All posts filed under: Life at SMC

water writing: homage

By Katharine Kaufman Shibata Sensei is so old that it takes two people to prop him upright. Yoshiko holds his left side. She is the daughter of Zen master, Kobun Chino. We are here, at the home-made Zendo, in a small dip in the Santa Cruz mountains, because it’s the 10th anniversary of Kobun’s death. Kobun’s expression of being came from the natural depth of what it is to be human and nature. Every body has it. He told me not to speak of it so much, as if my saying the words, original nature, chipped something away from the type of beauty that is also truth. When my friend Janet Solyntjes hosted him at Naropa College she did all these things for him. She registered students for the class, drove him where he wanted to go and made sure he had a place to stay where the sound of the refrigerator was only a quiet hum. In the end he thanked her for the glass of water she gave him to drink once, before …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Slip Slidin’ Away

Sadness as this moment, world we’ve built, slips away.  Two weeks from today, Heather leaves the land.  I’ll stay, and we’ll move to Boulder together August 1, after I come out of Sacred World Assembly — a big retreat that feels like graduation. I’ll stay on with SMC, working part-time, doing the blog, email, marketing thing while I study poetry, grad school. I’m going to sing some songs, I think.  Last night, it was raining on the cabin — oh the cabin, which was hell a year ago, overrun with mice, no toilet.  This time around mice haven’t been so bad and we’ve got a little camping toilet in the closet.  It’s still a bit of a chore to clean it out, but… legit. This perch: The northeast corner of the room is my zone.  We have sheets hung from the ceiling that roll down and up.  When down, they form a princess bed situation for Heather, and for me, a meditation-secret-movements, sacred space. I’ve got a window that looks out across the valley to …

Celebrating the Garden Project

We spent this past snowy May Day morning celebrating an incredible act of generosity that has made a real impact on our community culture here at Shambhala Mountain Center — the sponsorship of the SMC Garden Project by the Aida & Mike Feldman Philanthropic Trust & the Feldman Family. This grant allowed us to build a geodesic dome greenhouse last September, which has provided over 2,000 pounds of food (mostly greens), and also allowed us to purchase a bright red Massey Ferguson tractor, which has helped our land & forestry crews immensely. We gathered with Sonia Feldman (granddaughter of Aida and Mike) and Larry Rich from the foundation, along with members of the SMC community and governing council for brunch festivities: beautiful foods prepared with the microgreens grown in the greenhouse, speeches & toasts to the shared experience, and a tour of the greenhouse. Watch the slideshow below to see how this project came together! Our deep gratitude goes out to the Feldman Family Foundation for giving our aspirations the chance to become physical reality, and for supporting our …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Yossi’s goodbye party

Faces ’round the fire yearning for the sun Singing Sublime at times Reflecting on the compassion of mosh-pit culture, the vajra world, and judgmentalness towards “new-agey” teachers Extending the snap of the fingers New moon, so a million stars Oh lord — Kumbaya/Namaste SMC staff, laughing — having made it through the winter A good gathering before the volunteers, and summer, arrive. Yossi’s goodbye party. — April 7, 2016 Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a regular feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of living as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. About the Author Travis Newbill is a writer, musician, and aspirant on the path of meditation.  He currently resides at Shambhala Mountain Center, where he handles the SMC Blog, and other marketing tasks. He also gives tours of the Great Stupa and is empowered as a Shambhala Guide — a preliminary teaching position.  TravisNewbill.com

Floral Notes and Bardo: Parinirvana Poem

I heard your call and came to your doorstep Basked in your radiance and wondered about your secret quarters I sung for you, waiting, admiring your absence while unable to escape you I have stayed and relaxed quite a lot — although my bladder is full Relaxing further I know I’ll discover flakes of gold in my urine You’re in me I mine gold Perplexed is the poet beside the singing bird on a ponderosa bough Blue is my wonder surrounded by sun Gold is how gone I’ve become — April 4, 2016 Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a regular feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of living as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. About the Author Travis Newbill is a writer, musician, and aspirant on the path of meditation.  He currently resides at Shambhala Mountain Center, where he handles the SMC Blog, and other marketing tasks. He also gives tours of the Great Stupa and is empowered as a Shambhala Guide …

Life Since Meditation

The first time I tried to meditate I was nine or ten years old, with my best friend Emily in the basement laundry room of my house. We picked out some cushions, played a Native American flute CD on my boom box, lit some incense and repeated “oommmmmmmm” over and over in unison, hands resting on our knees, thumbs and pointer fingers pressed together. In retrospect I’m not sure what we thought we were doing — but we had a good time doing it.  This was a typical kind of activity for us — exploring something we’d probably heard about through our new-agey liberal moms — or just trying to understand our world, ourselves, looking for magic, wonder, new frontiers. These pursuits also included writing letters to fairies (with the occasional response), mixing up flower petals and household chemicals for spells in our Potion Room, doing rain dances, and contacting spirits with the Ouija Board. At the heart of our adventures was a quest for something of the supernatural — a glimmering reflection of what …

Watch: Chapman University at SMC

This January, a group of students from Chapman University, a liberal arts school in southern California, visited Shambhala Mountain Center for a course titled: Ancient Wisdom, Modern Madness: Mind, “Self”, and Society in Tibetan Buddhism. This collaboration between Chapman and SMC began in 1992, established by Michele Kiloran, which makes this most recent visit the 24th year. The majority of the course is held at Chapman’s campus, with the pinnacle being the ten-day retreat at SMC. Students have the opportunity to learn about traditional Tibetan Buddhism as well as the more secular teaching of Shambhala, with activities ranging from Ikebana, calligraphy, Kasung practice, yoga, Kyudo, and other aspects of Shambhala culture. There is also a fundamental emphasis on meditation and mindfulness practice. As a recent Chapman graduate myself, it was interesting to see this course in action and to experience the integration of these two worlds. Film student Jason Segal created the beautiful video montage above documenting the Chapman experience. You can visit his website here to see more of his work.