Month: February 2014

SMC to Host Young Sangha Retreat

By Duncan  McNaught It’s great to take time to sit and reflect in an environment that helps us uplift ourselves; to refresh by connecting with what’s important in our lives – inspiration and heart. Young sangha members have been meeting for retreat at Shambhala Mountain Center for a number of years now, with generous pricing offered by SMC to assist those of us who often don’t have much money for retreat. The foundation of this retreat will be to practice meditation in an “intensive” way together and to support each other in this practice. In addition, we’ll include activities such as a visit to the Kami Shrine and the Great Stupa. Depending on the skills and inclination of the attendees, we may also include Kasung drill practice, yoga, and other mindfulness-awareness practices. We’ll be living as a close community for the retreat, and we’ll plan our activities so as to include everyone.                                                 …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Stew in Space, and…How to Rule?

  Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a daily feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. Clapping muscles. Fangs into popsicle–shock like a bell, breastbone. Dirt in mid air–my dirt, your dirt, our dirt. Tears, mud. How else would we know this stuff but to care enough to tumble together? ~~~ President Reoch leading a fireside chat. Everything that happens here, happens in a big way. Little things happen in big ways. It can be like throwing a dart at a barn, or being bit by a pterodactyl (rather than a mosquito). Last weekend, President Reoch lead The Six Ways of Ruling. Amazing teacher, amazing teachings on leadership from the Shambhala tradition. To begin with–leading one’s life. My life is like a stew and I don’t feel like I’m holding the bowl or spoon. I may be the steam rising off the top, or a slice of potato. It’s a rich stew–dharma practice, romance, work, and a …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Contemplative Super Bowl Party/Groundhog Day

  Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a daily feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. Brighter still, the glow. In the hallway, we were strangers, now your freckles are almost unbearable. ~~~ Before celebrating friendship via Super Bowl party I celebrated Groundhog Day with Heather. It’s an important holiday for her. We had a nice morning walk around the land, to the Stupa. Maple the prairie dog saw her shadow. Delicious Colorado beer and all sorts of lovely conversation–dharmic, about being an artist, relationship stuff, society stuff. Friendly talk on all sorts of topics, the game was on in the background. Focusing on the television felt unnatural. It was difficult to do–I’m way out of practice. There were warm bodies in the room, there was no center of attention–especially not the TV. The beer was delicious. The conversation was heartfelt, so enjoyable. Great laughs, and I tried to explain the connection between Phish …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Love is a BOOM

  Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a daily feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. A thousand things we can’t see, in our tea-cup, and yet our reflection on the surface–warm, cooling, gone. Mr. Cushman sent out a homework assignment for Joy class— Question 1. Contrast “awakened heart” and “love” On my way up to the Stupa yesterday afternoon to do chores, I let the question bounce around and eventually said to myself: Love is a more complete exhalation Awakened heart is a spark, love is a fire Awakened heart is a pop, love is a BOOM Awakened heart is a nod, love is surrender ~~~ I have felt myself become a bit slack in my Dekyong duty recently. This weekend I’m participating in a program called The Six Ways of Ruling, which will be lead by Richard Reoch, the President of Shambhala. I had the honor of interviewing him about the teachings …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Things I Like, Yum

  Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a daily feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. Funky rhythm, sweet peaks. I can taste her all the time. Groggy, high, and love-struck lately. Heather tasting the snow:   In other news: The other night at dinner…it was Erik’s birthday. We didn’t have a cake or candles for him, so we kept suggesting that he make a wish before blowing our minds. Erik is a  mind-blowing sort of guy–super sharp intellect and full of amazing facts and figures. Most importantly, though, he gets a huge kick out of the whole thing. His smile is blinding. He’s fascinated by reality. He wants to know about everything. He requested that we not sing the traditional birthday song for him, but instead, sing the Shambhala birthday song. He likes that one. “We wish you a cheerful birthday! A joyous and cheerful birthday! To our friend _________ We wish …

