richard was previously the Sakyong’s secretary in Europe, Director of the Consecration of The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya and Director of the London Shambhala Centre. After studying at Trinity College, University of Toronto, he joined the international staff of Amnesty International where he worked for 23 years, more than half of those in senior leadership as the organization’s head of media. He is a trustee of the Rainforest Foundation and Chair of the International Working Group on Sri Lanka, aiming to end the Buddhist world’s longest-running war. His refuge name is Auspicious Enlightenment.

The Lamen Kyi Khyap, Mitchell Levy

Dr. Mitchell Levy has been a student of the Vidyadhara, the Venerable Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche since 1971 and is a student of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. In 1978 he was appointed personal physician, Lamen, to Trungpa Rinpoche and served in that capacity until the Vidyadara’s death in 1987. Dr. Levy received Vajrayogini abhisheka in 1979 and Chakramsavara abhisheka in 1985.

Dr. Levy was for ten years the Executive Director of Amara Association of Health Care Professionals, in Boulder Colorado. He was integral to the development of the Dorje Kasung: holding the rank of Lamen Kyi-Khypap, being a member of the first Council of the Makkyi Rabjam, and personally serving the Vidyadhara on the road for ten years. For many years Dr. Levy has taught at Seminaries and has worked extensively with young people. He was instrumental in establishing Sun Camps and responsible for creating both the Rites of Passage for eight-year-olds and the Rites of Warriorship for sixteen-year-olds.

Dr Levy is married to Lady Diana Mukpo and resides in Providence Rhode Island where he is a specialist in Intensive Care Medicine and a Professor of Medicine at Brown University School of Medicine. His areas of interest and research include sepsis and end-of-life care, combining professional and spiritual practice, and the central role of form, tradition and devotion. He has traveled widely throughout the world, including Tibet, and was instrumental in establishing the Konchok Foundation.

The Kalapa Acharya, Adam Lobel

Acharya Adam Lobel has lived and studied Buddhism in monasteries in Tibet, Nepal and India. A close student of the Sakyong, he traveled with Rinpoche on his 2001 trip to Tibet. Acharya Lobel was one of the co-editors of Turning the Mind into an Ally and has been responsible for creating meditation programs based on this book. He is a recent father and lives with his family in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Acharya Lobel is currently pursuing graduate studies in Buddhism at the Harvard Divinity School. Acharya Lobel was appointed to the position of Kalapa Acharya by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche in August 2008.

Kasung Kyi Khyap, Jesse Grimes
Commander of the Dorje Kasung

Jesse serves on the Kalapa Council in his capacity as the Commander of the Dorje Kasung. Jesse was born into the Shambhala community. He travelled as a continuity Kusung with the Sakyong from 1996 to 1998 and was appointed to the post of Makpön (Dorje Kasung Commander), in February 2004. In March 2011 the Sakyong named him Kasung Kyi Khyap, Lord Chief Command Protector. He lives and works in Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and daughter where he also serves as the Kalapa Envoy, on behalf of the Sakyong, for the Rocky Mountain Region. His Shambhala name is Mighty Mouse.

The Chagdzö Kyi Khyap, Connie Brock

Connie is the Chagdzö Kyi Khap (Bursar General), appointed to this position by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche in 2008. She is also the Treasurer of Shambhala, a position she has held since 2005, and a member of the Shambhala Trust (2002-present).

Connie has also served as the treasurer of the Minneapolis Shambhala Center, as the former Director of that centre (1997-2002) and as a member of the New Economic Model Working Group established after the First Shambhala Congress.

In April 2000, Connie retired after 30 years with Wells Fargo Bank (formerly Norwest Corporation) in the Information Technology Group holding management positions, the last of which was managing technology planning (managing staff of over 100 people and just under $10 million in annual expenses).

Connie’s Shambhala name is Dignity Moon.

Chief of Staff of the Sakyong Ladrang, Joshua Silberstein

Joshua Silberstein, Thapke Druk, Skillful-means Dragon, received a double major in Philosophy and History of Mathematics with minors in Languages and Science from St. John’s College Annapolis, MD in 1994. In 1998 he stumbled upon the Burlington, VT Shambhala Center and its delightful and quirky community. Initially participating in classes and Shambhala levels, Mr. Silberstein eventually became a member of the leadership council.

His work for the Sakyong started in 2002 when Mr. Silberstein held the leadership role of Rusung at Karme Choling. In 2004, he became the Attache for the Sakyong. When that assignment was completed in 2006, Mr. Silberstein served as the President of the Kalapa Group in charge of global projects and for a brief period as the Secretary of the Kalapa Council. The Sakyong subsequently appointed him to the position of Chief of Staff of the Sakyong Ladrang and asked him to serve in that capacity as a full member of the Kalapa Council.

