Wake up Boston!
August 15th, 2012 by Dan Glenn
It has been a wonderful summer for the Boston Shambhala Center. Summer tends to be the “slow” time of year for us, as many people are away or doing retreats. We had some healthy space this summer, which I think is really important to have in the rhythm of life at a center like ours. We also had our share of activity!
Community members carry flags through the Midsummer Day lhasang
We kicked off the summer with our annual Midsummer Day celebration, which took place at Rocky Woods Reservation in Medfield for the second straight year. We had a lovely, relaxed afternoon on a surprisingly cool Saturday afternoon in mid-June.
Following that, we had a delightful weekend visit from Acharya Eric Spiegel, who hosted an evening gathering with the LGBT community and then directed Rigden Weekend, the culmination of the first year of Way of Shambhala. Several community members participated in the program – we send them a big congratulations for completing Year One!
President Reoch gazes at the Rigden thangkas at the MFA
One of the most delightful parts of the summer was our visit with Shambhala’s President, Richard Reoch, in mid-July. President Reoch spent a whirlwind two days with the Boston community, sharing a lively lunch with young leaders one day and another lunch with people in key leadership positions the next. The new Shambhala Boston Council dined with the President as well, before he hosted a public gathering to discuss the question, “Is Enlightened Society Possible?” in what turned out to be a very engaging and moving evening. The crowning glory of the visit was a trip to the Museum of Fine Arts to see the “Seeking Shambhala” exhibition. President Reoch was very inspired by the exhibition – we could barely drag him away – and was very interested in deepening Shambhala’s connection with both the Museum and these powerful thangkas of the Rigden Kings, who are the essence of our lineage.
One of the most exciting aspects of our summer hasn’t taken place here – it’s taken place all around North America. Members of the community have been going to core Shambhala path programs since the late spring, beginning with the large contingent that attended the Shambhala Retreat with Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche at Karmê Chöling in Vermont. We also had several people attend part of all of the recent summer dathün there as well – a remarkable (non)achievement! There are eighteen community members from Boston heading to Warrior Assembly at Karmê Chöling in a few days, which is incredibly inspiring. We also had people from Boston attending each Scorpion Seal Assembly (Year
Bryan Mendiola rings the outer gong during the summer dathün at Karmê Chöling
2, 3, and 4) this summer (with representation at every single land center), three new teachers attend Shambhala Buddhist Teacher Training, as well as many people doing various other retreats, including solitary retreats, a Vajrayogini practice intensive at Gampo Abbey and the Authentic Leadership in Action (ALIA) Institute in Halifax.
Our summer endeavors also included a service day during which nearly thirty people gathered to make the Shambhala Center more eco-friendly. See Ashley’s forthcoming blog post for more about this wonderful day!
We had several programs and classes here this summer that many people enjoyed, including two Shambhala Art programs, a series featuring video from the “Being Brave” retreat from 2011, Vajrayana practice weekends, and the debut of our new Learn to Meditate class. The summer’s not over yet, and we still have exciting things happening in the next two weeks. You can check out our full slate of programs and community gatherings here.
I also encourage everyone to take a look at Karmê Chöling’s program calendar for the fall and winter. There is a wealth of opportunity for amazing training and exploration just three hours away in an absolutely beautiful location. I feel that the more members of our community experience the depth and wonder of our retreat centers like Karmê Chöling, Dorje Denma Ling and Shambhala Mountain Center, the stronger everything we do here will be.
It has been a rich summer and the fall promises to be even more abundant. We look forward to seeing you all around the center!
Dan Glenn, Executive Director
May 21st, 2012 by Ashley_Hodson
by Brian Sutton
Brian Sutton: Running a Marathon for Konchok Foundation
I am dedicating my upcoming (May 27) marathon to benefit the Konchok Foundation, and I am asking you to help too. Many of you know about the work of the Konchok Foundation, a non-profit organization helping to meet the spiritual, cultural, educational and humanitarian needs of the Tibetan people in Surmang and elsewhere in the Kham and Golok regions of Tibet. At konchok.org you can see the photos and videos of the people and places in this poor, remote region and the buildings going up for education, health and living. An orphanage, health clinic, and a monastic school are all being built and supported by privately donated funds.
There is a still a great need! “Privately donated funds” can mean many small donations from many friends, family, and sangha. You can sponsor my marathon for $26.00, just a dollar for every mile I will be running on May 27th. Or donate whatever amount you are inspired and able to give.
You can donate directly to: konchok.org/donation_gifts.php
When you receive your confirmation just let them know it is for Brian’s Marathon Fundraising. If you prefer not to donate online, contact me and then you can donate by seeing me or mailing me. I will be sending in a collective donation after the marathon.
