Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexually as

The impulse to believe the absurd when presented with the unknowable is called religion. Whether this is wise or unwise is the domain of doctrine. Once you understand someone's doctrine, you understand their rationale for believing the absurd. At that point, it may no longer seem absurd. You can get to both sides of this conondrum from here.

Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Thu Aug 15, 2019 6:07 am

Theodore Schocken Dead at 60; President of Publishing House
by New York Times
March 21, 1975



Theodore Schocken, president of Schocken Books, Inc., died yesterday in White Plains Hospital. He was 60 years old and lived in Scarsdale, N.Y.

Mr. Schocken published Franz Kafka in the original German and English translations of Kafka and S. Y. Agnon, Israeli Nobel laureate, as well as a wide variety of nonfiction works on Judaic and general subjects. The New York publishing house was established just after World War II as a continuation of the German Jewish firm Schocken Verlag, founded by Mr. Schocken's father, Salman. That publishing house operated in Berlin from 1931 until its end at the hands of the Nazis in 1938.

Born on Oct. 8, 1914, in Zwickau, Germany, Mr. Schocken at an early age joined a chain of department stores operated by his family. When in 1934 the rest of the family went to Palestine, he remained behind to become at the age of 19 the acting head of the firm.

In 1938 he came to the United States and later became a citizen. He received a Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard University in 1940.

Mr. Schocken enlisted in the Army in 1941 and served on the North African front, taking part in the invasion of Italy. Later, as a lieutenant, he worked in intelligence in Germany.

He took part in the establishment of Schocken Books, Inc., in 1946 and served as president until 1949, when he was succeeded by T. Herzl Rome, who played a key role in broadening the Schocken list. After Mr. Rome's death in 1965, Mr. Schocken resumed charge of the company.

He was on the board of overseers of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and he was a director of the Leo Baeck Institute here and of the Schocken Institute for Jewish Research in Jerusalem.

Surviving are his widow, the former Dora Landauer; three daughters, Miriam Michael, Naomi Landau and Eva; three brothers, Gershom, Gidon [Gideon] and Micha; a sister, Mrs. Chawa Glaser [Mrs. Eva Chava Chawa Glazer Glaser], and four grandchildren.

A funeral service will be held today at the Ballard Durand Funeral Parlor, Maple Avenue and South Broadway, White Plains.
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:14 am

Julius S. Glaser
by New York Times
September 16, 1986



Julius S. Glaser, chairman of the board of Schocken Books, died Sept. 10 at White Plains Hospital of heart failure caused by hepatitis complicated by peritonitis. Mr. Glaser was 70 years old and lived in Scarsdale.

He was valedictorian of his 1937 graduating class from Williams College and attended the Littauer School of Public Administration of Harvard University.

He was a labor organizer and management consultant, and he was active for many years in the Labor Zionist movement.

Mr. Glaser became chairman of Schocken in 1975 and served as president of the New York publishing house from 1981 until his retirement at the end of 1984. His first wife, the former Jane Schmidt, died in 1966. His second wife, the former Eve Schocken Rome, died in 1982. Mr. Glaser is survived by his son, Daniel of Resor, Norway, and two daughters, Sue Ann Alson of Concord, Mass., and Debora Lesnick of Birmingham, Ala.

A version of this article appears in print on Sept. 15, 1986, Section B, Page 6 of the National edition with the headline: JULIUS S. GLASER.
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:55 am

Money and Soul
by Hillel Halkin
The New Republic
January 11, 2004



The Patron
A Life of Salman Schocken, 1877-1959
by Anthony David
(Metropolitan Books, 451 pp., $ 30)

For a year in the early 1960s, not long after finishing college, I had a job working for Schocken Books, a small publishing house in New York. Actually, "small" is something of an overstatement. Schocken consisted at the time of four people working in a two-room apartment on 38th Street and Park Avenue: the editor-in-chief Herzl Rome, two secretaries, and the editorial staff, which was me. Rome was a shy man who spent much of his time behind a desk in the apartment's former bedroom busy with his favorite occupation of drawing. He was married to Eve Schocken, whose father, the erstwhile German-Jewish department-store magnate Salman Schocken, had founded the Schocken Verlag in Berlin in 1930.

My job was not onerous. Besides copy-editing, writing blurbs, reading and rejecting unsolicited manuscripts (one or two, with content to match, addressed to "Shocking Books"), and running occasional errands, I frequented the nearby 42nd Street Library to look for out-of-print titles that could be salvaged from the public domain and re-issued in paperback. (Among the volumes I remember doing that year were Acton's Renaissance to Revolution and Schurer's A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus.) This, along with the English rights to the works of Franz Kafka, was the mainstay of the house, which had run out of the initiative and the budget to publish much in the way of new books.

Salman Schocken, who had died a few years earlier, had not planned it that way. When he established Schocken Books in 1946 after having first moved his publishing business to Palestine, to which he fled from Nazi Germany in 1938, he had typically grandiose ambitions for it. He aspired, as he wrote in a letter cited by Anthony David, to make it "the greatest force within [American] Jewish life" by producing "a series of books that will give the young American Jew the opportunity to become acquainted with the treasures of thousands of years of our Jewish culture." He was convinced that "if we succeed, it will most likely be the greatest accomplishment among the many things that have been connected with the name Schocken over the past forty years."

These accomplishments were indeed impressive, starting with the department stores themselves. They were state-of-the-art establishments, the first of which opened in the Saxon town of Oelsnitz, in eastern Germany, in 1904. Department stores were not a novelty when the young Schocken, the son of a traditionally religious Jewish shop owner from the district of Posen near the German-Polish border, scraped up the capital to start one; they had existed in European cities since the mid-nineteenth century, and were pioneered in America by German Jews such as Bernard Gimbel and Lazarus Straus, the owner of Macy's. What distinguished Schocken's stores was his adoption of the American model of aggressive marketing, industrial-style efficiency, in-house design, and the democratizing copying and mass-producing of new ideas, and of fashionable and luxury items, to make them available to ordinary buyers at reasonable prices.

The Oelsnitz store's success led to more and more branches, and two of them, in Nuremberg and Stuttgart, were housed in buildings designed by Erich Mendelsohn, one of Germany's leading modernist architects. By the time of the Nazi takeover, the Schocken chain, David writes, was one of Europe's largest. In big cities and small towns alike, the stores sold Bauhaus-inspired furniture and cologne to the New Man; the New Woman could now bare her thighs in public after the company introduced form-fitting, short cotton dresses. The phonograph department carried the American hit "Yes, We Have No Bananas." The book department shied away from "pulp fiction"... These lightly amorous and melodramatic novelettes sold in millions at the time--but Salman was undeterred. His stores offered readers not only serious fiction but also ... progressive texts on the female body [and] female sexuality, as well as works on repressed feelings and compensated drives... Advertisements, informative brochures, and the clever use of sales displays educated mothers to catch up to the modern world.

Serious books--reading them, collecting them, and supporting their authors--were Salman Schocken's real passion. He was one of those businessmen who, had he been his own son, would have chosen a more intellectual vocation. A voracious reader as a boy to whom not commerce but "scholarship [seemed] an ideal mode of life," he was denied a higher education because his father could not pay the tuition. He liked to tell a story, whether or not embellished by memory, that could have been an outline of his life. Frustrated by his inability to continue his studies, David relates, "he vented his fury to a sympathetic rabbi he happened to meet on a train. 'I have already begun to read the writings of [German-Jewish philosopher] Moses Mendelssohn,' he explained. 'You should first become a merchant,' the rabbi replied. 'And once you are on your feet economically you can better devote yourself to more spiritual interests than you could as a hungry academic.'"

This tale was double-edged, for if the merchant without "spiritual interests" was someone whom the department store owner looked down on, he felt a more subtle and ambivalent condescension toward the "hungry academic," the impractical intellectual who could not survive without the merchant's help. He himself took pride in being equally a man of the world and a man of the mind, although it was only on a trip to Italy in 1907 that he glimpsed a way of productively combining the two things. There, while reading Burckhardt's History of The Italian Renaissance, he was struck by its account of "the merchant princes who put their stamp on the era by pouring money into culture... It was an eye-opening discovery for the thirty-year-old [Schocken ] to see how culture could go hand in hand with buying, selling, dealing, and trading. Thoughts of backing a Jewish renaissance germinated."

'Jewish renaissance," I imagine, was a phrase that Schocken picked up from reading Martin Buber, who had used it in several essays published in the first decade of the twentieth century. Like Schocken, Buber had grown up in a traditional Jewish environment and moved beyond it, and now, under the influence of Zionism, he was working his way back to his Jewish roots. He was a harbinger of what was to become a small movement of educated German Jews, many from partially or wholly assimilated homes, who sought to re-connect with Judaism on a more sophisticated level than that of the German-Jewish discourse of the day.

Up to the beginning of the century, masses of Jews, lured by the opening up to them of German society, had left the Jewish fold and not returned to it; as a sociological generalization it was safe to say, as Gershom Scholem did in his memoir From Berlin to Jerusalem, that "any young Jew who was not part of the strictly Orthodox minority" in those years "faced the progressive deterioration of his Jewish identity." Now a counter-trend, modest in size but qualitatively remarkable, set in. Besides Buber and Scholem, one can point to such figures as Kafka, Franz Rosenzweig, Walter Benjamin, Gustav Landauer, Erich Gutkind, Robert Eisler, Jiri Langer, Ernst Simon, Kurt Blumenfeld, Max Brod, and Elsa Lasker-Schueler, to name but a few. Children of the 1870s and '80s, they were in revolt against the generation of their parents, whose bourgeois existence had deprived them, they felt, of all that was vital in life, including the wellsprings of their Jewishness. A "Jewish renaissance" was vaguely in the air because it was concretely hungered for.

