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Exploring the Inner Chronicles

Face-to-face in Halifax

 

What is the Inner Chronicles

The Chronicles turns ten in 2012, and it's time for a fresh look at who we are, and where we're going. Our mission has been:
  to celebrate the Vidyadhara'a life,
  to expand the general knowledge and understanding of his teachings,
  to trace his legacy and influences into the current era,
  and to foster an online community with a common passion: the life and work of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.

While we've been working hard to fulfill the first three of these aims--and will continue to do so--we would now like to focus our efforts on the fourth aspect of our mission: community.

Chögyam Trungpa has many devoted students. Some of us knew him. Some did not. We have different practices. We study with different teachers. We are members of different communities. We are diverse and dispersed. What we hold in common is a deep connection to Chögyam Trungpa and -- like it or not -- to each other. This bond appears to be indestructible. We are of the same tribe. We share the same DNA, the unfathomable Ocean of Dharma.

The Chronicles would like to host a space where our diverse clan can gather, debrief, appreciate one another's paths, learn from each other, and go deeper into Chögyam Trungpa's cornucopia of dharma. We're suggesting the name Inner Chronicles. Inner in the sense of deeper. Chronicles in the sense of continual unfolding.

Please join us. The Inner Chronicles will be an online social/sangha network, that could also spur face-to-face gatherings. In this space we can share our individual experience, form groups, collaborate on projects, study the dharma, and practice together. Do we know exactly what form this will take? No. But we'll create it together. -WF

What's next?

The meeting in Halifax was a success: good turnout, lots of enthusiam and ideas. There will be a follow meeting on February 1st (see details below). But Halifax is just Halifax. We really need a wider view of the world. Next steps:
  an online survey to take the pulse, and gather ideas and comments from around the world,
  find the right platform (Buddypress appears to be the logical choice),
  find the right Buddypress developers and designers,
  build a test site,

We'd love to hear from you with any ideas or suggestions. Contact us at

Readers' Comments from the 1st Inner Chronicles post in December

Please send comments to

29 December 2011

What a wonderful idea!

I live thousands of miles away, yet feel my connection to Trungpa Rinpoche transcends time and space, and therefore it also connects me to his sangha wherever and whenever they may be.

I am always enriched in relationship with Rinpoche's students, however brief the meetings.

I look forward to greater opportunity to exposure to his teachings and insights, so miraculously displayed by the Vidyadhara.

His students have all been blessed and manifest those blessings and his teachings.
One Heart,
Andrea

***

30 December 2011

I appreciate this idea, and would be very grateful to be involved with an online network whose intent is to explore deeply the Vidyadhara's teachings!

Diane de Ford
Northern California

***

30 December 2011

What a great and generous idea to foster. Bravo!!

Bruce Dal Santo
San Francisco

***

30 December 2011

Planning a digital habitat for the Chronicles community -from John Smith

Hi Walter and vajra brothers and sisters,

As auspicious coincidence would have it, I'm just working on making a chapter of a book on helping communities use technology for many of the purposes that today's message describes. The book is written from a very specific perspective that I hope you'll find consistent with a Dharmic view and helpful in your work. Here's the book's website: http://technologyforcommunities.com . Chapter 10 has been used more or less independently (although it really does rest on the ideas and discussion in the rest of the book). Here's a Google Docs version that you can't edit but you can save for the purpose of working through the community-planning and support issues that we have found to be important:

http://bit.ly/DH-chapter10

In case you don't remember me, I lived in Boulder from 1975 till 1999, working at the University of Colorado and serving at the Court. I was married to Gabrielle Bershen and am Liza Smith's father. Now I live in Portland, Oregon, am married to Nancy Brown and am on the Portland Shambhala Center council.

Cheers!
John Smith

***

30 December 2011

Hi,
I just read this. The launching of this further level of community sounds very exciting to me and I truly wish I could be there for the gathering!

In the last few months, I've be feeling more and more isolated . . . . but let's not go down that road right now.

I'll be very interested to hear what 'streams' of ideas and directions start to emerge!

I must say I'm a bit surprised to hear about this development as it sounds more daring and less politically 'safe' in terms of whatever support you rely on. Curious to know more. . . .

Best wishes and lots of love,
Ellen Mains

***

Hi Ellen, Thanks for writing and thanks for your concern. I don't think we're doing anything all that daring. It's just an obvious and logical next step. The fact that CTR's students are a diverse and dispersed group (and growing more so) is well known to everyone. And that we study with many teachers, including the Sakyong, and are members of many communities in addition to Shambhala, is also well known, eg, Pema is a student of Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, Peter Lieberson was Khandro Rinpoche's Dorje Loppon, and there are many many more examples. None if this is news. The Chronicles is offering to host this diverse, and at the same time, closely knit community in an online forum so that we can explore our common bond. Our intention is to be positive and helpful. -WF

***

30 December 2011

Dear Walter & Joanne,
Fabulous idea! Wishing you a deliciously delightful healthy year ahead.
with love, Hildy

***

6 January 2012

Happy new year. I really appreciate what you wrote on the Chronicles about building a global community of practitioners dedicated to VCTR's vision and teachings. I found your words below particularly compelling and mirroring my experience with students who never met him.