Full announcement of Sakyong’s 2010 decisions on the role of the Kalapa Council, creating of the Kalapa Executive, and the appointment of the Executive Director:

The full announcement from the Office of the Kalapa Court outlining the Sakyong’s decisions on the Kalapa Council and other changes to the governance structure of the mandala, issued on 17 July 2010 follows:

The Sakyong, Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche, has taken a number of decisions that will change and strengthen the governance of the Shambhala mandala. He has decided to implement these now, so that the changes are fully in place and functioning well before he returns from his year of retreat.

The Sakyong established a new, overall governance structure for the mandala following the first Shambhala Congress in 2003. This structure laid the ground for governing Shambhala in accordance with mandala principle. He first mandated that structure for a period of two years (2005 – 2007) and then for a further two years (2008 – 2009).

He then indicated his wish to strengthen the central element of the mandala, Kalapa, both as the centre of governance and as part of the structure that protects and acts on behalf of the lineage. He created the Kalapa Council as the lha body of Shambhala governance in 2008, and established the Sakyong Ladrang, for the protection and strengthening of the lineage, in 2009. These were further empowered as part of the ceremonies that took place at the end of the most recent Congress in Halifax in November 2009. At that time the Sakyong also announced that he had asked the President to create and install the Kalapa Executive during his year of retreat.

Now, following a formal meeting with the Kalapa Council that took place 11 and 12 July 2010 at Shambhala Mountain Center, the Sakyong has asked the Kalapa Council to assume the formal legal and financial responsibilities of the board of directors of the Shambhala mandala. This will be the council with the full authority to disseminate the wishes and commands of the lineage and to govern the mandala in accordance with those.

The members of the Kalapa Council are:
The Sakyong, Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche
The Sakyong Wangmo, Khandro Tseyang
The President of Shambhala, Mr Richard Reoch (chair of the council)
The Lamen Kyi Khyap, Dr Mitchell Levy
The Kalapa Acharya, Mr Adam Lobel
The Makpon, Mr Jesse Grimes
The Chagdzo Kyi Khyap, Ms Connie Brock
The Chief of Staff of the Sakyong Ladrang, Mr Joshua Silberstein

Those who have a standing invitation to the meetings of the Kalapa Council are: Ms Carolyn Mandelker, the Executive Director; Mr David Brown, the Head of the Office of the Kalapa Court and Executive Secretary to the Sakyong (and secretary of the council); and Mr Alex Halpern, Chief Legal Counsel.

To enable an annual review of the governance of the mandala, the members of the Kalapa Council will offer to the Sakyong a formal recommitment of their service to the mandala prior to Shambhala Day. At that time, if the Sakyong wishes to changes either their roles or the composition of the council, he will announce that in conjunction with Shambhala Day. The Kalapa Council will then begin each year with a full meeting in Halifax, the Shambhala capital, to receive the wishes and commands for the coming year from the Sakyong and Sakyong Wangmo.

In his meeting with the Kalapa Council, the Sakyong gave his assent to a proposal from the Kalapa Council for the establishment of the Kalapa Executive. This body of some 20 senior office holders in the mandala will be the executive arm of the Kalapa Council, directing and integrating the core activities and services of the mandala. The Kalapa Executive will include the heads of the major offices of Shambhala, both those that currently exist and new ones to be established. A full list of the positions on the Kalapa Executive is appended at the end of this letter.

The care for the welfare of the community as a whole, which has been performed by the working groups and others in the Community Care Council, a sub-set of the Sakyong’s Council, will become the Office of Societal Health and Well-being. Ms Mary Whetsell, the chair of that council, has been appointed to the position of Director of Societal Health and Well-being.

The members of the Kalapa Executive will report to an Executive Director, a position that is being reintroduced to provide executive leadership for the plans, programs and policies of the mandala at the international level. The Executive Director will be responsible for the overall coordination and planning as well as encouraging more cohesion and collaboration throughout the mandala. The Executive Director will be responsible to the Chair of the Kalapa Council, a position held by the President of Shambhala.

The Sakyong is delighted to announce the appointment of Ms Carolyn Mandelker to the position of Executive Director with immediate effect. Ms Mandelker has been the Director of Practice and Education for the past seven years. She will take a number of her current practice and study responsibilities into her new position for a transitional period. Ms Mandelker will take her oath of office with the Sakyong in the great tent at Shambhala Mountain Center today, 17 July 2010.

