The Kalapa Council met with the Sakyong and Sakyong Wangmo over the course of three days at the end of January to contemplate the next steps that would move Shambhala forward in accomplishing 2020 Vision.
As the Sakyong wrote in his Letter of the Morning Sun:
If Shambhala as a vision, a lineage, and a community is to have any real effect on the world, the next ten years are essential. We must now begin to organize, train, and develop ourselves with greater commitment and determination. Therefore, I ask all Shambhalians to see the next ten years as a time to truly challenge ourselves. If we can make substantial progress over this time, I believe we will have shifted the momentum of the lineage and vision toward being able to fulfill the Dorje Dradül’s intentions.
During the three days His Majesty shared a commentary he has written on the Shambhala Vow and Enlightened Society, a text he has written on Shambhala Meditation and other writings that will be shared with Shambhala leaders and practitioners in the coming year.
The Council devoted much of its time to looking at the following major themes:
1. The fundamental principle of basic goodness (Dominé Sangpo) expounded by the Dorje Dradül which helps binds the rich dharma of Shambhala together. This involves understanding the lineage presentation of the Shambhala Vow and Enlightened Society Vow, the forthcoming Treatise on Enlightened Society, Shambhala Meditation and The Shambhala Sadhana (being introduced in March within the Second Shambhala Lineage Festival: The Shambhala Sadhana Retreat). We will be developing a synchronized plan for the presentation, discussion and community practice of these rich and diverse offerings.
2. The texts and practices that are now being shared with our community by the Sakyong with the intention of deepening our Shambhala culture. These include teaching and materials on the Shambhala Household, a fuller range of Rites of Passage, a deepening of our practice of the Shambhala Bow, new texts that will assist practitioners preparing to enter the bardo and conduct community practices for people who have died, and other initiatives flowing from the Sakyong and Sakyong Wangmo. This also needs to be drawn together in a comprehensive presentation so that our community understands the importance being given to the deepening of our culture, the values that are embodied in such a culture and how this relates to the Sakyong’s wish that we reach out much more widely.
3. The role that individual practitioners and the Shambhala community can play in contributing to social transformation in the world. Further material is being prepared to help our community explore the practical possibilities of this kind of engagement. This will include sharing the report on Shambhala and Society with our whole community as soon as possible, now that it has been compiled and presented to the Sakyong. The overwhelming fact that stands out from the reports sent in from all those discussions is that the vast majority indicated some form of social engagement or a way in which they are bringing the Shambhala teachings and practices into their lives, as well as how to distinguish clearly between actions and statement made by individual practitioners, and those made from time to time in the name of Shambhala. The aim is to stimulate widespread contemplation, discussion and experimentation.
4. The need to coordinate and greatly improve our messaging, communications and publicity. Much work is currently being done to prepare for the launch of the Sakyong’s new book Running with the Mind of Meditation. This includes a specially constructed website for that, along with a new “welcome website” for people who are motivated by that book who want to find our more about Shambhala. Also under design is an updated template for Shambhala websites, being developed in consultation with a number of participating Shambhala Centres. Expect new initiatives using social networking media as well. All this needs to be understood from a comprehensive perspective and shared extensively with our entire community.
5. Resource Planning. A lot of thought is going into strengthening our funding model, including a pilot project on a Unified Giving Model, and interviews with people throughout the mandala who have good ideas and experience in finance and financial management. We feel we are now in a position to set clearer international priorities, based on what is most needed for each phase of accomplishing 2020 Vision. This will be addressed in a second meeting (now being scheduled) on the theme of “Growing Shambhala” to consider all possible options, including the role of capital investment projects, the Kalapa Capital Centre and all the other development proposals from major centres in the mandala.
6. Community Development and Leadership Training. These are key aspects of the three central themes presented in the Kalapa Governance Gatherings last year :
Deepening our Culture
Clarifying our Structure
Strengthening our Resources, both human and financial.
A lot of thought has gone into this already and the aim is to develop a clear set of next steps that will be of great help to all centres and groups, and lay the basis for a much more long-term and systematic approach to developing our culture (with its values of kindness, generosity and courage) and both our current and future leaders.
Following Shambhala Day, we will be using the Kalapa Council blog to share updates on all this work as we move forward. Responses we have received to the blog are encouraging us to use this new format…