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The Fourth Turning

I feel so fortunate that I had the opportunity to speak with March Wood, of the Washington D.C. Shambhala Center as well as Howard University Divinity School. In the interview below, she describes not only how she catalyzed Shambhala to send her classmates from the Howard University Divinity School to a weekend program at Karme Choling with Acharya Gaylon Ferguson, but also her conviction in the power of the Shambhala teachings to help the black community at this pivotal and turbulent point in human history.

Bottom row from left to right: Endia Sowers, Deborah Marshall (Meditation Instructor), Acharya Gaylon Ferguson (Retreat Director), Erin Johnson, Esq., Chiquita Richardson Top row from left to right: Rashid Hughes, Alice Bellis, March M. Wood (DC Co-coordinator), Donna Lawson, Cleon Peoples Not pictured: Jennifer LaTara Nash, Cara Thornley (KCL Co-coordinator)

Bottom row from left to right: Endia Sowers, Deborah Marshall (Meditation Instructor), Acharya Gaylon Ferguson (Retreat Director), Erin Johnson, Esq., Chiquita Richardson
Top row from left to right: Rashid Hughes, Alice Bellis, March M. Wood (DC Co-coordinator), Donna Lawson, Cleon Peoples
Not pictured: Jennifer LaTara Nash, Cara Thornley (KCL Co-coordinator)


Original Peace in Chicago

As I was researching how different centres are harvesting peace, I had the opportunity to interview several Shambhalians who offered to tell me more about the work they are involved with. Here, Shastri David Stone describes Chicago Shambhala’s approach to social engagement and their work with other organizations to curb youth violence and promote peace in the city of Chicago.


Harvesting Peace in 2015

I’ve been so inspired to watch as centres and Shambhalians turn the flower outward more and more. In honour of Harvest of Peace 2015, I made a short video of a few brief examples of Shambhala engagement – enjoy!


A February day in the life of Shambhala : Southern and Northern Hemispheres!

Almost on the same day, friends sent me delightful photos of Shambhala community events in Chile and Vermont.

"                               "In Vermont, the community arranged an outing to meditate in deep snow!

 

 

Candlin Dobbs told me "“It is surprisingly nice to sit in a snow bank!”

Candlin Dobbs told me ““It is surprisingly nice to sit in a snow bank!”

 

 

 

 

 

And in Chile, the photo shows some of our sangha in the swimming pool with Acharya Eve Rosenthal (centre) who was leading a meditation retreat outside Santiago!

A weekthun in Chile is called a “semanathun”

A weekthun in Chile is called a “semanathun”

I’m really excited to see many more of our worldwide communities in our Shambhala Day roll call film that will play at centres on Shambhala Day! Please take care in the snow or the heat in these last don days of the year—wherever you are– and I look forward to being with everyone online on Shambhala Day!


Hooray for Shambhala Chicago and Shambhala Boston!

I am so inspired by the partnerships that the Sakyong and our Shambhala Centres have forged recently in Chicago and Boston. We are really taking major steps outwards, and engaging with our wider communities. 

As a result, 16 front-line community organizations in Chicago are now receiving meditation instruction to help their staff on the streets and in the city’s troubled classrooms. “Shambhala is a great resource for our city,” one of their leaders told the Sakyong last month.

Click the ‘play’ arrow below to listen to a 9-minute audio interview with Acharya Arawana Hayashi, who speaks of her experience of being at the recent Chicago events with the Sakyong.


In Boston, Shambhala is engaging with the Arlington Street Church. The church will be running a multi- week course on The Shambhala Principle. The Sakyong gave a public talk there recently on the anniversary of the marathon bombing. Reverend Kim sprang a surprise ‘thank you’ to the Sakyong at the end of the evening: the church’s historic bells rang out with the Shambhala Anthem over the city! Click the ‘play’ arrow below to listen to this surprising rendition of the Shambhala Anthem on church bells!


I’d love to hear experiences from any of you who were also present in either Chicago or Boston, if you’d like to leave a comment!


Why are people mumbling more these days?

Did you know that I am also an audiologist? I just wrote an article on hearing loss for our community magazine, The Shambhala Times – click here to read it.

I’d love to hear your comments and questions either here (click here to leave a comment) or on the Shambhala Times article!


Very poignant photo from riots in the Ukraine

Linus Bewley, a member of the London Shambhala Centre, shared this photo with a friend of mine in January, who then shared it with me. 

When the world is filled with evil, transform all mishaps onto the path of the bodhi

When the world is filled with evil, transform all mishaps onto the path of bodhi

It came from the BBC news website, with the caption “Saxophonist plays in front of burning fires in Central Kiev” (22nd January 2014). This Saxophonist seemed unfazed by the chaos surrounding him.”   Linus said, “I am a saxophonist myself, and  this Bodhi slogan instantly came to mind for me looking at this.”

To me, it is such a deep expression of this musician’s broken heart and, if I may say, the unconditionality of basic goodness.   Thank you so much, Linus.

The Ukraine situation is daily more desperate and dangerous. Please hold the Ukrainian people in your hearts and practice—we have a centre in Kiev with 24 members/friends, and beyond that, all of the Ukrainian people who are suffering in their country right now.


Can you suggest films for Shambhala Film Soirées?

I am inspired to start a Shambhala Film Soirée tradition in my home over the winter, inviting people to eat and drink together, and watch films that spark conversation about Shambhala vision. They can either communicate Shambhala principles directly, or sometimes expose setting sun mentality in an insightful way.  I would love it if you could suggest movies that you have been particularly impressed by!

I’ll start us off with a few of my favourites. Please add to the list by posting in the comments field below.

The Lives of Others (German: “Das Leben der Anderen” with English subtitles):  This movie does both.  It illustrates, very powerfully, the transformation that human beings are capable of when basic goodness is experienced.  Set in East Berlin.
Bagdad Café (also known as Out of Rosenheim) is a 1987 German film directed by Percy Adlon.
Babette’s Feast (DanishBabettes gæstebud) is a 1987 Danish drama film directed by Gabriel Axel.

Dynamic new video of the Sakyong

Karen Yaeger, of the New York Shambhala Centre, produced this dynamic little video of the Sakyong in order to advertise his upcoming teaching event in November. I think it is really fresh and inspiring!

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche: Enlightened Society from Shambhala New York City on Vimeo.


“When you sat in meditation, you taught the mountains stillness…”

I was so moved to watch this video of Francesca Fremantle, offering one of the poems she wrote about Trungpa Rinpoche. She offered it at the recent Awake in the World festival in London—marking fifty years since Trungpa Rinpoche came to the West.  For those of you who don’t know her, Francesca is a very early student of Trungpa Rinpoche, who worked with him on translating The Tibetan Book of the Dead.  Enjoy…


(Video courtesy of President Reoch)