Schocken met Buber in 1911. That same year also saw the beginning of his involvement with the German Zionist movement, whose congress he addressed. He did not have to pound on doors for a hearing; men seeking to spend their money never do, even if he considered himself not a philanthropist but a cultural entrepreneur prepared to invest in the Jewish future. It took a while to weigh his options, but in 1915, during World War I, he made his first investment: the financing of Buber's Der Jude, a periodical that was to be, until its demise in 1924, the most interesting Jewish review in the world. By the war's end he was also sponsoring the research of Scholem, then launching a career as a scholar of Jewish mysticism, and the fiction of Shmuel Yosef Czaczkes, a young Galician-born Hebrew writer living in Germany.

He had also established an advisory committee named "The Cultural Board of Management," headed by Buber, to recommend more ambitious projects. Schocken conceived of this board as the engine of his "Jewish renaissance," a body of experts that would plan and commission large numbers of great Jewish works by the simple expedient of finding the right authors to write on the right subjects, just as a good retailer might find the right designer for a line of women's lingerie. He did not get very far. Although the postwar years in Weimar Germany did witness a flowering of Jewish talent, this had little to do with Schocken's efforts. The right authors for the dozens of books he wanted written either did not exist, or were at work on something else, or were interested in writing different books, or never delivered the ones that they promised. Except for the monumental Buber-Rosenzweig translation of the Bible into German, the board of management, much to his frustration, failed to come up with suggestions that he liked (he vetoed several that he didn't, such as Buber's idea of commissioning Arnold Zweig to write a Jewish "spiritual novel"), and it was eventually disbanded.

Schocken seemed to think that literatures and peoples could be managed like department-store chains. Stymied on the cultural front, he turned to the Zionist one, proposing at the Zionist Congress in Vienna in 1925 to convert the Jewish community of Palestine into a giant corporation that would be profitably run from his German headquarters. Although Anthony David defends the "Schocken Plan" as "not entirely far-fetched," since "the total size of the Jewish economy [of Palestine] was considerably smaller than a major industrial conglomerate," this is one of several cases in which one suspects he has over-identified as a biographer with his subject's megalomaniacal tendencies.

Nor did Schocken's "authoritarian style," as David calls it, leave much of a mark during several years as chairman of the executive council of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a stint that ended when he immigrated to America in 1941. Opinionated and sure of himself like many a self-made man, he was happiest when he was undisputedly in charge, as he was of Schocken Verlag, a truly first-rate publishing house; of the Tel Aviv newspaper Ha'aretz, bought in 1936 and turned into the intellectually serious and independently liberal daily that it still is today; and of the Schocken Library, whose superb collection of Judaica and rare books, while remaining housed in his Jerusalem residence, was donated to the Jewish Theological Seminary after his death.

And that, after his death, is what, if at all, Salman Schocken would have been remembered as--a noted businessman, publisher, bibliophile, and German Zionist leader with some inflated notions of himself--were it not for his lifelong association with Shmuel Yosef Czaczkes, who went on to win the Nobel Prize for Literature under the pen-name of S.Y. Agnon. Agnon had immigrated to Palestine from a Galician shtetl in 1908 and traveled to Germany in 1912 to broaden his horizons, and was stranded there by Word War I. Struggling to survive as a part-time Hebrew tutor and editor, he passed the first half of the war years in Berlin in difficult circumstances, moving from flat to flat and hoping to avoid the draft, for which he was eligible as an Austrian citizen. In the end he received his call-up, flunked his physical by swallowing volumes of black coffee that made him ill, and landed in the hospital with a kidney ailment.

By then, however, he had met Salman Schocken and been taken under his wing. Indeed, he was already under Schocken's wing before meeting him and without knowing it, since Schocken, having heard of the gifted young writer from Palestine, had arranged behind Agnon's back for his pay to continue being remitted when the Hebrew publisher he was working for shut down. (It is a pity that David omits this detail, which says something about Schocken's occasional capacity for delicacy.) The two men were finally introduced in 1916, and soon afterward Schocken offered Agnon a commission for an anthology of Jewish literature that came with a monthly stipend for five years--an anthology that Agnon never prepared and perhaps was never meant to prepare as long as he concentrated on his own writing. It was the end of his financial worries. From then on Schocken saw to his livelihood, first as his patron and later as his Hebrew publisher.

Their relationship, though cordial, was always formal. In the correspondence between them, partly in Hebrew and partly in German, Schocken wrote to "Dear Agnon" or "Dear Mr. Agnon," and Agnon wrote back to "My Dear and Most Esteemed Mr. Schocken," "Dear Sir and Dear Friend," and other combinations. Eventually these letters, those of two men prominent in their fields, came to be largely about publishing matters. But before Agnon became well known they were more the exchange of a stepfatherly benefactor with his adopted beneficiary. Agnon described his work and his needs, flattering his patron with compliments and the Jewish stories that he chose to share with him; Schocken sent back money, books, and advice. In a letter from Munich, to which he had gone in 1919 to work on a Schocken-commissioned Hebrew children's book illustrated by a niece of Freud's, Agnon asked for a department-store shipment of "6 size 39 shirt collars, 6 pairs of socks, and 3 pairs of underwear," adding, "Please send it all by express mail-- and don't deduct it from my pay." Several weeks later Schocken replied that he hoped the clothing had arrived; he counseled Agnon to quit the city, a turbulent place following the crushing of Bavaria's short-lived Communist regime, and concluded, with a quiet generosity that any young writer today would give his right arm to have from his publisher, "If you need to have your monthly payments increased, please let me know."

Schocken had grown up geographically close to Eastern Europe and was attracted, as were other German Jewish intellectuals of his day, to what he considered the greater richness and authenticity of Eastern European Jewish life--and those were the qualities that he admired, and was charmed by, in Agnon. And yet much to his credit, he also had the literary acumen to realize, on the basis of Agnon's early stories alone, that he was dealing with a writer of genius who needed neither prodding nor criticism, nor even encouragement, but simply the leisure to write without having to fret about money. It is impossible to face a bookshelf of Agnon's large output without reflecting on how much of it might be missing were it not for Schocken's support.

This support was irreplaceable. Foundation grants did not exist in Agnon's day, certainly not in Hebrew literature; the Hebrew-reading public was too small to enable an author to live from the sale of his work; and there was only one other serious patron of Hebrew writing, the Russian-Jewish publisher Avraham Yosef Shtiebl, who put out some of Agnon's early work but lost most of his money after World War I. Agnon would have become what he became without Schocken's support, of course; but the awful torment of having to drudge at some classroom or office job when all he wanted was to write his fiction was spared him. There is a saying in the Talmud that some men win and some men lose an entire world in a moment. Salman Schocken won his in the moment he rescued Agnon.

Anthony David has written an engaging and well-paced biography. Its main fault is his often uncritical acceptance of Schocken's own appraisal of himself and his surroundings. Sometimes a biographer can feel too close to his subject. This is especially true when David writes about Schocken's relationship to Hebrew literature and Jewish culture. Schocken was an autodidact, and he had the autodidact's enthusiasm for his own discoveries; what he did not know did not exist for him, and what was revealed to him he thought unknown before him. At a time when the entire cultural enterprise of Zionism was engaged in constructing a "usable past" for a secular Jewish nationalism, there was a preposterous naivete in Schocken's belief that he would be the man to make this past available--that "he [would] set out," as David writes with a straight face, "to show how Jews had lived through all the great epochs of human history; [how] they too had left records, even if no one had bothered to excavate them." A whole industry of such excavation was already underway at the time Schocken began to dream of it, and if David's lack of Hebrew (or so I take it to be from the absence of references to Hebrew sources in his notes) helps to explain his ignorance of the achievements of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Jewish scholarship, it still does not quite excuse it.

David could also use more perspective on Schocken's attitude toward Zionist and Israeli politics, whose dominant figures in his day were Eastern European Jews. Although Schocken did not share the prejudice against Ostjuden that was widespread among German Jews, his brand of Zionism, with its cultural and spiritual idealism that had little patience for the details of nation- and state-building, was of a distinctly German variety. The Zionists to whom he was closest during his years in Palestine, a country that he never felt much at home in, were German Jews with similar views, men such as Buber, Scholem, the philosopher Hugo Bergmann, and the journalist Robert Weltsch. Many of these men, traumatized by their experience of Nazism, were active in the Jewish pacifist organization B'rit Shalom--and Schocken, while never joining it, participated in their condemnation of Zionist leaders like Ben-Gurion and Jabotinsky as nationalist vulgarians interested only in Jewish power. David, writing with contemporary events in mind, approvingly seems to consider this group a forerunner of today's Israeli "peace camp." Perhaps it was; but David might also have asked whether, in the age of the Holocaust and the unrelenting Arab determination to first prevent and then wipe out a Jewish state, the contempt for power was not a greater sin than the pursuit of it.

Schocken continued to surround himself with German Jews during his years in New York. To edit Schocken Books he hired the scholar Nahum Glatzer, later a professor at Brandeis, and Hannah Arendt. Arendt did not last long in the job. She quarreled with Schocken over publishing authors such as T.S. Eliot and Walter Benjamin, affordable properties for a small house in those years but too abstruse for Schocken to appreciate; she called him "dictatorial" and "unbearably inept," and quit in 1948.

Schocken himself lost interest in his publishing house at about the same time, as he had years before in his Board of Cultural Management. He turned it over to his son Theodor, who appointed his brother-in-law Herzl Rome to run it. It was a sleepy place the year I worked there. Kafka was not yet a household name in America and the office phone didn't ring often. I wrote my blurbs and rejection slips in the mornings, had a sandwich and a beer at my desk, and went off to the 42nd Street Library.

One day we had a visit from a tall, mournfully middle-aged man. His name was Robert Klopstock, and he said he was in New York for the day and had stopped by to say hello. I knew who he was: I had recently read Max Brod's biography of Kafka--I had a complete set of Kafka in my apartment, purloined from the office--and Klopstock was described there with warmth as a young medical student who, with Kafka's last love Dora Diamant, ministered to him as he lay dying, a poor man living on a tiny pension, in a sanatorium near Vienna in 1924. Greatly excited, I asked to hear more. "Franz died in my arms," Klopstock confirmed with a helpless gesture, as if it were a death that he should have prevented. But even now, nearly forty years later, he seemed too broken up by it to go on. One of the secretaries made him tea, and he drank it and went his way.

