Spring Director’s Letter

Wood Sheep

Dear Community,

I don’t know about you, but when I first heard that we are entering the Year of the Wood Sheep, I thought of a creature who wants nothing more than to follow along with the flock, but who is too stiff (wooden) to do even that. Not a lot of warriorship there! However, Culture and Decorum Director Raven Fennell informed me that wood is related to spring and renewal, and sheep are creative and elegant. And when I saw the paper banners with which Raven had festooned our Center for Shambhala Day — banners featuring fluffy, unblemished sheep frolicking or resting amongst a variety of dignified trees — I realized that the Year of the Wood Sheep could bring tremendous relief, simplicity, and openness to all of us this year…If we want it, as John Lennon once said!

In Council News: The Council has been wondering how to make concrete the Sakyong’s increasingly clear cry for Shambhala Centers to engage as community centers. This profound yet still somewhat inscrutable charge has been officially handed to Paul Haskell, our first Community Building and Outreach Coordinator — with the understanding that all of us will have something to say to him about what enlightened society means to us. Paul comes with an amazing background in community organizing and is open to fresh ideas. He can be reached at [email protected] dot com, 802-788-4612, or, quite often, by coming to a Sunday sit.

Speaking of Sundays…They are blossoming at our Center! One could come at 9:00 for Shambhala Cafe replete with coffee and kids, then sit from 10:00 – 12:00, then do yoga with Shanna Treworgy until 1:30. How wonderful is that! Other upcoming programs: On March 10, there will be a class on dying in the Buddhist tradition taught by an experienced Buddhist and hospice provider from Burlington. On March 15, Roger Guest will offer a Learn to Meditate class for anyone who is curious about sitting practice. Then, starting March 17, Patti Morgan will teach Contentment in Everyday Life. This course is a must for those who want to progress along the Shambhala Buddhist path, and Patti is one of our dearest, most tiger-ish teachers. Please see our website at http://whiteriver.shambhala.org/ for more information about all these events and programs!

One of the best things about being a Shambhala Buddhist in the Upper Valley is that we are so close to Karme Choling — and one of the best things about Karme Choling is that the Sakyong comes to teach there once a year or so. This year, he is coming in mid-May for a public weekend retreat. Check out KCL’s website for details about this and other immersive, enriching, and just plain old helpful retreats: http://www.karmecholing.org/programs.php.

So there is much to look forward to in the coming months in Shambhala-land…and in our yards, fields, and skies as spring arrives. I hope to see all of you soon at one place or another; after all, we are social beings, even if we are not quite so fluffy as sheep!

Yours in Great Eastern more-Sun-every-day Vision,

Dia Ballou
Director, WRSC