Floral Notes and Bardo: A Crazy Thing I Made

  Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a daily feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. Ghost-pepper sneeze of truth, came out a like a face-fart aspiring to be a sonnet. If you love me, you’ll understand. If you love me, you must be able to accomodate these types of things. If we’re going to really be friends, you must forgive farts of all sorts and be unafraid to cry if pepper dust from my stupid-sneeze hits you in the eye. I’m sorry. I forgive you. Thank you. I love you. A formula for friendship? ~~~ This is Avajra John posing with a crazy thing I made for him. The other night an impromptu gathering in Heather’s room–craft jam. I made a crazy thing for Avajra John, Heather made New Year’s cards for her Vietnameese friends, and Dorian worked on a figure drawing. I’ve been up past my bedtime so much recently. I’ve not been singing in …

Cupid and the Buddha: Acharya Allyn Lyon Discusses Love

Love it or lump it, it’s February and Valentine’s Day is approaching. Nevermind the consumerism, let’s get to the heart of the holiday—love. In Buddhism, the word love is deeply nuanced and embraces the totality of our experience—both the joy and the tears. In the teachings on loving-kindness, it is unconditional and extended to everyone, including ourselves. We interviewed Acharya Allyn Lyon, a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition, about the complex relationship between loving-kindness and romantic love.  What is loving-kindness? Loving-kindness is fundamentally letting people be who they are and being interested in who they are. It also includes wishing others well. Wishing that all beings could be happy, that they could be free from suffering and that they realize their basic goodness. You start with a wish and an intention.  Then you do what you can to be helpful.  How does romantic love tie in with loving-kindness? Romantic love is always a challenge because it often begins with infatuation. Infatuation is not seeing others as they are.  You leave out a lot. …

Engaging the Rhythms of Our Living Earth Part 2

By Martin Ogle Martin Ogle will be leading Gaia: Engaging the Rhythms of Our Living Earth, March 21-23 In the previous blog post, I briefly introduced the scientific view of Earth as a living system. In the quest to Engage the Rhythms of our Living Planet, let us expand our exploration . . . When James Lovelock returned to England from working with NASA, a friend and neighbor was none other than William Golding, author of Lord of the Flies. Upon hearing Lovelock’s ruminations of a living planet, Golding urged his friend to name the idea “Gaia,” after the Greek Goddess of Earth. He felt this would honor the fact that Western science was rediscovering what ancient Western Culture held sensed mythically: that Earth is alive and that we are a part of her life. The mythical connection reminded us, that the human mind has, indeed, co-evolved seamlessly with a living Earth. When, in the distant past, ancestral humans crossed a threshold of mental development to acquire self-awareness and awareness of time similar to that of …

Mind, Body, Earth: We Are Part of A Living System (AUDIO)

  Martin Ogle will be leading Gaia: Engaging the Rhythms of Our Living Earth, March 21-23 In this interview, Naturalist Martin Ogle discusses Gaia Theory, which is the idea that Earth and everything on the surface of Earth–water, air, rock, and organisms–together form a living system. The minds and bodies of human beings, he says, are a powerful component. For more from Martin Olge, check out his two part series on our blog: Engaging the Rhythms of Our Living Earth–part 1 and part 2 We hope that you enjoy this interview. If you’d like to download the audio file, CLICK HERE and find the “Download” button. Otherwise, you can stream the interview below.

Avajra John Presents: The Perfect Rice

By Travis Newbill In order to clarify the confusion of all sentient beings attempting to make rice, we present another installment of Avajra John‘s pithy kitchen wisdom. There are quite a few different approaches to making rice. Each of the different approaches works well. This can be confusing. There are some 40,000 varieties of rice from around the world. Short-grain and long-grain brown rice, basmati rice, jasmine rice, Arborio, and Koshihikari from Japan are some commonly available varieties. In each of these different rice cultures around the world, there are recipes for making perfect rice that is considered a high art within that culture. So let’s simplify this and start at square one: Cook the rice on the stove top or in the oven. Use a pot or pan with a good, tight-fitting cover. Use the proportion of one cup of rice to one and a half cups of water. Use cold water. Put the rice and the water together in the pot or pan and cover tightly. Bring the rice and water to a …