To the best of my knowledge Salman Schocken never met Kafka, the rights to whose work he bought for a modest sum from Kafka's mother long after her son's death. Kafka himself earned nothing to speak of from the little he published in his lifetime, and worked in an accident insurance office in Prague, napping in the afternoon when he came home and staying up nights to write. It was a killing routine. "Dearest," he wrote in a midnight letter to his fiancee Felice Bauer in December 1912 after reluctantly putting away a story he was working on, "I really should have gone on writing all night. Nevertheless, I am stopping, I dare not risk it." He had to go to bed because he had been falling asleep at work and had become "a nightmare" to his boss. "Sometimes," he wrote, "I think I can almost hear myself being ground down, by my writing on the one hand, by the office on the other." And there at the time was Schocken, who already knew Buber who knew Kafka, eager to be a patron! Imagine if... But even in the Talmud you only get to win one world. We should be grateful enough for that one.
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Fri Aug 16, 2019 3:24 am

About The Shambhala Trust
Accessed: 8/15/19



Statement of Purpose

The purpose of the Shambhala Trust is to provide funding that promotes the Shambhala Buddhist teachings of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and his successors, and to develop, maintain, and expand facilities and other resources that will be used to proclaim these teachings. The Trust is a growing group of individuals working to support organizations and projects that further this mission. The Trust seeks to cultivate an understanding of generosity from the Shambhala Buddhist point of view through setting personal examples, presenting teachings, and promoting the creation of Enlightened Society altogether.

Who Is the Trust, and What Does It Do?

The Shambhala Trust is not the fund-raising arm of the global Shambhala community or a trust in the conventional legal sense; rather, we are an independent group of individuals from throughout the Shambhala community who, inspired by the power of generosity, give of our own resources to support worthwhile projects embodying the Shambhala vision. (See the lists of current and former core and associate members.)

We pool our resources, experience, and inspiration to provide financial and/or consultative support to projects worldwide that contribute to the creation of enlightened society and Shambhala vision.

We also encourage others in the community to give of their resources to support these worthy projects. The Trust has played an important role in providing funds across the globe for various projects including capital construction, visiting teachers, and translation.

We have chosen to use the word “trust” in our name to reflect our genuine commitment to taking responsibility for encouraging and supporting the work that many people are doing to further the vision of enlightened society. Shambhala and its members accomplish a remarkable amount with very limited material and human resources, and we are dedicated to helping that process.

The Trust generally does not have the capacity or inclination to fund projects fully. Instead, we prefer to provide seed money to help get projects started. We choose the projects to support through a process of consensus at meetings two or three times a year, each of which takes a full weekend.

Every request for funds from the Trust that is considered in these meetings has been the subject of a formal application and has been developed sufficiently to become a concrete and workable proposal.

Each proposal that the Trust considers is championed by a core member of the Trust, who generally works with the originators of the request to make the most effective case for that use of funds.

The proposals are reviewed in advance of the meetings and discussed at the meetings by core and associate members. After full and frank discussion of the proposals, we make collective decisions as to whether each proposal is an appropriate use of funds from Trust members at that time. (A proposal may be eminently worthwhile but poorly timed, and might be considered more favorably on another occasion.)

Members then decide how much they choose to commit to each specific project.

The Trust process has a delightful magic to it, a sense of involvement and openness that evokes a feeling of trust among the members. Because we share a heartfelt commitment to the vision of enlightened society, we are comfortable meeting together for a weekend and debating the merits of proposals in the context of that vision.

For any project that the Trust supports, even if the amount contributed is small, we always follow up with some level of oversight and assistance. That follow-up is essentially the same whether we have funded one percent or 100 percent of the project, because part of what we have to offer is our perspective and expertise in a variety of areas, both within the Shambhala community and in the world at large.

We trust that the funds we provide will be well-spent to achieve the aims that were articulated in the proposal, but we also try to ensure that they have been spent as intended, and that those expenditures are as effective as possible. Because of our skills and dedication to the vision of enlightened society, we are also called on at times to provide advice and leadership within the Shambhala community for purposes other than funding.


The Shambhala Trust grew out of an inspiration from the Vidyadhara, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, to look at the whole Shambhala mandala and support worthy efforts across a wide range of activities and locations.

The first Trust meeting occurred after the Joining Heaven and Earth ceremony in 1995, when the then-newly enthroned Shambhala lineage holder, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, convened a donor group of thirteen people at Shambhala Mountain Center.

At that first meeting, the first donation was to the European retreat center, Dechen Choling, which was just getting started and needed a boost.

At that time, it was also decided that, for the most part, the Trust would not fund operating budgets, only capital developments and special initiatives. In addition, Trust members felt that their financial contributions should be above and beyond their individual commitments to Shambhala and its various elements, including their local centers. Finally, members decided to make the Trust an autonomous organization closely related to, but not part of, the Shambhala organization.

Because the Trust’s mission is to support the mission and vision of Shambhala as presented by the Vidyadhara and Sakyong Mipham, members work very closely with the Sakyong, the President of Shambhala, and the entire Shambhala administrative mandala. However, as a donor group it is not an arm of the administration but a group of individuals who work with the practice of generosity to promote the creation of enlightened society.

The magic of this group arises from friendship and the inspiration generated through the Trust process of cultivating and supporting proposals. The group works cooperatively, and all major decisions are made by consensus. The ultimate intent of the Trust is to share this magic and magnetize generosity throughout the Shambhala community.

The Trust is recognized as a tax-exempt charitable organization in both the United States and Canada.

Member List
Current Core Members

Susan Dreier
Virginia Evans (Chair)
Deborah Garrett
Chelsea Hoagland
James Hoagland (Vice-Chair)
Gregory Lubkin
Angela Pressburger
Susan Ryan
John Sennhauser
Nealy Zimmermann (Treasurer)
Zeb Zuckerberg (Administrator)
(In perpetuity) Pamela Krasney
(In perpetuity) Arbie Thalacker

Current Associate, Supporting, and Contributing Members

Cynthia Bradshaw
Judith Broadus
Gabrielle Edison
Jeanine Greenleaf
Tom Gottlieb
Karen Iglehart
Ree Hall Katrak
Zenna Mohr
Bill McPheters
Jason Newman
Robert Reichner
Alan Schwartz
Jeff Waltcher
Cameron Wenaus

Retired Members

Richard Bascetta
Helena Bolduc
Marian Bond
Helen Bonzi
Martha Bonzi (Founder and member emeritus)
Connie Brock
Amy Feinstein
Gail Flynn
Holly Gayley
Maggie Russell Granelli
Jenna Harrison
Barbara Krumsiek
Bart Leonard
Charles Lief
Berkley McKeever
William McKeever
Judy Robison
Jim Rosen
Stefano Rugarli
Robert Schaffer
Heather Scott
Mark Seibold
Crane Stookey
James Tolley
Shanley Weber
Mary Whetsell
Jim Wilton
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Fri Aug 16, 2019 4:24 am

Come Together – Right Now! Over Me!
by Cara Thornley
November 2, 2016



This old Beatles lyric, accurately describes the compassionate view of the Northeast Kingdom VT Shambhala Community in coming together to care of their aging, sick and dying sangha members.

This “coming together” is recalled here, mostly from the perspective of Arthur Jennings, home health care and hospice nurse, long-time resident of West Barnet, VT, and sangha member, with additional information from Gerry Haase, Merle Thompson and myself.

(Arthur was one of two Shambhala nursing professionals (the other was Mary Beth Furr) who were working with Caledonia Home Health Care and Hospice at the same time Dr. Tim Thompson, an early sangha member, was involved in the development of the Hospice movement in the NE Kingdom.)

Ruthie Astor

Arthur recounted his first experience of being part of the Shambhala community coming together to support a dying member, Ruthie Astor, an individual who passed in 2001 at Ashoka Bhavan, Karmê Chöling’s staff and guest house in Barnet. She lived on the bottom floor in what is now called the Astor Suite which came into existence so Ruthie could have a private bathroom and a living area for her friends.

As the home health care and hospice nurse who served the town of Barnet, Arthur was assigned to be the home health nurse for Ruthie, who happened also to be his Meditation Instructor, and his friend – with whom he had done many meditation programs. “We were in Khenpo Tsultrim’s programs together,” he recalls. “Those programs were the highlight of my year, and I had shared that with her.”

Ruthie required daily dressings for her cancers, and as her cancer got worse she required Hospice services such as oxygen and subcutaneous pain relieving injections. Arthur went from being her home health nurse to being her hospice nurse.

“I was in the full part of my hospice career and it was great to share that,” said Arthur, “not only with Ruthie, but with the greater sangha who was there to help.

“Many friends came to see her and stayed in her suite. In the early stage of her illness, they would have parties there and play games and drink. Ruthie was usually too tired to do much, but still there was a party going on around her and she just loved it… She was a very Padma lady and flirty with young men.” Arthur smiled at the memory.

“As it became obvious that she was going to go soon, people came and did shamatha meditation,” he remembers. “There were nine cushions around her bed… and the machines – an oxygen concentrator… making pish sounds… a pump making psst sounds… in the midst of it, people silently meditating.

“Toward the end of her illness when Ruthie became bed bound,” Arthur says, “I literally went ‘on vacation to Ashoka Bhavan’, taking 2 weeks of my own time just to be with her. I moved into a second floor room so I could be 100% available to her. For 2 weeks I was on-call 24/7 which meant when she got uncomfortable, I was there — I could take care of it…

“I had moved in with a whole household of people actually. Everyone else who was living at Ashoka Bhavan and the host of others who were helping. People were bringing food and other necessities that helped maintain the care environment. It had evolved into community care … it wasn’t just me…

“Other people helped her with personal caretaking: e.g., taking her to the bathroom, dealing with bedpans, washing her and things like that… Towards the end it was a full time job caring for her in the various ways a dying person requires.