I was inspired to get back into running in part by the joy of celebrating Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche’s Boston marathon, which also was a benefit for Konchok Foundation. And now I inspired again by his recently released book, “Running with the Mind of Meditation.” What about my actual marathon? The Vermont City Marathon on May 27 is in Burlington, Vermont, and will be my second marathon. Last year, Vermont City Marathon was so well organized and beautiful as a race that I am running the same marathon again. I will happily send my race results and personal marathon training story to all who donate and let me know they have donated. My personal dharma-running story is certain to include such wisdom as “where is the other shore of this giant puddle in the road,” and “if I don’t exist, whose hamstring is tight?”
A gift of any amount will help change the lives of Tibetans in the Kham and Golok regions. Please consider helping me to help the Konchok Foundation at konchok.org .
May 15th, 2012 by Dan Glenn
Instructors Brandon Jellison, Nick Trautz, and Timaree Bierle-Dodds (L-R)
While preparing my introductions of the Running Meditation instructors at last Saturday’s Running with the Mind of Meditation program at the Cambridge Tennis Club, I suddenly realized what an unbelievable team we have here in Boston. It’s not that this wasn’t already clear to me after seeing the group’s diligent preparation for this event over the past several months, but as I gathered the instructors’ “credentials” together I was suddenly floored.
It was no surprise that the program was a great success. Twenty-eight people attended the running workshop as presented in Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche’s new book, Running with the Mind of Meditation. Nick Trautz introduced the principles of mindfulness and meditation practice, Timaree Bierle-Dodds gave sitting meditation instruction, and Brandon Jellison talked about posture and led a round of shamatha yoga practice. We took a warm, sunny afternoon run along the Charles River and afterward discussed our
Brandon gives posture instruction
experience of the practice. Mr. Trautz closed the program by leaving the group with the image of windhorse, which was depicted on the running team’s Boston Shambhala Center shirts.
Nick is a former professional cross-country skier and coach, is pursuing a Ph.D. in Tibetan Buddhist studies, has run seven marathons, and served as a continuity Kusung (sort of like a personal assistant) for Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. Brandon is a professional massage therapist, body worker and health coach, and is about to run his third marathon. Timaree is a registered nurse and skillfully brings the instructions to those interested in applying them to walking and jogging. All three of them have been practicing meditation for around fifteen years. And Jim Egan, who helped with the event but hasn’t formally done the instructor training, has run twenty-five marathons and has been practicing meditation for thirty-five years. You know you have a solid team when the guy not serving as a lead instructor has run twenty-five marathons and practicing for thirty-five years!
A number of people expressed interest in an ongoing running meditation group based out of the Shambhala Center, and the team is raring to go! If you would like to be added to our Running Email List: Email Us!
The group prepares to run with the mind of meditation
Heading to the Charles River for the run
May 7th, 2012 by Dan Glenn
Today is Ashley Goodwin’s birthday! I’d like to take a moment today to express appreciation for all the amazing work she has been doing at the Shambhala Center for the past year.
As you may be aware, Ashley is our beloved Head of Communications and Center Operations. Essentially, she is the motor that keeps the center running day in and day out. She has done fantastic work with our online communication system and website – bravely ushering us into the twenty-first century and beyond. She is a big-picture thinker and is constantly contemplating new ways for the center to reach and inspire new people. At the same time, she juggles hundreds of details on a day-to-day operational level that keep the center going.
Most importantly, Ashley brings to her role tremendous passion and enthusiasm for the Shambhala dharma and for making the world a better place. She warmly welcomes everyone who walks in the door and radiates kindness and wakefulness in working with people.
Thank you, Ashley, for all that you do. And CHEERFUL BIRTHDAY!
May 4th, 2012 by Dan Glenn
Shastri Frank Ryan displayed his prowess as an ever-perceptive observer of the arts this week as he conducted a Q&A session with actor Evan Brenner after Mr. Brenner’s performance in his one-man show, The Buddha: In His Own Words. The show, which was directed by well-known actor John C. Reilly, was performed May 3 and 4 at Redstar Union in Cambridge.
The play, which was adapted from an early Pali canon, takes the story of the Buddha’s life and presents it in a lively, accessible fashion. Mr. Brenner’s charisma and stage presence are fantastic and the show is well worth seeing if the opportunity arises. More information on the show can be found at www.thebuddhaplay.com.
Redstar Union, a new performance space and recording studio in Kendall Square, contacted the Shambhala Center about having a senior teacher in the community conduct the Q&A with Mr. Brenner at the end of the performance. Shastri Ryan proved to be the perfect fit, asking insightful questions about the actor/writer’s approach to creating the play and remarking on aspects of the show that he found particularly poignant and striking.
It was a great opportunity for the Shambhala Center, as we continue to get involved more and more in the local community. Shastri Ryan, Susan Ryan, Ashley Goodwin and I all had the opportunity to speak with audience members after the show, and I introduced Frank and Evan and shared a bit about the center. All in all a delightful evening!