Recently a dharma sister from a sangha which meets weekly in the East Bay to listen to Tsoknyi Rinpoche's teachings confided in me that she is reading Myth of Freedom and realizes that there is absolutely no other teacher who has come anywhere close to propagating the dharma in the West in the brilliant way the Vidyadhara did. As we talked I realized that she really gets how incomparable Rinpoche was and why.

This woman was a corporate lawyer for Pacific Bell who took her stock options and retired in her late 40s, spent years practicing in the Thai monastic tradition at a monastery in NorCal, and has been studying with Tsoknyi Rinpoche for a dozen years or so. She is a very solid and committed practitioner, and quite insightful. I have referred her to the Chronicles for the past year or so as a treasure trove of the Vidyadhara's teachings.

Hopefully she'll find inspiration for her practice for many years to come.

Take care,
Chris Keyser

"During Chögyam Trungpa's lifetime, his sangha consisted of students who studied with him directly. As time goes on, this community continues to widen. It now includes people inspired by Chögyam Trungpa's books and talks, members of Shambhala International, students of the many lineage teachers who turn the wheel of dharma in the modern world, and thousands of others--buddhists and non-buddhists--whose lives have been impacted by Chögyam Trungpa's teachings."

Halifax, NS (1/3/2012) -- Approximately fifty-five sangha members gathered at The Hub in downtown Halifax on a cold Tuesday evening to help shape the development of the Inner Chronicles. The gathering represented a mix of generations, experiences, and views.

Chronicles codirector Walter Fordham welcomed everyone and introduced the Inner Chronicles as a place for the diverse sangha to interact, support each others' practice and study, challenge each others' ideas and beliefs, as well as hang out, and renew friendships. Walter went on to say that the Chronicles is experiencing a steady increase in traffic, from all parts of the world, most notably from Asia. This growing audience includes Trungpa Rinpoche's direct students, people who never met him, practitioners, non-practitioners, and people of all ages. Many who visit the Chronicles are members of Buddhist communities, including Shambhala International, Nalandabodhi, Siddhartha's Intent, Lotus Garden, Mangala Shri Bhuti, etc., while others are unaffiliated.


Retro-tweeting on post-its (see Report on the Post-its below)

Following this brief introdution, Michael Chender led the group in a brainstorming exercise. People were asked to generate ideas regarding possible uses for the Inner Chronicles network. Yellow and pink three-by-three post-it notes were passed out. Yellow for personal passion: "What would make the Inner Chronicles compelling for you?" Pink for other ideas: "How might the Inner Chronicles be beneficial in other ways?" While post-its and pens where being passed around, the mic was open for questions and comments. Many people spoke expressing a wide range of views and ideas, a summary of which can be found in the Report on the Post-its below.

Michael then asked for input regarding the "container." How will this online space function? What are its guiding principles? Several people in the room had experiences to offer about hosting online networks, and participating (or not) in online forums and groups. The tone of the discussion was positive about learning from experience. Suggestions were made for minimal guiding principles. Questions were asked about utilizing existing online resources. Ideas included: teacher-led discussions, resources for research and study, spontaneous network interactions and formation of groups. While some expressed a preference for face-to-face interaction, others pointed out that many find themselves isolated from sangha. Someone offered that online connections foster face-to-face interactions. With first-hand experience in Kiev behind him, one person asked everyone to always remember the fringe, "Do it for the fringe."

After about 45 minutes of open discussion and writing on post-its, a few volunteers collected and organized the notes on the walls of the Hub, while everyone shared offerings of food and wine. It was a lovely evening, rich in ideas and face-to-face sangha/social interaction. We will do it again in the near future. -Report from Halifax by Deborah Szostak

Report on the Post-its

Over two hundred specific ideas were offered. A group of on-the-spot volunteers clustered them into various themes, but the sheer volume demanded more work after the meeting to clarify the key areas of common inspiration and aspiration. They are as follows:

What Can the Inner Chronicles Offer?

The Inner Chronicles can provide a way to bring together existing and aspiring CTR students throughout the world to study, learn and practice together, both online and face-to-face. In the process, it can also offer a way for many of the original students of CTR to reconnect with each other, and in some cases, with dharma and practice in general.