“Ruthie found a spiritual advisor in Lady Konchok, Sakyong Mipham’s mother, who was living at Karme Choling during this time and had become close to Ruthie. She instructed Ruthie and those of us taking care of her on what to do as death came close.

“She told us we were to whisper in her ear…and say, ‘Ruthie, the time has come, you are dying, remember your guru, Trungpa Rinpoche, and remember Vajrayogini.’ (Vajrayogini was Ruthie’s primary meditation deity.) ‘It is very important for you to remember Trungpa Rinpoche and Vajrayogini.’

“Then we were to let her alone and come back about 10/15 minutes later and say: ‘Ruthie you are dying, we love you. It will be OK. Remember Trungpa Rinpoche, remember Vajrayogini.’

“As she was dying her breath became slow and irregular…and when it became clear she wasn’t going to breathe again…I whispered in her ear ‘Ruthie you died – remember your guru’… I pretty much kept to the script…Otherwise we just stayed silent and were with her.

“Ted Soares was there and, I think, Dia Ballou was also there.

A bunch of people had gone to a party and that’s why there were only the 3 of us. When they came back they started singing Khenpo songs, but Lady Konchok instructed us to maintain a silent environment rather than singing, or weeping, or doing practices out loud.

“Lady Konchok didn’t let us move Ruthie’s body from the bedroom to the shrineroom for 3 days because Ruthie’s heart remained warm (indicating that her consciousness had not left her body) which was a sign of an accomplished practitioner.

“Then Ruthie’s body was placed in a casket in the Ashoka Bhavan shrineroom on the main floor. We were kind of new at the whole dry ice thing to keep the body cool, but we did it.”

Sue Ellen Walters

The next sangha person to die that Arthur recalls was Sue Ellen Walters. She also was his home health patient and a fellow Khenpo student with whom he had done work transcribing Khenpo’s talks.

The night she died they took her to the Pavilion (a large free-standing shrine room then newly constructed at Karme Choling). She was the first sangha person to have her funeral at the Pavilion. They needed someone to stay with her body, so Arthur spent the night there. It has now become a tradition to have someone spend the night with the body. Mostly it is the Kasung who stay overnight.

”It was powerful to be out there alone in the dark with a body and the mice in the corners,” recalls Arthur. “I had some level of fear of the dark, but not too bad…because of all those years of retreat.”

Phil Sentner

The next death Arthur was involved with was Phil Sentner’s who died of liver disease…. He also had been part of the Khenpo sangha, and part of the care team for Mrs. Lindberg under Ann Cason’s coordination.

“Phil was ill for a long time, and Merle Thompson, the dekyong at the St. Johnsbury Shambhala Center, became a great friend to Phil. She was there for him totally,” Arthur remembers. “I was his home health nurse.”

“Phil died on the street, in his boots, so to speak,” Arthur says. “He was walking and fell and died in the street. We sat with his body in the morgue at Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital. We made it a point to go down and be there until he was moved to the Pavilion.”

“Susan Shaw who died in 2013 was a special case,” says Arthur. (Please see article about her on this site.) “I just loved her to pieces. She, too, was my Vajra sister and when I was nurse on duty, sometimes we would just lie on the bed and listen to music…I was so happy to be there. She was super organized and clear about everything – including the people she wanted around her.

“An administrative form used during Susan’s dying became a crucial scheduling tool for organizing care teams. Sara Demetry, also Arthur’s wife, and adept in using google docs, introduced an online scheduling format that enabled people to sign up for various functions, eliminating 90% of phone coordination, as well as allowing people to see, sign up for and download the schedule for fulfilling various needs which recur with each illness and death.”

Michael Taney

This online volunteer format, enabled many persons to participate in caring for Arthur’s good friend, Michael Taney during his sudden, short illness and death in the fall of 2016. He got an official diagnosis of cancer early in October and died November 14 early in the morning. This was a particularly poignant loss for for Arthur because they had a very close friendship dating from the early 90’s.

Sara called a care team organizational meeting which was held in the home of Michael and his partner, Pam Keats. Arthur and Sara, the Dekyong and Societal Health and Well Being persons from the St. Johnsbury Shambhala Center, myself, Gerry Haase, Bill Brauer, and other concerned sangha attended. On the medical front, recalls Arthur, “I didn’t do so much duty with Michael. The medical oversight was assumed by a local Hospice doctor, Mary Ready.

“I was there just to hang out with Michael mostly,” said Arthur. “We were fast friends. In the early stages of his illness I would take him out for rides – going to Lake Willoughby. As he became bed bound I would just sit in his room with him. The last night or two I slept over at his house, so his partner, Pam Keats, could get some sleep. Again, It had become a 24/7 home care situation.”

The 24/7 home care needed for Michael accentuated the necessity of providing support for his primary caretaker and partner, Pam Keats, whom Michael gratefully referred to as his “ace” angel.

Help was needed with housecleaning, and preparation of meals, with running errands, doing over night shifts, and with periodically relieving Pam for a few hours during the day from her one-on-one caretaking duties which included coordinating the changing medications for pain management with Dr. Ready, administering the medications to Michael, changing his fentanyl patches and monitoring of oxygen, his diet, his heart rate, his blood pressure, along with managing his diet, etc.

The need for a more detailed interface between Pam and the community quickly became evident, and at her request I began functioning as her secretary, meeting with her regularly, reviewing support needs and visit requests. Cynther Greene took over from Bill Brauer, who had been coordinating the food needs of the household with volunteer cooks from the community. Bill had become the spiritual guide for both Pam and Michael. By the end of the dying process Bill was there almost daily, quietly sitting or talking with Michael. “He was irreplaceable during our journey,” Pam wrote to me. “He helped Michael to practice with, and to come to terms with his own death, and he helped me work with the idea that Michael was dying…”

There were many persons who wanted to see Michael and not enough time for all of them to do so. However, every request was answered and conveyed Michael and Pam’s appreciation, whether or not the request could be accommodated. In addition to his son, Gabe, and first wife Susan Taney, with whom Michael shared a close friendship, Michael had 7 brothers and sisters, all but one of whom came to see him. So from time to time there was a need for family transportation as well as transportation to and from local medical appointments and ones in Boston and Hanover, NH.

Gerry Haase managed all transportation requests – doing many of them himself. His final duty was arranging transportation for Michael’s body from his and Pam’s home to the Pavilion at Karme Choling and then to the crematorium.

“The night Michael died,” Arthur remembers, “Sara was on overnight duty and she called me early in the morning saying things were changing. I advised her who else to call, went over and was there when he passed.”

Michael’s body, in full Kasung officer’s uniform, lay in the Pavilion where his funeral was held. In addition to his immediate family it was attended by a host of friends, and 5 of his brothers and sisters, and their families, some of whom spoke and sang. Acharya Michael Greenleaf led a Shing Kam Pure Realm of Shambhala service, and Arthur was the shrine attendant….

The pall bearers, his son, some of his brothers, and local kasung, helped transfer his body to the crematorium in St. Johnsbury where the next morning family and friends again joined together. This time to sing the Shambhala Anthem as the oven blazed.

Stephen Holder

“Stephen, another sangha person who had been suffering from a long term illness died in the early spring of 2016 at his friend’s Susan Taney’s home in St. Johnsbury. That was a good room for him to die in,” said Arthur, “since he built it.

“I did a lot of volunteer work with him, although I was not his hospice nurse. I would go over on Tuesdays, my day off, and sit with him. There were daily shifts which Sara scheduled to cover the time that Susie was at work…

“Toward the end in the evenings,” Arthur continued, “I slept on the couch in the room with him . On Stephen’s last night I went and got Susie up when I knew he was dying…

“After he died his home health aid came and washed him. And then I left and went to work that day…

Greg McNally, another long term sangha person, who has become keeper of the community caskets (he stores two Vermont Pine caskets between uses in his barn) brought the larger one and helped put Stephen’s body in it. (Dry Ice was no longer necessary since by the time Stephen passed, it had been replaced by a better product called Techni Ice which Gerry Haase bought on Amazon. It works, is not toxic, and is re-useable since it can be stored in the refrigerator.)

During the next three days, sangha members came and practiced around the body. Then Acharya Greenleaf, aided by shrine attendant Patricia Anderson, performed a sukhavati for Stephen in the beautiful sun room which Stephen had built and in which he died. The next day Greg transported his body to the crematorium in his pickup truck. As Stephen’s body was transferred into the oven, we sang the Shambhala Anthem just as we had done for Michael not too long before.

I asked Arthur at the end of our interview, why he thought there had been so much focus on death and dying in our aging community, rather than on activities like co-housing, for example. He talked about the small, but close knit sangha in the Northeast Kingdom, that found much of the support sought through co-housing in “coupling relationships” and with sangha friends.

“We are a relatively small group of long term students of Buddhism and Shambhala who have long relationships with the people around us. The only thing we all have in common is Shambhala Buddhism… It brought us together and here we are, he said.This is a long established sangha, with friendships and intimacy. So when a person becomes seriously ill, helping them happens spontaneously… How could I not have helped Michael? It’s basic friendship.”

He reflects, “I was reading last week that loneliness is a big heart risk factor…— as big as smoking… or lack of exercise. We are really lucky to have community… friends to talk with about things that matter… have dinner with, …play with. And these are the people we are going to help when they need it… Talk about enlightened society… We end up sharing life and death. It’s a good thing we have each other!”
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Fri Aug 16, 2019 4:40 am

Glimpses of Tail of the Tiger 1970
by Jonathan Eric
September 1, 2003









Jonathan first heard of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1970 when his mother, Nancy Eric, showed him a brochure she had picked up about Tail of the Tiger. Jonathan read the brochure, picked up a copy of Meditation in Action, and decided to visit Tail of the Tiger as soon as possible. When he got there, he requested an interview and was shown into a room with a young Asian gentleman who was smoking a cigarette. Jonathan assumed that this was the waiting room and that this gentleman was also waiting to see Chögyam Trungpa. After awhile, the man turned to Jonathan and said, “So why did you come here?”

“I’m here to meet the man who wrote this book,” said Jonathan holding up his copy of Meditation in Action.

