I went to the Boulder Shambhala Center to get meditation instruction on the recommendation of a Buddhist monk I met on Twitter in 2011. I was working in a stressful industry, and the teachings in the Way of Shambhala classes and retreats felt fresh and immediately applicable to my life. My shamatha practice became daily. I took Shambhala, Refuge, and Bodhisattva vows. I sat a weekthün. The usefulness of shamatha practice and the teachings bowled me over.
The birth of my child extended my sense of self outside my body quite naturally. What had been inside was now outside, me but not me at all. A wild river of lovingkindness burst forth. My practicechanged to rely almost exclusively on mindfulness in everyday life and returning to being with my baby as the situation was, letting go of frustration, desire for sleep, and resentment. This was only possible because of the formal sitting practice I'd already had. I was so grateful that I resolved to help families to practice meditation together, whether parents had experience when their children were born or not. Now, I am co-teacher of a family program at my center in San Antonio, and have found a good daily meditation routine (Shambhala, shamatha/vipassana) again, and do White Tara as well the Shambhala Sadhana regularly.
As a sangha, we are making space for children as a way to create enlightened society. This suits San Antonio, as a city where families do things together; I understand, because I'm taking my child with me to Warrior's Assembly, since they would be heartbroken if I left them voluntarily for two weeks. (Even just sitting down to practice can still be perceived as a competitor for my precious attention as well!)
When we return, we will both have a deeper connection to both the Dharma and the lineage to help support our small center at the edge of the mandala. (My child first circumambulated the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya in utero, and came with me to ESA as well.) There is no time to lose - parents and teachers model behavior for children and students. The further along my own path I am, the better I can help my child, and help support other sangha parents do the same.
I am a householder in a lineage of householder yogis (Shambhala, Nyingma, Karma Kagyü), with a corporate job, a spouse, and a preschooler. I have been saving for Warrior Assembly since I attended Enlightened Society Assembly a few years ago, but find myself in the position of being a contractor instead of a full-time employee during a career transition into a new industry. This solves my usual problem of having enough vacation days for both family togetherness and longer retreats, but instead causes a sudden money problem: we can't afford to forgo two weeks of my income. (As a contractor, I simply get paid for the time I work, so if I take time off our family income goes down.)
Even a partial income replacement sum would help. Donating airline miles would also help, since I could then take the money I have saved for flights to use for expenses. All help, however small, is welcome.
Not yet announced
Shambhala has taken an approach of softening hard minds with shamatha/vipassana meditation practice and Mahayana sadhana practices, practically delivered for Western householder conditions with jobs and children that also need attention from the practicioner, before students enter the vajrayana. I am a Mahayana student wanting to attend the final large program of the Mahayana stage, Warrior Assembly. Warrior Assembly builds on Enlightened Society Assembly and the Sacred Path series of weekend programs, and is a living teaching in creating enlightened society. Warrior Assembly focuses on how to develop fearlessness in engaging as a warrior in the world. Here, warriors are introduced to powerful practices and teachings on the Ashe principle, which enable one to transform confusion and hesitation into wisdom and authenticity.
I can offer a greeting from Shambhala Mountain Center and illustrated instructions for making hand-made Vesak lanterns to celebrate the light of the Buddha. (More suited for older children, tweens, and adults than preschoolers.)
Wage replacement $1680
PayPal and TOB fees $220
- WillIam p Ryken
- Judy Tso
- Gaye Niss
- Betsy Pond