Month: October 2013

Halloween Special: What to Do with a House Full of Demons?

“One evening Milarepa returned to his cave after gathering firewood, only to find it filled with demons. They were cooking his food, reading his books, sleeping in his bed. They had taken over the joint. He knew about nonduality of self and other, but he still didn’t quite know how to get these guys out of his cave. Even though he had the sense that they were just a projection of his own mind—all the unwanted parts of himself—he didn’t know how to get rid of them. So first he taught them the dharma. He sat on this seat that was higher than they were and said things to them about how we are all one. He talked about compassion and shunyata and how poison is medicine. Nothing happened. The demons were still there. Then he lost his patience and got angry and ran at them. They just laughed at him. Finally, he gave up and just sat down on the floor, saying, “I’m not going away and it looks like you’re not either, so …

A Letter from the Director on the Passing of Shibata Sensei XX

Dear Friends, At the passing of Onyumishi Kanjuro Shibata XX, I want to take this opportunity to express my deep sadness and heartfelt appreciation. Shibata Sensei was an exemplar of warriorship. In the last year of his life, he visited Shambhala Mountain Center on a number of occasions in response to a request from the staff to teach warriorship and revitalize the practice of Kyudo at the mountain center. Despite his obvious frailty and need for oxygen at the higher elevation, he came and shared his profound teachings with us. He also invited the staff to his dojo in Boulder, to take first shot with him. This was a warrior for whom there was never a moment of holding back. This Friday, Sensei will be cremated at Shambhala Mountain Center. We are grateful for this opportunity to pay our respects and support Sensei and the family during this transition. We will be sending further details on Thursday. Yours in the dharma, Michael Gayner Executive Director Shambhala Mountain Center Details of Cremation Ceremony at SMC on …

Seeing Beauty in Our Imperfections

by Alison Litchfield I love fall when the leaves turn their bright colors, the air is crisp and the farmers market is alive with the abundance of the harvest. I always feel a pull to turn inward, make soup and laze around more, though the outer world doesn’t always support that. There is a great paradox being reflected in nature this time of year. As the trees turn their brilliant colors, they remind us of our hearts’ inner brilliance and as the leaves fall, we know on some level we are being asked to let go. In this way, nature gives us permission to let old patterns fall apart and go back to the void so we can clear the way for something new to emerge. One of my favorite Hindu goddesses is Kali who is also known as the Goddess of Destruction. When you first see an image of her, she looks scary but she is actually quite beautiful in her rawness. Kali shows up commonly in yogic art.  She is the one with …

An Invitation from Our Thanksgiving Hosts

Greetings friends, We are so delighted to be spending Thanksgiving at beautiful Shambhala Mountain Center next month and we hope that many of you can join us. We’ll make ourselves into a community for these fews days, sharing a variety of human delights: meditation, yoga, the Stupa, the wonderful SMC fall weather, food, drink, music and family. Our plan for the three days is simple: to create a warm and vibrant space where we can share good cheer, good food and good conversation with one another. Mornings will include children’s activities so parents can join in yoga and/or meditation practice sessions. Afternoons can be spent together (we’re planning a short guided hike up to the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya for a tour of its many wonders), or on your own, reading, wandering and resting. In the evenings we invite you to bring your favorite musical instrument–or simply your music appreciation–and relax with us by the lodge fireplace in song (and, if you’re so inspired, in the added glow of Chanukah lights). Oh, and for Thanksgiving …

The Story Behind the 2013 Summer Dathun Portraits

  Last week on this blog, we shared photographs of twelve Dathun participants taken before and after their month long meditation retreat. This week we’d like to share a bit about the gifted photographer who took these portraits and a bit about the unique process she used to do it. Karen O’Hern is a Colorado-based photographer who travels the globe with her large camera and enormous heart, capturing images that reveal the deep beauty of the world and humanity. She is a true “Humanitarian Photographer.” We encourage you to visit Karen’s webpage in order to learn more about this artist, her amazing journey, and to view a gallery of images that will break your heart wide open–we promise. We’re so grateful that Karen turned her love and lens towards these Dathun participants this past summer, and we’re glad to share with you here some words from her regarding the process.  From Karen:  The instructions I gave the participants: Prior to taking their portrait, I explained that this would not be what they were used to …