The gentleman looked at Jonathan and said, very slowly, “My book? …”

Jonathan, who was a close and much loved student of Trungpa Rinpoche, died in October 2003. Here is an excerpt from a Chronicles interview from March 2002. For the complete interview and more about Jonathan’s life, visit A Tribute to Jonathan Eric.

JE: Okay. Tail of the Tiger, summer of 1970. One thing I remember is that once a week during times when there were no programs, Trungpa Rinpoche would lead a meditation practice in the evening for an hour. He would sometimes, I remember, give a brief dharma talk as well. I remember him leading us in a minute or two of chanting the Vajraguru mantra at the beginning of the sitting.


JE: Yes. So that’s one of the flavors. It was a very small shrine room, an upper room. We could squeeze in only about fifteen or twenty people at the most, I think. I don’t know specifically about the numbers, though.

WF: Was it a guided meditation?

JE: No, after the mantras it was silent for an hour. I think he had a little gong or something to signal the end.

One day when I was there, I was hanging out on the front porch and Lady Diana came out. She wasn’t known as Lady Diana in those days; she was a sixteen-year-old girl who happened to be married to the guru. She came out and said to me, “You’re taking me down to the mailbox.” I said, “I am?” And she said, “Well, if you don’t mind.” So we got into my bus and we drove down to the mailbox—maybe a quarter of a mile to the end of the dirt road. She got her mail and came back. That’s the whole story.

I think just about everybody at Tail of the Tiger in those days was very trippy. But there was one guy who even us trippy people considered trippy. He was a guy named Bob and he was on some sort of mucusless diet. So, naturally his name became Mucus Bob. So that’s all of that story.

There was a community meeting in the living room, which was where the talks had been for the first seminar, The Jewel Ornament of Liberation. The second seminar, Four Dharmas of Gampopa, was held in a tent. But there was a community meeting and somebody proposed doing it in Native American style. There was a moderator, and everybody could have a say on the issue, whatever it was. There wasn’t any time limit to how long a person could speak or what they could say. The only restriction was they had to refrain from using the word “I” or “me.” If you referred to yourself, it had to be in the third person. There was no first person allowed.

WF: That’s interesting. Were these Rinpoche’s rules>

JE: They seemed to be agreed to by Rinpoche, proposed by some of the students, and sort of accepted by acclamation, more or less, “Let’s try it this way.” Trungpa Rinpoche asked me to be the moderator. There were a few people who had to be reminded not to use the first person. We got to Trungpa Rinpoche and he started saying some things, quite pointedly using the word “I” several times. I let him speak and come to his conclusion, and then I said, “The moderator does not wish to interrupt a person’s train of thought, but wishes to remind everybody that we are not to use the first person and that includes people from Tibet.” We went around some more and then concluded the meeting. After everybody had had their say, I thought that the meeting was over so I started making some comments using the first person myself and got called on it. But then after the meeting Trungpa Rinpoche complimented me by saying I was a good moderator—I think he used the word “great”—and we were just hanging out with him in the dining room, which was a slightly smaller room next to the living room. And I remember he was wearing my hippie hat. It was a black hat, sort of somewhat floppy, that I’d put a red bandana around, and he was wearing that hat and just goofing around. So that’s that story.

Another time at Tail of the Tiger that summer, Polly Monner (Polly Wellenbach now) and I took our guitars and drove in my bus a little ways down the road to the mailbox and turned off on an old track and drove up to a sort of flattish place, and were playing guitars. I think there were probably one or two other people with us. We both were into sort of bluesy type music. We were playing and it was evening, beginning to get a bit dark, as I recall, and at a certain point a car came down the driveway and Trungpa Rinpoche got out of the passenger side and he looked up to where my bus was and where we were sitting there with our guitars. His face brightened and he began limping up the path. But when he got up to where we were, he looked at each of our faces. From my point of view, I was kind of seeking some relief … from these teachings … somehow. And maybe Polly felt the same way, I don’t know. But he looked at each of our faces in turn for a moment, and his smiling countenance immediately went to neutral, and he turned around and walked down to his car.

So I just thought that was an informative story, that it was a learning experience for him as well, that he could no longer hang out with everybody or something like that. I don’t know precisely, but I always thought about it that way, that he was no longer exactly one of the gang. This was the summer of 1970. It was less than two years since he had received the Sadhana of Mahamudra. It was about a year since he had gotten married and somewhere in those two previous years he had decided to give up his robes. And so I think he was just in a learning curve for himself at that point.

JE: Another topic: Food at Tail of the Tiger. I remember lots of buckwheat and turnips, cooked turnips. I remember those, because I’d never eaten any buckwheat or any turnips before then, and I found both of them sort of difficult, shall we say. It was all vegetarian at that point. I assumed that was his students’ choice rather than his. And I remember that we always did an offering chant before meals. I don’t remember the precise chant but I recall that it was the Jigme Lingpa feast chant, which I think is rather famous and well known. I don’t know anymore about it than that. But somebody such as Tanya or Fran might remember precisely what it was.

Next topic: I was hanging out at Rinpoche’s house in Four Mile Canyon and I remember one day he came limping over to me and said, “Jonathan, I think you should be a monk.” I had thought about that myself during my long retreat the year before and I said, “But I’d never be able to keep the precepts.” And he said, “Maybe, later.” And I said, “Maybe later.” As an addendum to that, in 1999 I had a brief audience with Thrangu Rinpoche where I told him that story and I asked for his blessing so that I would be able to be a monk in my next life.

WF: Is that a question that has stayed with you through the years, whether or not to take vows?

JE: Yeah. Yeah, it has … very much so.

At another time in Boulder when I was Trungpa’s interview scheduler, there was an occasional wedding that he performed with me there. One day after a wedding – I don’t remember whose wedding it was – he looked at me and said, “You’re next.” And I said, “I wouldn’t mind getting married if I could find somebody who liked me that I liked.” And he said, “For how long? Ten minutes? Ten years?” I didn’t have an answer for that. [Chuckles.] So later I got married and we had two children, a boy and a girl, who are both in Boulder High right now.

One day after another thirty interviews, I asked him how he did so many interviews. He said, “No rest for the wicked.”

WF: As the person who was there during the interviews, you really had sort of a front row seat, seeing people coming in and out the door. Can you talk about that at all—

JE: Yeah. Yeah, I even wrote a song about it. It’s better with guitar, but I can’t play guitar anymore, so if you don’t mind I’ll sing it.

WF: Please.

JE: Trungpa Rinpoche had me sing this without accompaniment in a meeting that I was in with him. I said, “Do I have to—” He said, “Yes.” So I sang it. It’s called, “O Rinpoche.”

Listen to Jonathan sing “O Rinpoche”

O Rinpoche, O Rinpoche, please tell me what to do
O Rinpoche, O Rinpoche, do you think I should drink and screw
O Rinpoche, O Rinpoche, please tell me what you say
O Rinpoche, O Rinpoche, please show me the middle way

O Rinpoche, O Rinpoche, I’m feeling so uptight
O Rinpoche, O Rinpoche, I know you can set me right
O Rinpoche, O Rinpoche, I want to take some vows
O Rinpoche, O Rinpoche, just tell me the whys and hows

I’ve taken vows
with the rishis and roshis and the yogis and sat-guru
And the only thing I’m finding
Is my mind is not unwinding
And it ain’t no use

O Rinpoche, O Rinpoche, it’s you that I adore
O Rinpoche, O Rinpoche, please talk to me some more
O Rinpoche, O Rinpoche, I’m never gonna quit
O Rinpoche, O Rinpoche, but I just don’t like to sit

JE: So, he enjoyed that.

WF: [Laughing] That’s great Jonathan.

JE: That was sort of near the end of my tenure as his interview scheduler.


To read the rest of this interview and a profile on Jonathan Eric, visit: Tribute to Jonathan Eric

© 2002 Jonathan Eric
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Fri Aug 16, 2019 3:40 pm

Jerry Granelli Biography
Accessed: 8/16/19




On December 30th of this year Jerry Granelli turns 70. 45 years ago he was peaking as a commercially successful Jazz drummer- playing with Vince Guaraldi. It was shortly after that success that Jerry took a hard turn left into the world of improvisation and musical exploration. He has never looked back.

Jazz Times magazine calls Granelli “one of those uncategorizable veteran percussionists who's done it all.” A Canadian citizen since 1999, Granelli burns with an intensity fuelled by a passion for “the pursuit of the spirit of spontaneity which drives the player.” A veteran of the San Francisco jazz scene, Granelli's recent flourish of recordings has documented remarkable collaborations between the generations.

Jerry Granelli's story is one that follows the evolution of the San Francisco Hard Bop jazz scene. Born in 1940 in San Francisco, the boy recognized his passion in 1948 when he spent a day with Gene Krupa. Hanging out during the 50s in San Francisco nightclubs like the Blackhawk, The Jazz Workshop and Jimbo’s Bop City, gave him a direct connection to what was happening in New York City. Soaking in the sounds of Miles, Max Roach, Philly Joe Jones, Elvin Jones and Monk, his passion grew, eventually leading him to Dave Brubeck drummer Joe Morello. After two years as Morello's star pupil, Granelli became a highly sought-after session player, eventually playing, recording and touring with the Vince Guaraldi Band. He provides the unmistakable steady swing beats for the classic Charlie Brown “Peanuts” theme song.

In the volatile West Coast scene of the 60s, Granelli moved on to the Denny Zeitlin Trio, a group that included bassist Charlie Haden. A hugely successful recording and touring band, they tied with Miles Davis for Group of the Year in Downbeat magazine's Critics and Readers Poll in 1965. Throughout the 60s he performed with many major players on the scene, including Jimmy Witherspoon, Mose Allison, Lou Rawls, John Handy, Sonny Stitt, Sly Stone, Ornette Coleman and Dewey Redman. He was right there too as jazz styles began to swing towards the beginnings of psychedelia. His free-form improvisational trio held down the opening slot for comedian Lenny Bruce for three months in 1963, and shared bills at The Matrix and The Fillmore with Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and the Holding Company and the Grateful Dead. They also accompanied the Dead on their first European tour in 1971.

