Life at SMC

[WATCH] Townhall with Michael Gayner from Sat. Oct. 3

Town Hall meeting with Michael Gayner, in which he shares the latest information and answers questions regarding the impact of the Cameron Peak Fire on SMC.

Timeline of topics and questions

3:00 – Future email updates
4:00 – Gratitude for support
4:50 – Yesterday’s visit – firefighters
5:25 – Cameron Peak Fire and Mullen Fire “We’re not out of the woods yet”
7:00 – “Nature is already beginning to reclaim and rebuild”
7:30 – The rebuilding of SMC
8:30 – Staff housing
9:30 – The finances of SMC
10:15 – Reopening
11:50 – Insurance – “insurance will not cover everything that is lost”
14:10 – What was lost and what survived (Kami Shrine, Tori Gate, MPE Kitchen are still there)
15:45  – What are the “legacy staff buildings?” Which are gone, which are still standing?
17:30  – Tent platforms
17:45  – General return to the land for staff – safety, finances, etc.
20:00  – Volunteer work
21:00  – Stupa art work – status and restoration
21:55  –  Opening for visitors and programs
22:50  – Security
24:45  – Questions submitted: “If something is not addressed on this Zoom, know that we’re not ignoring them.”
25:00  – How was the Stupa not burned? Was it damaged in any way?
26:11  – Stupa contents
26:35  – Kami Shrine
27:20  – The charnel grounds
29:00  – The bridge to the Stupa
29:10  – The extent of the smoke damage
29:45  – Fire optic cable
30:35  – Windhorse Hill and Hayagriva and Kyudo Range – untouched by fire
31:00  – Bathhouses
31:15  – Downtown -everything was saved
31:35  – Maintenance shop, water and wastewater facilities – all in tact
32:50  – Pushpa (lost), Shotoku, Garden, Greenhouse (saved)
33:40  – Was anybody hurt?
34:00  – How many SMC staff are displaced?
34:45  – List of needed items or services?
35:00 –  Staff who lost their homes
36:00 –  What animal life was destroyed?
37:00  – Kitchen, food, etc. – we gave 500 lb to food banks
37:35  – With this outpouring of support, will SMC become more welcoming to the local community?
39:30 – Is it possible to lock up the Stupa?
40:45 – The Heart Stupa – fully in tact
41:15 – How are the neighboring communities? Wolf sanctuary?
43:00 – Volunteering & Rebuilding
45:20 – “What is SMC?” – going forward, online programs, etc.
48:30 – What practices would be helpful? – tonglen, Vajrasattva, Mogyal Pomra
50:20  – “We’re running out of time for questions, but there isn’t anything that anyone sent in that isn’t going to be addressed. If you feel like it’s not being addressed, let us know. There’s nothing that we’re not willing to talk about.”
51:00 – Chakrasamvara program in the spring (and all other programs)?
51:55  – COVID-safe programs?
54:00 – Clear information around finance?
55:20 – Ownership and insurance policies – Shambhala USA and SMC
57:45  – Governance at SMC
58:20 – How to increase monthly donations
59:30 – Other sanghas doing fundraising
1:00:30 – Going forward – updates, what is helpful, etc.
1:01:40 – Thank you


  1. This is very eye opening and concerning
    We should try to thinkore towards this
    This was Very informative
    Thanks for sharing it with us

  2. Judy Sullivan says

    Hi Michael, Can you tell me if the thangkhas were left in the stupa or taken off the land for safety. If left in the stupa, why was this decision made? As a South Asian art historian is the sangha I know smoke can do a lot of damage to thangkhas. I assume Greg Smith up there knows about this as well. SMC was on fire alert for over a week, why aren’t these items brought to safety? The stupa could not protect from smoke damage. Has there been any plan made over the last 20 years on how to save artworks in case of fire?

  3. Sherry Lewis says

    Thank you so much for providing this information and the pictures! I look forward to helping to restore this special place.

  4. Sue Coffman says

    I enjoyed the live update; it makes it feel more “real” and so much more imperative to help out! And keep up the email communications, they have meant so much to me. The pictures too.

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