The functions that people would like to see online include (among others) the ability to:
  1. ask questions and receive a knowledgeable reply
  2. form groups around specific interests and passions
  3. pursue open conversations about practice, path and sangha
  4. teach and/or study (as well as exchange curricula for study) the following, among others:
  a. CTR's books
  b. the upcoming three-volume seminary compilation and transcripts
  c. Sadhana of Mahamudra
  d. curricula for young and/or beginning students
  e. and strengthen or expand study and practice of:
  i. Ngeton school
  ii. Vajrayogini and Chakrasamvara
  iii. Dharma art
  iv. Maitri space awareness
  5. Do online practice sessions (a group is currently doing the evening chants in this manner)
  6. Access more-in depth resources of CTR's teachings, books, articles, transcripts, recordings, etc, with the ability to find things through keyword searches
  7. Collaborate online to record and document specific forms and knowledge held by CTR's students, including everything from working with practice and study instructions, to how to ring the gong

How should the Inner Chronicles Network Operate?

How do we create a container that is tight enough to maintain clarity and integrity, yet loose enough to allow for freshness and inspiration? And how do we maintain a tone of openness that is free from attack and blame, without creating a restrictive environment that discourages critical thinking and insight?

The clear consensus was to:
  1. work from a ground of mutual respect, and deep kindness--to use this network as an occasion to put the teachings into practice
  2. practice mindfulness of virtual speech
  3. enlist skilled moderators from our ranks to make this an uplifted, genuine and kind space where people are inspired both to connect honestly and not wallow in negativity

What Else Should We Be Doing?

There was a lot of interest expressed in three areas falling outside of the online network.
  1. Face-to-face meetings (For many in Halifax, the main purpose of an online network would be to facilitate practice, study and social gathering)
  2. A place to do this outside of the limitations of the existing Shambhala Centre
  3. The power of stories, and that we should continue to gather them

Readers' Comments

Please send comments to

***

Posted: 22 January 2012

Committed one-on-one mentoring is in short supply in our sangha, and there is vast room for improvement in the meager relationships resulting from MIs being spread too thin. People need tangibly reliable spiritual friends who do more than just fit them in to a busy schedule or regurgitate pat answers to questions. While it may be understandable, a vajra master relating at arm's length through press releases, etc., can't properly address such needs, so greater numbers of seasoned students should be enabled as stand-ins who pro-actively check on people or even "mind their business" (per the Dekyong Manual). Yes we are ultimately quite alone, but we must look after one another regardless.

Cliff Esler, Margaree NS

***

Posted: 22 January 2012

Hi again Dear Inner Chronicles,

Am definitely interested in sharings of teachings, stories and insights regarding the Sadhana of Mahamudra, which is so very rich and beautiful also Vajrayogini study and practice enrichment.

I am a 30 year Buddhist, not in Shambhala training, currently in Dharma Gar with Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, doing 10 year retreat, and also a part of Pundarika, receiving teachings from Tsoknyi Rinpoche.

Not having had Shambhala trainings and initiations, certain information which I long for is not available to me. Therefore, any information that could be shared in the Inner Chronicles to expand and deepen my understanding of Trungpa Rinpoche's realization and vision would be greatly appreciated.

In Gratitude and Dharma
-Andrea Pucci

***

Posted: 22 January 2012

How about more from Sakyong Mipham, in addition to the Druk Sakyong? (or do you feel that's covered by other sites?) -Ellen Berger

Dear Ellen,

Good question. I do think that shambhala.org, shambhalatimes.org, and mipham.com do a great job of reporting on SMR. But The Chronicles would love to interview the Sakyong and Khandro-la. So far we haven't been granted an interview with the Mukpos, but we'll continue to request one. They are very busy people, so it's not surprizing that it has been difficult to schedule an interview. Maybe some day... In the meantime, we report on many of the Sakyong's public events, and we have interviewed many of his close students, including Mitchell Levy, Eve Rosenthal, Richard Reoch, Sharon Hoagland, Noel McLellan, Adam Lobel, and many more. Thanks for asking. -Warmly, Walter

***

Posted: 23 January 2012

Hi envisioning-folks,

A bit over two years ago, me and a few other core people we also we're envisioning something very similar, as we felt also, - it is in the air ! - to do something substantial around the Life and Teachings of CTR...and have this promoted w/o to many restrictions, w/o an other organization such as SI, or being co-opted by an other organization for that matter. Why is this?! Because as we see again and again it creates structures that will formalize / institutionalize, ( read ) re-making an other 'religious -modus- operandi' that is TOTALLY anti-ethical to the very notion of non-theistic teachings, which is the constant warning / wake up call of Trungpa Rinpoche.