Granelli became a Buddhist in 1970, and from the mid-70s through the 90s he focused on teaching, bringing his insider knowledge to hundreds of students at the Naropa Institute in Boulder
, then Seattle's Cornish Institute, the Conservatory in Halifax, and the Hochschule der Kunst in Berlin.

In the early 90s Jerry moved to Halifax and immediately became a keystone in the jazz community. Along with Halifax’s Jazz East organization he founded the Creative Music Workshop a two-week intensive music program that takes place every summer in conjunction with the Atlantic Jazz Festival. Despite all his accomplishments, until asked by Divorce Records, Granelli had yet to make a solo drum record. It seems fitting that after a life behind the kit, Jerry finally should go it alone. No one, including Jerry, knew what to expect, but the results are remarkable. All the tracks on 1313 except one were played with no overdubs, and most were done in a single take. For those of us involved with documenting the session, it was a magical night. 1313 is dark, masterful, and bravely unique --- an outstanding new exploration of percussion and sound by a man who has been challenging himself musically for 60+ years.

With the release of his solo record he is making plans to organize a far too infrequent solo tour. The performance encapsulates the new solo album as well as the history of Jerry Granelli’s chosen path - improvisation and experimentation. The evening will inspire and challenge.


“One reason why people like improvised music is that it’s a direct reflection of life, not something we thought up. It scares you…makes you think you’re going to die for a moment…do you have the courage to play? Can I move out of my desires and wants, and into compositional choices?” – Jerry Granelli

Born in 1940, and now in his late 70s, Drummer/Composer/Professor/Sound Painter Jerry Granelli has enjoyed an incomparable career in music from the inside out…way out! The winner of the last NEA Grant awarded ascended from playing with the great pianist Vince Guaraldi at the height of his popularity while simultaneously exploring Free Jazz on San Francisco’s thriving after hours sets in the early `60s to establishing academic arts curriculums to indoctrinate and perpetuate alternative musical forms such as Spontaneous Composition in the present. A pioneer of `60s psychedelic sounds, a sideman on a Top 5 pop hit and a session musician for Sly Stone, Granelli is a forward thinking master in the art of music. Since the late `80s, he has recorded over 20 albums as a leader and/or soloist…in jazz and the indefinable beyond.

Jerry Granelli was born December 30, 1940 in San Francisco, growing up in the city’s Italian-dominated outer Mission area. “My dad, Jack Granelli, was a great Italian wedding drummer,” he shares. “He loved the instrument as did my Uncle Pete. Dad liked swing, my uncle was more bebop. My first memory of music was finding a couple of screwdrivers then climbing up the drums to play them!” At 4, he memorized and could play Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five’s “Open the Door Richard.”

Though his parents first tried to start him on violin, Jerry was adamant in his love for the drums and swiftly became a bona fide prodigy. He studied under classical player Al Carr, sat in when his dad’s friends played Dixieland, and won every drum competition that came along. “I did that until I was about 10,” he says. “They kept bumping me up to compete against older kids. I was already converting snare drum rudiments and applying them to the drum set…but I had to sit at the edge of a chair to reach the foot pedals!”

San Francisco had a rich jazz scene in the `50s with a strong connection to what was happening in New York – The Tenderloin district, The Jazz Workshop, The Blackhawk and Black jazz clubs downtown in Fillmore like Jimbo’s Bop City. His dad would take him out once a week. When he was 8, Jerry spent a day learning under the feet of the legendary Gene Krupa. But it was Dave Brubeck Quartet mainstay Joe Morello that spent extensive time with him. “I would drive him to rehearsals and set up his drums,” Jerry says. “I was around the very first time they rehearsed Paul Desmond’s ‘Take Five’! For two years Morello taught me technical aspects of playing and never once tried to influence the way I played. I was listening to Jo Jones (for his hi hat technique), Roy Haynes and Philly Joe Jones who would all come to town in different groups playing at The Blackhawk. I’d see Danny Richmond at The Jazz Workshop with Mingus, Billy Hart with Jimmy Smith, and Elvin Jones – always very kind – with John Coltrane.”

“By 12, my uncle had taken me to hear Charlie Parker which blew my mind. I started sneaking out to the Koo Koo Club on Haight Street. I’d try to play and they’d throw me out. It was harsh but that was the rules – tough love. Then I heard Max Roach play a solo on ‘Parisian Thoroughfare’ that was melodic and harmonic, not just rhythmic. I realized how evolved the American drummer had become – my first glimmer of ‘a musician that plays the drums’.”

Jerry also learned much from the men on the local jazz scene. “I started off playing a lot of casuals, cabaret shows and in the symphony, but I knew that’s not what I was eventually going to do. I did that for experience and money because there wasn’t much jazz work and I wasn’t good enough yet. But I got to do jam sessions, rehearsal bands, big bands…strip joints and blues haunts…all while trying to get my be bop chops. At 17, I started getting a lot of $8 gigs at North Beach playing with local heroes. Tenor man Bobby Ferrera decided to come by every day at 4pm and teach me a Monk tune for an hour. There were no books. Anyone who was kind to me felt that I was sincere in my desire and took it upon themselves to teach me. They were anxious to keep the music alive.”

Granelli’s first big break came at age 21 when he went on the road with the Johnny Hamlin Quartet. “We did the Midwest and it was also my first trip to New York,” he says. “We made no money but I was playing jazz every night. When I got back to San Francisco, (drummer) Colin Bailey and (bassist) Monty Budwig had both left The Vince Guaraldi Trio to move to L.A. Vince’s big hit ‘Cast Your Fate to The Wind’ was out so he had a lot of bookings. Vince gave me a shot. In his inimitable way, Vince said, ‘We’re going to Sacramento for a week. We’ll see what happens.’ I knew I had to play better than ever and I did. Vince kept me.”

Jerry recorded with Vince on several of his collaborations with Brazilian guitarist Bola Sete and was present on many of the “Charlie Brown” television special scores including the inaugural now-classic A Charlie Brown Christmas – an internationally beloved jazz treasure for children of all ages which includes the bouncy theme “Linus and Lucy.” Sadly, carelessness on the part of Fantasy Records kept him from being properly credited on that album for decades. “That was the real beginning,” Jerry shrugs. “I was making good money as a working jazz musician. (Renowned music critic) Ralph J. Gleason would write about me so I went from a local guy to national recognition.”

“The gig with Vince was great but constricting,” Jerry continues, “There was another way I wanted to play. Dewey Redman was around. Pharoah Sanders had come up from Arkansas. I’d get off my gig with Vince at 2 then play the hard stuff for four hours over at Bop City. Then Jackson’s Nook would open at 6 A.M. I had the best of both worlds.” While playing with pianist Flip Nunez, Jerry met guitarist Fred Marshall who ushered him further onto alternative pathways. It was the seeds of the American avant-garde. New York had Ornette Coleman, Eric Dolphy and Albert Ayler. Jerry began to interface with a daring group of West Coast cats that included pianist Tom Harrell and Rafael Garrett on bass and whistles.

Jerry left the Guaraldi trio in `64 and switched to pianist Denny Zeitlen who’d moved to San Francisco from Chicago and was playing more open. Jerry recorded the Columbia Records studio LPs Carnival and Zeitgeist with The Denny Zeitlen Trio – a band that tied with the classic Miles Davis Quintet for Group of the Year honors in Downbeat Magazine’s Critics and Readers Polls of 1965. He also played on the trio’s Live at The Trident, a club in Sausalito that catered to a who’s who of visiting jazz stars. Jerry accompanied many of them including Carmen McRae, Jimmy Witherspoon, Lou Rawls and Mose Allison. “It had dawned on me during a solo I played with Denny that I wasn’t hearing the drums in a typical fashion. I got a tympani, 3 gongs, and racks of bells and tom toms.”

Another interesting mid-`60s sideline found Granelli doing studio work for then-up-and-coming record producer Sly Stone – pre-Family Stone – at *Tom Donohue’s* Autumn Records. “The Beatles bored me,” Jerry confesses, “but working with Sly I got to play some rhythm and blues, and work in the studio cutting singles on different artists…and beer commercials – separate ones for the Black, White and Hispanic radio stations.” Jerry played with folkies The Kingston Trio. He also cut a golden oldie for A&M Records’ pop vocal group We Five which featured his friend Fred’s then-wife Beverly Bivens as lead singer. The song, “You Were on My Mind,” was a dynamic pop radio smash that soared to #3 on the Billboard Top Singles chart in August of `65 on the wings of Granelli’s driving soft-to-loud/reflective-to-rousing pulse. “Frank Weber, who owned the Trident Club, brought me in on that,” Jerry shares. “That single sold 2 million, the album 1 million. I was making a living but those gigs were essentially paying the tab for me to play OUT on my time.”

After leaving Zeitlen’s trio, Jerry did a few gigs with jazz piano legend Bill Evans but declined joining the band. Instead, Jerry and Fred created a quartet called The Ensemble just as the psychedelic scene started popping up around `68 at Haight-Ashbury. Fred had invented an instrument called a Megatar – an 8-string guitar with a flexible neck but bigger. Jerry started experimenting with electronics to match. “The only place we could play was in the Haight at the Both/And club and the Sugar Hill opposite Redd Foxx. He called what we played ‘empty the room music!’ We couldn’t buy a jazz gig. (Rock impresario) Bill Graham had a club called The Matrix. We got on a bill between Jefferson Airplane and Big Brother &The Holding Company (Janis Joplin’s group) as Bill’s ‘pet band’.”

