All posts tagged: community

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.    

Reclaiming Prajna

By Jamie Woodworth It’s a widely agreed upon sentiment, among both newcomers and veteran Shambhalians, that this mountain valley has a quality of spaciousness beyond its physical boundaries. It opens up and unfolds more and more as you walk upon it. The feeling is palpable in the wind, and the life—always at play—gregariously engaging. The place has “juice.” You can feel that presence when you first enter. It’s the drala. It converses with you in the moments you experience in-between yourself and the world. It’s awakened by the people who live here, over many cycles of leadership and life. And, if you follow your intuition, your felt sense of this place, you may be guided towards the place we call Prajna. Early photograph of Prajna before remodels done by the Vajra Regent and Sakyong Mipham — provided by Greg Smith. Prajna translates roughly as “transcendental wisdom.” The spirit of that word abides in the history of this site. Prajna was the home of the founder of Shambhala, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche until 1986, then home of …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Summertime Qqueeze

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. My room is full of flies, I’m surrounded by strangers, I’ve not showered in two days.  I missed breakfast.  We’ve been asked to not ask to go into the kitchen to fetch leftovers anymore.  I meditated for too long this morning and now I’m stressed out.  Gonna be late to work.  No shower again.  Gotta take the shit out to the shit bucket.  Later drive it down the hill. Decided to hang out last night. Phish shows in headphones in the forest behind Manjushri house.  Surrendering to summer-time craziness on the land.  Not a time for introspection.  A time for scattered activity and “hanging in there” and/or maybe “hanging out.”  Not much pacing or rhythmic progress. Been reading Ethan’s new book and listening to the Phish shows —  Good. Haven’t been writing the blog because — no time in the morning …

Floral Notes and Bardo: I Drowned a Tick in Booze

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 existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. Recently, Heather and I have been helping to water the seedlings for the community garden.  What seedlings am I watering right now — in the cosmic garden? Compassion feels sore and self-righteousness is a rush.  I want to strengthen my tendency and love for the former, and decrease my lustful craving for the latter.  Buddhism. Yesterday I kicked off my new schedule and was able to practice — meditation, writing — and study — buddhadharma, poetics — and do good work in the marketing office, community service, have some lesiure time and get a good night of sleep.  The leisure time was only partly leisurely. What I really don’t want to write about — and so chose to describe my routine — is the way that I’m feeling about a cultural attitude that I think ought to be …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Rather than to Get High

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 existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. I had to remove those droopy flowers from the shrine.  I don’t know who put them there.  Afterwards, while urinating, I noticed a couple of small rainbows projected onto the wall in front of me.  Thinking “there really are rainbows everywhere,” I glanced over my shoulder and noticed the wall beside me glowing purple — the sun and my sweater mixing, radiating. Previously: Trungpa was in a dream last night, I don’t remember the details.  But, I woke up thinking of Heather, and my mother, and the words — “You’re my peeps.  My closest peeps” — was looping. I’m feeling a bit more settled today, somehow.  The spiritual growth-spurt concept is simply transforming into more luminous regular old reality.  There will never be regular old reality.  And, I feel some caution about speaking openly about this sort of …

Floral Notes and Bardo: I’d Rather Be Practicing

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 existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. “Maybe buns are just plumper nubs.” That’s what Heather just said. Lately I’ve been picking up the bass and playing around.  Yesterday, Will, who lives in the next room over, who probably hears me playing, who is part of this third floor lodge musical awakening, requested that I give him some recordings so that he could work on them in post-production.  He wants to master my stuff…  Convenient! So, lots of encouragement to play and produce. Meanwhile, Jesse the awesome veggie cook offered Cinnimin Bun transmissio last night.  So, a group of people gathered in the kitchen and they all learned how to make the buns.  This morning, Heather and I reaped the rewards. Yummy, warm buns. So many activities like that — community fun variety.  I haven’t been participating in many, because it feels like too much. …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Strangely Apparent

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 existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. Every imagined finger and face appears to be life on a sphere in clear space Last night we sat in a circle and acknowledged the ambiguity of our existence.  We looked at each other and objects in the room, and asked, out loud, about how it is that we are perceiving such things, and why it is that we seem to be individuals even though none of us can come up with a definite proof of separateness. It’s strange. It is said that we’re all here together, experiencing a similar world, because we all share a deep habit of imagining the world to be this certain way — much different than the way that fishes imagine the world. So… here we are. And… here we are. Finally, we acknowledged that there is a lot to explore and called …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Eight of Us, Fine Tea, Jazz (and Later Dub)

By Travis Newbill 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 existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. Reflective ribbons on a passing train, a small one, which runs on imagined tracks through my forest hometown — a bit of a town — a bit of an echo, over and over, and the humble drummer plays along. We had a lovely gathering at the Nubble Nest on Saturday afternoon — eight of us, fine tea, jazz (and later dub) through the small speakers, and small booklets full of big wishes.  Some frustration because it’s not always so easy to have big dreams. We reflected on 2014 and looked ahead to 2015.  It was fun, though I didn’t go too deep.  I was enjoying pouring tea, and I made a quik ikebana (Greg Smith calls it “quikebana”) with some flowers that Anna brought over.  I ate plenty of chocolate and I made some aspirations …