Did you know that the Shambhala teachings are practiced and communicated in over 20 different languages? We are a community rich in cultural and linguistic diversity – and to support and cultivate that aspect of our community, I am extremely happy to announce that Ms Sophie Leger is joining the Kalapa Executive as the new Director of Multilingual Development.
And to demonstrate our commitment to multilingualism, we conducted part of the interview en français!
The Imagining Peace Conference opens Friday night, April 26, with a talk by the Sakyong followed the next day, Saturday April 27, with the Youth Congress on Peace. Sunday, April 28, will be a day of Peace Practices. You may remember my last post, in which Acharya Lobel offered a glimpse of the view and plans at that point. Over the past several weeks, the Shambhala Times has also been publishing a series of articles describing the amazing partner meetings and preparations laying the ground for this historic event.
Aarti Tejuja, one of the key organizers of the event from the Chicago Shambhala Center, wrote a beautiful letter to the Shambhala community in the greater midwest United States, and I want to share some of the highlights here:
“We were presented with a unique opportunity when our head international teacher, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, said he was coming to Chicago to lead a special event. He asked us to determine what kind of program we could put on that could address a core societal issue in our region and be helpful to the whole community.
One issue presented itself with great prominence. Local and national news media were reporting that nearly 700 children were hit by gunfire last year in Chicago. This is an average of two children per day. 66 children died. Over the past three years, nearly one-thousand children and teens were killed in the State of Illinois from violence. We came up with multiple ideas for many different programs, but this one issue kept returning. How could we live here, in Chicago, and turn away from the fact that today, more youth are killed in Chicago than in any other major US city?
We in Chicago Shambhala have never held a program that holds so much meaning to us. We’ve partnered with organizations that work with violence every day. We’ve brought the city of Chicago to the table to work with us to look deeper into this issue. We’ve invited youth leaders, many who were at one time involved directly in the violence, and some who are still plagued by it every day.
As practitioners, we have developed some confidence that the first step toward peace in our own lives is in learning how to develop loving kindness toward ourselves. Without that, it becomes very difficult to extend kindness to others. These two kindnesses are at the core of Shambhala teachings and at the heart of what this program is about; it’s about the lives we lead, by ourselves, in our families, in our neighborhoods and cities. It is not only about violence in a city that’s far removed or in neighborhoods that we can stay away from; it’s about the inner and outer environment that each one of us is generating from this moment to the next moment. This is relevant to our lives whether we live in Chicago, Akron or a small town. Peace in our mind, life and community arises from direct contact with our own sense of worthiness and goodness. Having discovered that, we can take the bold step of discovering the basic goodness of society.”
This event is a milestone in our lineage.
Acharya Adam Lobel, who has been instrumental in helping in the development of this program, recently highlighted three reasons in his communication to the Shambhala Sangha. You can view his full letter here. The most important reason, he said, is that “this event will be a milestone in the history of our lineage. We will be taking a major step in the process of creating enlightened society by directly engaging a challenging and pressing societal issue: youth violence. For anyone curious about the meeting place of our profound practice lineage and social transformation, this event is not to be missed. For anyone longing to directly heal this world, this event is not to be missed.”
Please visit http://imaginingpeace.com/ or visit the facebook page for the event to learn more.
This morning I had another conversation with Kalapa Acharya Adam Lobel. He shared his experience about being part of the planning team for the upcoming “Imagining Peace” events, and sharing our Shambhala Vision of a society based on Basic Goodness with co-organizers working to combat youth violence in Chicago.
Click on the plus sign to listen to the 5-minute recording.
As always, I invite you to share your thoughts in the comments!
Many of you have likely corresponded over the years with Mr. David Brown, the longest-serving employee of Shambhala! At 6’3″, he is also the tallest employee of Shambhala. And here’s a little quiz for you to respond to in the comments: what does David Brown have in common with Steve McQueen, Cole Porter, and Michael Jackson?
As Executive Secretary to the Sakyong, David responds to daily communications, correspondences, audience requests and queries directed to the Sakyong and Shambhala, making sure that requests for interviews, audiences, transmissions, and letters of support, are all responded to appropriately. He responds to queries regarding the authorization of the use of written materials, calligraphies, poetry, and photographs of the Sakyong. He also oversees the Sakyong’s daily and annual schedules of teaching and travel, and ensures that important materials of the Sakyong are archived and recorded – watch this video for a wonderful example!
You might not know that David is also an accomplished artist, or that he spends all year getting ready for April Fool’s Day – it’s coming soon…
In the photo collage of Kalapa Executives, you will see that there are two conspicuously blank squares – they are holding the place for two key positions that are currently unfunded, and therefore unfilled. That doesn’t mean that no work is being done in those areas, however! Today I want to give you a few fun facts about the work being done in the Office of Practice of Education by our two “peonies” (get it? P&E!), Jill Scott and Maggie Colby.
Last year, the Office of Practice and Education reviewed and processed approximately 700 applications for advanced programs, including Warrior Assemblies, Enlightened Society Assemblies, Sacred World Assembly, Rigden Abhisheka, and Scorpion Seal Assembly Year 1.
And Maggie, our International Programs Manager, reports the following statistics about her work to support our advanced international programs around the world, recorded since last March:
- Number of 2012 International Programs worked on: 17.
- Emails sent between March and October 2012: approximately 2500.
- Number of international programs attended in a working capacity: 8.
- Days spent working on location at those programs: 75.
- Staff meetings attended at those programs: 128.
- Travel hours logged (in the air and on the road): 90.
- Beds slept in (alone!): 15.
- Number of banquets/feasts attended: 10.
- Number of banquet toasts and offerings present for: 38.
Whew! That’s a lot of staff meetings. Want to see other fun facts? Let me know in the comments!