Ms Andrea Doukas, the former Director of the Halifax Shambhala Center, has been appointed Co-Director of Practice and Education to work closely with Ms Mandelker.

The Sakyong has appointed Acharya Mitchell Levy to the position of Director of International Relations. Dr Levy will be a member of both the Kalapa Council and the Kalapa Executive.

By appointing the Executive Director and establishing of the Kalapa Executive, the Sakyong has strengthened the central services to the mandala as a whole and has freed up the President to work more closely with him on strategic international initiatives.

To strengthen participation at the level of all centres and and groups, the Mandala Council will be expanded to include all groups in the mandala. To improve communication between the centre and the rest of the leadership at local levels there will be a new experiment with regular conference calls on major themes between the Kalapa Council and the Mandala Council.

With these changes, there will no longer be a need for a separate body known as the Sakyong’s Council. The Sakyong has therefore decided that it is not necessary to renew the mandate of that body. He has written to the council expressing his appreciation for the years of work it has offered to the lineage and the mandala. In his letter he wrote, “You have fulfilled your mission and have served the lineage with dignity and determination. At an appropriate time, I would like to express my personal gratitude to each of you and to enable the mandala as a whole to honour the work that you have all done in the service of Shambhala.”

In the vision of Shambhala,

David Brown,

Head of the Office of the Kalapa Court and Executive Secretary to the Sakyong

The Functions and members of the Kalapa Executive

The Kalapa Executive will:

1. Provide executive leadership to the planning and programming in their respective areas of responsibility.

2. Lead the staff and volunteers in their respective areas, including being responsible for hiring and all other aspects of personnel management.

3. Ensure that the required standards of financial planning and control are respected in the plans and programs in their respective areas of responsibility.

4. Work together with the other members of the Kalapa Executive to ensure coordinated planning of major events and programs in the mandala.

5. Collaborate with other members of the Kalapa Executive on the design and implementation of certain executive activities such as integrated, interdisciplinary training and preparation of materials for communication throughout the mandala.

6. Work jointly with the other members of the Kalapa Executive to develop proposals for mandala-wide policies for consideration by the Kalapa Council and the Mandala Council.

7. The Executive Director and the Kalapa Executive

The Kalapa Executive will be led and chaired by the Executive Director, under the guidance of the President.

The members of the Kalapa Executive:

The Executive Director: Ms Carolyn Mandelker
The Head of the Office of the Kalapa Court and Executive Secretary to the Sakyong: Mr David Brown
The Secretary to the Sakyong Wangmo: Ms Basia Solarz
The Co-Directors of Practice and Education: Ms Carolyn Mandelker, Ms Andrea Doukas
The Gesar Arm Commander of the Dorje Kasung: Ms Bonnie Hankin
The Director of International Relations: Dr Mitchell Levy
The Director of Culture and Decorum: Ms Wendy Friedman
The Director of Societal Health and Well Being: Ms Mary Whetsell
The Co-Directors of Shambhala Media: Ms Terry Rudderham, Ms Emily Sell
The Representative of the Practice Centres: Executive Director of Karme Choling, Ms Jane Arthur
The Director of Shambhala Europe: Mr Chris Montone
The Chair of the Communications and Technology Steering Committee: Ms Holly Gayley
The Director of Finance: Ms Vittoria De Palma
The Director of Centre and Group Relations (a new position to be created)
The Director of Development ( a new position to be created)
The Director of Human Resources ( a new position to be created)
The Director of Communications – including Marketing and Publicity (a new position to be created)
The Director of Multilingual Development (a new position to be created)

The following office-holders will have standing invitations to attend meetings of he Kalapa Executive and/or receive minutes from meetings:
The Representative of the Arts: Acharya Arawana Hayashi
The Directors of the Major Practice Centres
The Chair of the Sakyong’s Advisory Panel on Shambhala Environments: Mr Steve Vosper
The Director of the Kalapa Capital Centre Project: Mr Steve Baker

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About Richard Reoch

Richard Reoch was appointed by the Sakyong, Jamgön Mipham Rinpoche, as the President of Shambhala in 2002 -- a position he holds to this day. He heads the Government of Shambhala and chairs the highest governing body of the mandala, the Kalapa Council. Prior to his position in Shambhala, he was the global media chief of the human rights organization, Amnesty International, and continues as a trustee of the Rainforest Foundation and Chair of the International Working Group on Sri Lanka, a network of diplomats and major agencies devoted to peace making.

One thought on “Who is the Kalapa Council?

  1. Dear president Reoch,
    thank you for these news and updates for the mandala.
    Pierre R.

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