Jerry’s next band was even more innovative, an artist collective of three musicians and four light painters called Light Sound Dimension. “We were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as pioneers of the psychedelic scene,” Jerry states. “Frank Weber put Fred and I together with Bill Ham and Bob Fine – two light painters from the company Family Dog that did light shows for rock bands out at the Avalon Ballroom. They were improvisers who loved jazz. We played the San Francisco Museum of Art in front of screens inside rooms where every wall was painted black. Then we’d hang at The Fillmore with bands like The Jimi Hendrix Experience and The Paul Butterfield Blues Band. I was no longer in the middle of the jazz stream. It was a wide open time…the free speech and civil rights movements were raging…the sexual revolution…anti war demonstrations. Our music was tied into all of that social consciousness. There was also a lot of LSD going around… I went to Europe for the first time in `71 with The Grateful Dead.”

“This is when I began to see myself less as a musician and more as an artist,” Jerry muses. “I figured everybody would be multi-disciplinary by then.”

In the midst of all this, Jerry discovered Buddhism which additionally began to shape his consciousness. “The first time I went to hear Chogyam Trungpa speak, it was like the first time I heard Charlie Parker. I recognized what he was saying as truth. It was like someone had read thoughts in my mind that I had never spoken aloud. I got involved with them and trying to figure out how to be a human being – living out in Berkeley raising vegetables. I hadn’t done anything my whole life but play music. I was trying to discover myself. Studying Buddhism I became aware of ‘lineage’” (the generational continuum of souls connected and moving forward).

After visiting for two summers in `74 and `75, Jerry moved to Boulder, Colorado in 1976 to study Tibetan Buddhism. He started the Creative Music Program at Naropa Institute with percussionist Colin Walcott (later of Oregon fame). “That was tied in with what Carl [Karl] Berger had been doing up in Woodstock. We brought out musicians like Don Cherry and Charlie Haden. We had dance and theatre departments. I got to work with poets Allen Ginsberg and Ann Waldman. For five weeks, people would come together, have concerts and teach. It was a real entrance into education based on this type of music – in how it could be taught. Naropa was about crossing boundaries and making the arts melting pot work together.”

Next in `81, he took his burgeoning teaching chops to Seattle. “A scene was developing at Cornish Institute of Arts where I found myself on a faculty with Jim Knapp (composer), Gary Peacock (bass/theory), Julian Priester (trombone), Carter Jefferson (sax) and Jay Clayton (singer).We had a free hand at a new way of teaching this music to an exciting and receptive collection of young people like Brad Shepik (guitar) and Briggan Krause (alto sax). We taught music in a way that involved the streets. It was about not trying to stylize students. It was a great time. We were teaching but all of us got to do a lot of playing together. Gary and I became a sought after bass and drums duo. We did a lot of traveling…and a lot of ECM recordings! I also played with Jane Ira Bloom.”

On the advice of his Buddhist teacher, Jerry left Reagan era America to live in Halifax, Nova Scotia where he got in touch with its strong folk and roots scene and Celtic music. It was while on a series of solo concert dates in Europe that Jerry encountered mallets master Dave Friedman in Berlin who had started a music program at Horchshule der Kunst. Jerry accepted a position there (now The Jazz Institute of Berlin) and was officially recognized as a professor – not through traditional academia but through a more organic amalgam of his experience and outlook on art. “The Germans looked at my resume, my career, my life’s journey and said, ‘You are a teacher.’ It was like a jazz musician hitting the Lotto. I had a steady job of high esteem, I enjoyed a great salary and I still get a pension. I played a lot but I really enjoyed teaching and designing curriculum.”

“The heart of that curriculum is every class is a playing class,” Granelli elucidates. “Even the theory class had a performance aspect. We had 60 to 80 students a year for a 4-year program. There were about 8 ensembles running – blues, bop, free, composers, etc. – so everyone got to be a part of some ensemble. It also involved intimate relationship with students based on giving information to help them find their own voice. The European approach to jazz really changed with the presence of American teachers. In the `80 and `90s, they got to hear The Art Ensemble of Chicago, John Zorn and Ornette Coleman. They understood and embraced the social aspect of the music which represents freedom. And when they graduated, they were ready to work not just as sidemen but to make their own music.”

Jerry was Director of Jazz and Popular Music Dept. at Canadian Conservatory.

He also co-founded the Atlantic Jazz Festival with Susan Hunter,
introducing an educational component to the jazz festival experience. And Granelli started the band camp Creative Music Workshop which happens two weeks every summer.

The fertile ground of teaching and a relationship with producer Lee Townsend gradually led Granelli to recording as a leader with an emboldened sense of imagination. He started a double-guitar band with some young German musicians and called it UFB (an acronym for UnFuckinBelievable). He cut a record titled A Song I Heard Buddy Sing based on Michael Ondaatje’s novel “Coming Through Slaughter” (The Life of Buddy Bolden) with Kenny Garrett on sax, Julian Priester on trombone, Anthony Cox on piano, and both Bill Frisell & Robben Ford on guitars. It won the German Critics Prize – high respect for Granelli as a leader – was also nominated for a Grammy Award and Canada’s Juno Award.

Since 1987, Jerry Granelli has recorded almost an album a year- profoundly inspired to do so via his respect for the great Max Roach. Among his first CDs were One Day at a Time and Koputi (both on the ITM label), News on the Street and Broken Circle (a Native American meditation). Recent highlights among these projects include albums with his band Badlands, a septet with guitars and saxes. Its 1998 album Enter, a Dragon (with accordion) included the ethereal pieces “Fainting Sheep” and “Bou Nora.” Another band, V16, is a double-guitar quartet that incorporates samplers. Its self-titled 2003 debut featured the pieces “O Bossa, Where Art Thou,” “Mutator” and “Black Confederacy.”

The following year’s Sandhills Reunion (2004) was an especially unique piece in collaboration with writer/spoken word artist Rinde Eckert whose scenarios, short stories and poetry were set to evocative ‘soundscapes’ on titles such as “Smart Women,” “20 Questions for an Outlaw,” “Your Voice,” “Never to See You.” “That project was assembled as a composite of Americana,” Jerry explains. “Sandhills is a sprawling area in Nebraska with clusters of small towns. We made an aural movie by trying to create a third thing out of words and music – like Mingus meshed jazz and dance with Black Saint & The Sinner Lady as a ballet.”

In 2010 Granelli recorded a solo/all-drums album in one day titled 1313 (after the address behind which his Sprung Studio resides). “Doing that record was not my idea,” Jerry confesses. “It was the idea of Dorsey over at Divorce Records, a label that specializes in what’s called noise records and trash music (neither of which apply to Granelli’s highly experimental yet musical offering of drums, cymbals, synth, octopad and electronics – all mic’d uniquely). 2011 found him engaged in the inevitable – The Jerry Granelli Trio record Let Go – not with piano but sax, bass and drums (with the voice of Mary Jane Lamond on “Solaria” and “Vulnerable”).

Granelli’s evolution from musician to artist has culminated with his adaptation of the descriptive Sound Painter which connects back to another creative outlet he has long enjoyed – painting. “I started painting in the late `60s,” he shares. “Once again, Fred Marshall was an artist. He’d make a charcoal drawing then ask, ‘Can you play that?’ So I started. I like to paint because it’s a slow process. I can tell when I’m about to write music because I start painting… Peter Voulkos was a great American potter who made bronze sculptures like the one in front of the Hall of Justice in San Francisco in the early `70s. I would play them. Later in the `90s, a blacksmith named John Little created sound sculptures – beautiful structures yet make with musical intent. I did a record playing them called Iron Sky (2001).”

In 2014 Jerry joined creative forces with Canadian composer Peter Togni. Peter composed a five movement concerto for improvised percussion and choir titled Warrior Songs (which includes Tibetan text, Spanish Catholic text and text from Malcolm X). Jeff Riley is also writing a piece for nonet – showcasing Granelli as the sole soloist. Warrior Songs premiered in Boulder, Colorado in 2014 and the Canadian premier took place in Toronto in 2015.

Warrior Songs is a five movement concerto for improvised percussion and choir. A 75 minute epic! The central theme running throughout the work is the idea of being a warrior for nonaggression and the simple bravery needed to look directly at one’s own mind and heart.

Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s poetry is the anchor and centre of the work. We are using three of his poems: To Gesar of Ling, A Child's Concept of Death and Battle Cry. We are also using a text from the Spanish mystic St. John of the Cross, a text from the Roman Catholic liturgy, Da Pacem, and a text by Malcolm X from a speech he gave in New York in March of 1964. This speech has the wonderful and important line “…my sincerity is my credentials”. In some way the whole work, though anchored in Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s poems and ideas, points to this incredible line by Malcolm X which is the basis for last movement of the concerto.

The texts are sometimes very direct and can be taken literally and at other times they meld into a sound wall and are more metaphorical, sometimes even colour for the sake of colour, since there will be some who perceive the work as just sound. This concerto is written in the spirit of the early Shambhala vision of different schools and schools of thought existing under one roof. Granelli and Togni are friends and have collaborated for many years; they play together in improvising ensembles in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Together, they have managed to build a piece that combines Jerry’s use of specific rhythmic patterns, patterns important to him on many levels, and Peter-Anthony’s imagination and skill as a choral composer and by consequence have united their spiritual practices; Granelli’s Tibetan Buddhist practice and Togni’s Catholic practice.

This concerto is an ecumenical journey
towards nonaggression but it is certainly not a quiet ride; it ranges from sublime static sections to thundering chords and wild bursts of sound! The percussion part is freely improvised and is also made up of set patterns, the coming together of freedom and form, intuition and improvisation. The texts and Togni’s mystical choral writing are the backdrop for Jerry Granelli’s legendary brilliance as a jazz drummer and improvising percussionist who will endeavour to bring the listener, in the words of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, to a state of “hereness”.

Warrior Songs was commissioned by Jerry Granelli.

2015 also saw the release of a new full length recording- What I Hear Now, which featured three saxophones, a trombone plus Bass and drums with guest Mike Murley on one of those saxophones, Dani Oore on another. The album was released on Canada’s ADDO records, it was critically acclaimed and went on to be nominated for a JUNO Award, as well as win an East Coast Music Award.

