All posts tagged: Naropa

Relax and Wake Up! Buddhist Teachers Reflect on the Wisdom of the Emotions

By James Schnebly with Jenny Bondurant & Kay Peterson ~~~ Our emotions can lock us in habitual struggle with ourselves and our relationships, yet they are also doorways to our intrinsic wisdom. Out of this understanding, helpful practices have emerged within the tradition of Buddhist tantra.  These practices are based on the understanding that emotional energy falls into five archetypal patterns, or buddha families, which contain different perspectives and relationship styles that can manifest in either a confused or sane way. Jenny Bondurant and Kay Peterson have been working with these teachings and practices for decades, and now lead retreats which provide others with the opportunity to explore the energy of their own emotions, and learn the skills needed to  befriend and welcome all states of mind, just as they are. Recently, I spoke with Jenny and Kay about how their personal relationships to the five buddha families and a bit about the upcoming retreat they’ll be leading at Shambhala Mountain Center.  They had much to say about how engaging with these teachings and practices allow us …

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: Magnanimity, Bhanu, and the Back Nine

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. So sleepy this morning, both of us, and Heather said: “It’s cute that we have temples, huh? Like, my body is a temple, and my temple is a temple… And my temple is my body!” At breakfast, Director Gayner — who is in the midst of high-level Shambhala leadership retreat — in which they practice for 20 hours a day — approached Heather and I with a big grin. “Ahh! Just the two that I was hoping to see.  This is very auspicious.” We nodded, and he went on: “Magnanimity!  Do you know this word?” He’d like for us to come up with a calligraphed presentation of this word along with its definition from the 1812 Oxford English Dictionary (or something like that) as a gift for Richard Reoch, who is leading the retreat. We gladly agreed. ~~~ …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Met My Chest Like a Wedge

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. Stark solidity, tender impermanence — an orange flower.  The perception met my chest like a wedge — heart so sore and radiant. Last night I dreamt of a hologram Ginsberg as a teacher in a classroom.  His words, display, energy, was so inspiring and brilliant — in ways that I often wish for in dharma teachers. I said to someone near me that I’d do anything to get close to a teacher like that. I wish to attend  JKS when I leave SMC.  This is the second truly strong dream that has pointed in that direction so clearly. Heather and I spent the weekend down in Boulder — with our friends Kitty, Matty, and baby Benny; and the Sheffield crew, who I used to travel to the Northeast to see, but now most of us live here in Colorado. Yesterday …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Come with Me — Haiku and Katharine

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. Deep tissue, heavy with ocean — blink and it’s mist. I had accumulated some savings, stability, now all gone to help kin. Yesterday at my desk, and Scott knocked on the door.  I opened and he took me by the arm: “Come with me.” I went with him, wearing the slippers that I wear inside the office. Katharine Kaufman — Zen teacher, poet, spontaneous movement angel, coolest person — had ordered him to do so, saying “Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer.” So I spent the morning with her studying and practicing haiku. I wrote: Wind is cold I am sitting in the shade I’m going indoors and then… The door is ajar The floor is cool People made these things Someone else wrote: Wind outside Fart inside Such suffering I said “That was the best haiku I …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Maybe My Farts Are Luminous Mind

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. This funky smell in the room this morning after tossing and turning all night — dreaming of my tortured kin and the futility of “helping.” Pema talks about letting things fall apart, and other teachers do too, and so do I, and I know I may as well because it’s inevitable.  And, I see my resistance to death manifesting as attempts to try to keep it together, or fix, or ignore reality. So, my plans are like suggestions. Here I am with all of my faculties, for now.  Maybe my gums are disintegrating and my teeth will shatter before I can come up with the $20,000 for surgery.  Maybe my Mom will drop dead before she discovers a good way of living. Maybe I’ll leave Shambhala Mountain Center without having developed the skills necessary to make a good …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Regard All Rainbows

By Travis Newbill 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. Early in the morning, dharma dream — with Xavier, who was encouraging me to come live in Mexico to hang out.  Inside a Theravaden shrine room, I hooked a swing on chains to the wooden rafters on the ceiling — delicate.  And I swung playfully around the room while telling Xavier about Trungpa, Ginsberg, and the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics.  I told him that a decade ago, the moment I heard of the school, after I had just begun reading the beats, I knew for sure that I’d be attending one day.  At that instant, the chain broke through the rafters and I fell flat on my ass — as if punctuating the statement: I will attend JKS. I told Heather about the dream, wrote in my journal, and then walked down the …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Down the Hill, Down the Road

By Travis Newbill 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 group of us piled in the car on Friday, headed down to Boulder.  Rolling down the hill in the sunshine, it was reminiscent of heading to music festivals in the summertime with my old friends. Photo by Paul Bennett We were headed down for a Shambhala program with the Sakyong, Acharya Asreal, and Shastri Ethan Nichtern (my main dharma-teacher-homie from New York City — so cool to connect with him, eat falafel with him, in Colorado!).  Great line-up! A few of us stayed at Marpa House, which is a residential Shambhala-Buddhist co-op sort of place in Boulder.  It felt amazing in there.  I felt quickly that Marpa House will be the next place that I live.  After a couple more years at SMC, after I graduate from Sacred World Assembly, I’ll move to Marpa …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Blissful Who-Knows-What (HUM HUM HUM)

By Travis Newbill 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. Greeting my smile at the bottom of the ocean, therefore unconcerned with flotation or undertow.  Wakeful waves — only the chatter of the depths. Friday evening — Feast celebration for Trungpa Rinpoche‘s Parinirvana.  Sadhana of Mahamudra.  In the middle of the triple HUM recitation — the space of rainbow magic manifest — the Sakyong and the choir of Acharyas, appeared.  We created an isle, parted the sea.  Rinpoche came in and prostrated three times to the large Buddha, which contains his father‘s skull relic, and a picture of the Vidyadhara on the shrine along with many offerings. He gazed at the picture, whispered blessings, and tossed a khata into the seated Buddha’s opened palm (perfect shot). He offered amrita from a skull cup to each one of us.  Then, out front, he said some words …

Q&A: Naropa Professors Discuss “Artistic Process as Life” and Meditation Practice

By Travis Newbill Jane Carpenter and Sue Hammond West will lead Creative Wisdom: Maitri and Art, November 15-17 The idea that artistry begins when the brush hits the canvass and ends when the palette is set down is questionable. An alternative view suggests that eating a pear may be as artistic of an activity as painting a still life. And, in this view, meditation practice is linked to both. In the upcoming program Creative Wisdom: Maitri and Art Naropa University professors Jane Carpenter and Sue Hammond West will present teachings and practices related to artistic discipline as well as meditation practice in order to guide participants in a process of exploring the ways in which we can be more awake as we create art and how we may live our entire lives in a more artistic way. In their words: “This weekend program explores the state before you lay your hand on your brush or your canvas – very basic, peaceful and relaxed. Here art refers to all the activities of our life, including any …