So having said this; can Chronicle Project be fearless ?, and can it be truly free to develop in accordance with the wishes of Trungpa R. [or other] students, i.e. this newly developing group, this newly developing 'vision', - w/o tethers which it actually does (seems) to have at the moment?! We as students, and especially the older students have been stunted, and have been ignored for to many years now, this has created deep emotional scarring, so deep in fact that this will be an factor in how you will be able to form this new ' inner' aspect. Now I am not saying we need to dwell on old scarring to much either !, because we need to move forward, badly, we need to forge newer - fresher idea's, and get the unadulterated mssg. of CTR out in a BIG way.

I see as paramount importance - self-empowerment, and where ever ' local' self empowerment can arise is a good thing, this does several things, it will make practitioners take their seat, and grow up (wake up) much faster. It will cut through the old tired paradigm of - vertical non natural hierarchies -, that are usual impregnated by other cultural idea's, [often plain feudalistic], that have little bearing on our own life's / society. For our current times I feel the direct path more and more pertinent, this means promoting instead of a lot of 'ceremonies - and - ritual', and adhering to some organizational structure, and always having to get approval from above, so to speak, one goes instead ( again and again) to the core aspects of the teachings. This means adopting the clearer non theistic view in any of the Three Yana's. Time is short, and the world is moving faster and faster. Information over load is a real problem.

Simplicity = Strength

Direct application of teachings in Daily Life is where constant freshness / growth and honesty is found. As Trungpa Rinpoche students we have a huge huge open mind, always acknowledging,i.e learning to listen to the Wisdom traditions of other people's, we are merely one of these.

Be careful of over ambitious plans, and vision. How to arrive, and distill all these idea's into the beginning guidelines of this venture, that is practical, and that is immediately useful, and will reflect as much as is feasible the unadulterated message of Trungpa R.. This noble effort can undoubtedly spread the awake light points, as I like to say, raise the 'light houses' !!! of Trungpa Rinpoche teachings around the world in a unfettered manner, these will become sanity light house beacons. NO other buildings are needed, no other large organizational structures need to be created. Have people meet in easy congenial atmosphere with out to much prior luggage, or an to solid agenda.

However we can only spoon feed ( this ) so much, and as journeyers on the Path it is good to remind ourself, and others, that this inner work needs personal integration to express itself in a fully blossoming human being. This practice and discovery is done by each and every one us in our own unique awake expression.

Paul c K........ Crispy Crestone, Monday Jan.23rd.

***

Posted: 23 January 2012

I have been most interested in the following postings -

1. Accounts of people's direct experiences with the Vidyadhara

2. Jack Niland's accounts of dharma art introduced to him by the Vidyadhara - totally revolutionary and a very important ground for many of us to work from.

3. Teachings about how to work with teens from the Vidyadhara, students of the Vidyadhara and Shambhala teachers.

4. How to teach the dharma to the general public, which is what we are doing.

Thank you very much for this precious site.

Yours in the Dharma and the Great Eastern Sun,
Anne Fraser and Robert Lehmann in Carpinteria CA

***

Posted: 23 January 2012

Bravo !!!!!!!!!!!!!

I commend and am heartened by all of your efforts that will contribute to creating an innovative mandala that supports students and creates an avenue for all people who are interested in the practise and study of the teachings of the Vidyadhara.

I too encounter people from all walks of life and spiritual practise who have been and continue to be impacted by the teachings of our root guru the Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.

I look forward to the continued communication of how we go forward in creating a supportive mandala (community) for all students.

Much love and good cheer to everyone !

Yours in the dharma,
Simone LaVoie

***

Posted: 23 January 2012

I completely agree with Cliff Esler's various comments and especially those about proactively checking on people and "minding their business".

I have thought that for a long time, that practicioners "practicing in private or individually" does not contribute to a sense of whole, a sense of belonging or a sense of cohesion. Going to events but no relationships forming out of those or no real caring shown - how does that create Englightened society within the Sangha. If we can't really do it and demonstrate it ourselves, why should we ever expect it to happen anywhere else? Is that realistic or just fantasizing for a fantasy ideal.

If we don't really demonstrate caring for each other and cohesive collectivity - are we really out of our psychological or emotional cocoons?

Are we really "touching" and "connecting" or just in our minds?

-Steven Tetterington

***

Posted: 23 January 2012

Inner Chronicles -very interesting and about time!

Hope something good comes out of it.....many are drifting away from SI as far as I can see from the various breakups.....myself do not want to get in any more feudalistic set-ups re the dharma....hope we can develop a truly democratic way of working beyond conventional hierarchies somewhat.

Well best and hope IC gains ground and insight.

Best Rita Ashworth

***

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Posted: 30 January 2012

Applause! Unlimited applause!!! What a joy to read this wonderful news. I wish you all power and success in fulfilling the whole lot without exception!

Much love
Susie Vincent

***

Please send comments to