The Chronicle Project
Dear Mukpo Clan,
This website's story collection effort is one aspect of a larger research and writing project, the Chronicle Project. The Chronicle Project has the ambitious goal of telling the story of the Vidyadhara's life in North America and the history of the Vajradhatu/Shambhala sangha in a detailed year-by-year account.
The Vidyadhara often suggested that a detailed record should be made of his life.
[The Druk Sakyong] went on to state in emphatic terms the importance of keeping accurate records of current events in his life and the surrounding mandala. For all of us, who are part of that mandala, it seems imperative to recognize the historic, indeed epic, nature of events in which we participate.
-excerpted from Carolyn Gimian's introduction to The Memoirs of Sir Nyima Sangpo.
Now is the time
For the moment, most of the people who were around the Vidyadhara are still alive. Together we can tell the story of how he lived and what he created. But sooner than we like to think, a photograph of each of us will be placed on a stick over a bowl of rice and lit with a match—each flame marking the loss of part of the story.
I am planning to piece together a collage of our many perspectives on what actually took place. The first-person accounts gathered by this site will contribute to this collage. But with your help, I'd like to dig deeper. I'll be looking for details that you might remember, notes and letters you may have saved, as well as your insight into the meaning and significance behind the events you witnessed. Needless to say, this is a very big project.
Over the course of this project I hope to:
- Record transmissions:
- Many people hold transmissions that will be lost if not recorded—everything from how to conduct a business meeting to how to clean the shrine.
- Tell the big stories:
- the first summer of Naropa, the Sawang Empowerment, the Sakyong Abisheka, the first encampment, the beginnings of Vajradhatu, etc.
- Catalogue the details:
- ceremonies, court protocols, dinner service, shrine arrangements, weddings, processions, etc. It is important to document as thoroughly as possible the forms and procedures that were such a large part of the Vidyadhara's proclamation of dharma in the west.
- Present the atmosphere:
- I hope to be able to convey something of the atmosphere of the Druk Sakyong's presence and of the teaching environments he created.
- Illuminate the Archives:
- Many of the objects and documents in the Shambhala Archives have stories behind them. I hope to record these stories and link them to the articles in the Archives collection.
- Provide context:
- I hope to set the scene for each story in terms of what else was going on at the same time. What was happening at Naropa, the Kalapa House, Karmê Chöling? Where were Lady Diana, the Regent, the Sawang?
I am not writing a book; the scope of this undertaking is too detailed and much of the material collected may be inappropriate for general publication. Rather, this collection of memories, sangha history, transmissions, and stories is intended to serve as a resource or springboard for the efforts of future writers and researchers.
Having said that, it is important that this effort does not take place in a vacuum but reflects feedback from the sangha at large. I hope to make portions of the ongoing chronicle available through web publishing and/or inhouse publications.
Who is the audience?
The immediate audience for this writing includes the Vidyadhara's students, students of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, students of other teachers and traditions, and the world at large. But the real audience is the future: future Shambhalians, students of dharma, historians, and researchers.
I welcome your comments and questions about this project.
Yours in the haunting presence of the Druk Sakyong,