May 3rd, 2012 by Dan Glenn
Last week, Boston University hosted an Earth Week service at Marsh Chapel, with environmentalist Bill McKibben giving the sermon. Shastri Carolyn Krusinski joined five other leaders from various spiritual and faith traditions around the city of Boston in offering an aspiration for our wounded planet.
Shastri Krusinski shared that “2500 years ago Buddha sat down and realized what it meant to be fully human endowed with Basic Goodness. He made the gesture to touch the Earth as his witness.” She went on to say, “Now it is time for all human beings to contemplate together as one global society, who are we as humanity and how can we live in harmony with the earth and protect it.”
Closing the aspiration, Carolyn invoked the Sakyong’s key phrase from his 2011 Shambhala Day address: “May the great society of humanity find the goodness, wisdom, and bravery to act to restore harmony with the Earth. May we be All-Victorious and make the impossible possible!”
Mr. McKibben, who is well known for his tireless work in service of the environment, said in his sermon that it is vital for spiritual traditions of the world not to stand on the sidelines but be active players in the environmental movement. He likened this work to a more “conservative” approach while deeming those whose work, behavior or activity negatively affects the environment in extreme ways “radical.”
More information on Bill McKibben can be found at www.billmckibben.com or the website for the non-profit he founded, www.350.org.
April 10th, 2012 by Dan Glenn
A new Shambhala website just launched: shambhalanews.com. This site emphasizes how Shambhala and Shambhala members engage in compassionate action throughout the world. Boston happens to be prominently featured not once but twice! Our article about the MFA Seeking Shambhala exhibition is there (and includes as video of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche seeing these thangkas during his 2005 visit to Boston), and there is also an article about meditation research studies taking place at MIT.
Take a look!
April 5th, 2012 by Ashley_Hodson
Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche’s brand new book, Running with the Mind of Meditation, hits shelves April 10!
You can help support the book and the Sakyong by:
1) Pre-ordering the book from amazon.com. The pre-order price is a nearly 40% discount and it makes a huge difference in helping the book rise on the bestseller list! Amazon also has the first chapter available to read now!
2) Visit bookstores and ask them if they have the book! This will help spread the word and encourage booksellers to carry the book.
3) Purchase the book at the Shambhala Center!
Our team of Running Meditation Instructors in Boston will be leading a workshop on Saturday, May 12 at the Cambridge Skating Club from 2:00-5:00pm. Click here for more information!
Check out www.runningmind.org for more!
March 22nd, 2012 by Ashley_Hodson
Within open meadows of Le Sirenuse
three sisters still play having abandoned
crystalline flute, lyre’s floating hexachords,
seductive song haunting over tumultuous waves;
no more do they crave the three-masted
battered wooden ships with their crews,
bitter taste of bloodied bronze shields.
As signal bandwidth & wireless networks
effortlessly expand quiet allure
across desert, jungle, tenement, and estate,
those eager for distraction
wend closer and closer
to fresh breakers on
hidden razor shoals.
Algorithms and distributed servers
speed our quests and enrich our lives,
but open ease accompanying
the touch of your skin,
insight dawning within, runs deepest.
Neither binding rawhide nor greasy beeswax,
just tender surrender to every moment.
-Shastri Frank Ryan
March 16th, 2012 by Ashley_Hodson
By Jill Blagsvedt
I was recently invited by Jennifer Lacy, Head of Family Life at the Shambhala Center of Boston, to present some of the Shambhala Art teachings and exercises to the Mindfulness for Children program. First I worked with a group of about ten children, ages 6-10, then a group of about eight tweens and teens. I was supported by colleagues Dan Melish and Esther Seibold who led various meditations.
I had so much fun that I wanted to share what we did and some of the spontaneous poetry that we created. We focused on the Shambhala Art exercises that help us to awaken our senses, and then create from that experience.
We talked about simply experiencing our senses versus thinking about them or thinking we already know what something is like because we see it. We then focused on the sense of touch by feeling objects in paper bags that I had prepared. They felt different objects in the bags, without looking (this was very hard!), with textures of smooth, pokey, sandy, squishy, soft and more. Then we experienced the senses of taste and again touch, over our snack break. Finally we came back together, sat in our meditation postures and in that space allowed our experiences of the felt sense to arise in words.
Those who were brave – adults and children – were then asked to share their poems! Here is a sampling of what arose:
the cracker was salty and crunchy
the carrots were hard to bite and had a crunch
the juice was cold
soothing to the touch
something was squishy and cool
It made me cold
It felt like ice
like “spiky” straws
from a summer barn…
I poke my
boiling in a pot
my scarf went in the pot
sticky, sharp and smooth
grains of rice flowing through fingers
impatience and curiosity
sense and sensibilitysquishy
Interested in exploring Shambhala Arts for yourself?