In 2016 Jerry was honoured with the prestigious Portia White Prize: The prize is named for Portia White, a Nova Scotia artist who rose through adversity to achieve international acclaim as a classical singer on the great stages of Europe and North America. Her achievements continue to instill a sense of pride in the African Nova Scotian communities and stand as a model to all Nova Scotians. The Portia White prize recognizes cultural and artistic excellence on the part of a Nova Scotian artist who has attained professional status, mastery and recognition in their discipline.

And then he went back to work. Traveling to Vancouver, BC in December of 2016 with the goal of recording a new album of material drawn from his past and present, but all deeply rooted in the blues. This new work was only going to be possible if old friends, guitarists Bill Frisell and Robben Ford could make time in their schedules. They did. So along with bassist J. Anthony Granelli and produced by the steady hands and ears of another old friend and collaborator, Lee Townsend, the new recording came together. It is called Dance Hall, was released in November of 2017. The recording is eight tracks long, half of them include a stunning horn section. This also marked a new home for Jerry Granelli’s music- Montreal’s Justin Time Records.

Granelli’s evolution from musician to artist perhaps could be seen as culminating with his adaptation of the descriptive Sound Painter which connects back to another creative outlet he has long enjoyed – painting.

I started painting in the late `60s,” he shares. “Once again, Fred Marshall was an artist. He’d make a charcoal drawing then ask, ‘Can you play that?’ So I started. I like to paint because it’s a slow process. I can tell when I’m about to write music because I start painting…

(Never one to slow down, his collection is growing) Jerry adds,

Peter Voulkos was a great American potter who made bronze sculptures like the one in front of the Hall of Justice in San Francisco in the early `70s. I would play them. Later in the `90s, a blacksmith named John Little created sound sculptures – beautiful structures yet make with musical intent. I did a record playing them called Iron Sky (2001).

I want to be an artist `til I drop and continue to be relevant,” Granelli concludes. “I remember seeing Max Roach in New York City just before he died in 2007. I walked into Carroll Music on 55th and could not believe my eyes. At 83, that man had rented a room and was in there…practicing.”

And now for my next number, I would like to play…a building.

– A. Scott Galloway
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:09 am

Dale Asrael
by Naropa University
Accessed: 8/19/19 | 303-546-3522

Associate Professor
Core Faculty
Master of Divinity - Core Faculty
BA in Religious Studies - Core Faculty
MA Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Mindfulness-Based Transpersonal Counseling - Core Faculty
MA in Religious Studies: Contemplative Religions - Core Faculty
MA in Religious Studies: Indo-Tibetan Buddhism - Core Faculty
MA, Contemplative Education, Naropa University
BS, Communications, Northwestern University

Dale has taught in the field of contemplative education for more than thirty-five years, with a career spanning early childhood education through high school and university. Her career at Naropa began in 1991, where she has focused on contemplative training for counselors, therapists, chaplains, and working teachers. Her chapter, “The Love of Wisdom Puts You on the Spot” appears in Meditation in the Classroom, soon to be published by SUNY Publications. Dale is an Acharya (Senior Teacher) in the lineage of Naropa’s founder, Ven. Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, and Sakyong, Mipham Rinpoche and is an Upadhyaya (Buddhist minister). In addition to her teaching at Naropa, she leads meditation retreats and dharma programs internationally, and trains meditation instructors. Dale has been appointed by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche as the Dean of Meditation Instructors for Shambhala International, responsible for the training, supervision, and support of all meditation instructors. Dale is a practitioner of the ancient contemplative body-mind practice Qigong and has been appointed to teach in the Xiantianwujimen and Xiquan lineages by Daoist lineage holder, Eva Wong.


Dale Asrael
Accessed: 8/19/19

Dale Asrael

Dale Asrael, growing up in a suburb of Washington, DC, studied music and dance and, even as a young child, ruthlessly searched for answers. Through her Jewish ancestry, she learned to celebrate the sacredness of life and, simultaneously be aware of the depth of human suffering. After completing university studies in film and Eastern religions, Dale moved to Canada in 1970, disheartened by the Vietnam War. Shortly after she took Refuge Vows at the Kagyü Center in Vancouver, British Columbia, Dale heard reports of a “revolutionary young lama” who was teaching about chaos and wisdom. She journeyed to Boulder to meet him, and during her first interview with the Vidyadhara in 1973, realized she was “being given answers to questions I hadn’t even begun to articulate.”

Dale attended the first session of Naropa Institute in 1974 and the first public dathün at Rocky Mountain Dharma Center that same summer. An early member of the Kootenay Dharma Study Group, she spent the next six years traveling from B.C. to Boulder attend programs with Rinpoche. During that time, she completed university studies in Education and became a music teacher in the British Columbia public schools.

Dale attended the 1978 Vajradhatu Seminary, a program remembered for Rinpoche’s regular gatherings for post-talk singing in the hotel lounge. In 1979, she moved to Boulder to study intensively with the Vidyadhara. She taught music at the Buddhist-inspired Vidya School for five years. At Rinpoche’s request, she moved to Rocky Mountain Dharma Center to serve as Head of Practice and Study at from 1985-1990. In that role, she had the inexpressible good fortune of working closely with the Vidyadhara during his last two Seminaries.

Upon returning to Boulder, CO. to live, Dale was able to return to Shambhala Mountain Center every summer to teach at the Seminaries. In this way, she began to work closely with Sakyong Mipham, Rinpoche and to learn deeply from his stream of teachings. She continues to deepen her understanding through ongoing studies and yearly retreats.

Dale has taught as Core Faculty at Naropa University since 1992, in the M.A. Buddhist Studies, Contemplative Education, and Counseling programs, and is an Upadhyaya (Buddhist minister). She leads meditation retreats, dathuns, Sutrayana Seminaries, Ngondro Instructor trainings, and other programs internationally.

“I am continually humbled by studying and practicing the profound teachings of our lineages. The more I learn, the more I realize the incredible good fortune we share.”

Teaching Topics
Refuge Vows & Bodhisattva Vows
Teachers Academy
Shambhala Training Levels
Way of Shambhala classes
Ngondro Retreat
Other Teachings
Qigong Levels I-II, SMC, July 24-26
Qigong Level III, SMC, July 26-28
Qigong and Meditation with Eva Wong, SMC, Aug. 12-17

Acharya Dale Asrael's schedule:
2019-09-07, Boulder, Traditional Chinese Qigong: Levels 1 & 2
2019-10-05, Denver, Taoist Qigong Level 3
2020-01-03, Melbourne, Australian Summer 2020 Meditation Half-Dathun Retreat - Cultivating Sanity in Times of Uncertainty and Change.
2020-01-03, Melbourne, Australian Summer 2020 Meditation Retreat - Cultivating Sanity in Times of Uncertainty and Change, Weekthun A option
2020-01-11, Melbourne, Australian Summer 2020 Meditation Retreat - Cultivating Sanity in Times of Uncertainty and Change, Weekthun B option
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Tue Aug 20, 2019 2:28 am

Dorje Löppön Lodrö Dorje
Accessed: 8/19/19

The meditation instruction was delegated to one of Trungpa's disciples named Eric Holm, but who preferred to use his Dharma name of Lodro Dorje. Holm and I were at odds from the very first day of the module. On his first lecture, focusing on the life of Siddhartha Gautama, the historical Buddha, Holm began badgering me about why Buddha's life and teaching should be revered as any more sacred and reliable than that of his teacher, Trungpa Rinpoche. Nothing satisfied Holm, and I knew that everything I said during the module was going to be held against the yardstick of Trungpa's teaching. The only satisfaction I got was by refusing to address Holm as Lodro Dorje, so whenever we met at Naropa events, on the street, or at parties, I would always say, "Hi, Eric," and smile as Holm would fume and slowly say, "My name is LODRO DORJE, L-O-D-R-O D-O-R-J-E." "Right, Eric Holm," I would say as I walked away convinced he was trapped in his own spiritual materialism. The students in the module weren't particularly bright, or highly motivated, and I quickly lost interest.

-- Topsy-Turvy Times with Trungpa, by Charles S. Prebish, from "Recalling Chogyam Trungpa, by Fabrice Midal"

Naropa Institute, one of the clearest statements of Trungpa’s vision of transmission, was modeled on the Buddhist University of Nalanda, where Nāropā had been an abbot. Though Buddhist inspired, Nalanda had a curriculum which covered secular subjects such as poetry, logic, arts, and sciences. At Naropa Institute it was hoped that the intellectual, critical mind of the West would meet the Eastern technique of contemplation and experiential wisdom.77 In his own education Trungpa had been guided by Jamgon Kongtrul through meditative techniques, combining logic and philosophy with personal experience and understanding through contemplation, always stressing the importance of the contemplative tradition.78 According to Trungpa, a contemplative tradition combining personal experience with understanding was the inspiration for Naropa Institute; he wanted to create a “living tradition” focused on contemplative education.79 However, it was Trungpa’s scholarship that was most difficult for his students to understand. They were, as Prebish describes them, “victims of a serious misunderstanding that result[ed] in transparent anti-intellectualism,” rather than the balance of study and practice Trungpa emphasized.80

The first summer session of Naropa Institute in 1974 brought figures like Ram Das, Allen Ginsberg, Herbert Guenther, Charles Prebish, Harvey Cox, and John Cage
, along with almost two thousand students. Academics like Prebish were intrigued by the process of working with Trungpa’s students. During the second summer session in 1975, Prebish taught a “module”—where students and instructors would study, practice, and live in “close proximity”—with two students of Trungpa’s, Reginald Ray and the Dorje Loppon Lodro Dorje (Eric Holm).81 The experience provided Prebish with valuable insight into the emerging Vajradhatu community. It would also be during these first summer sessions that a vision for an accredited university would take form.



77 Fields, How the Swans Came, 316.

78 Trungpa, “Jamgon Kongtrul,” talk 5, 4/12/1974, Karma Dzong, Boulder, Colorado.

79 Trungpa, “Jamgon Kongtrul,” talk 1, 29/11/1974, Karma Dzong, Boulder, Colorado.

80 Prebish, American Buddhism, 154.

81 Fields, How the Swans Came, 317, and Prebish, Luminous Passage, 94.

-- Fresh Bread from an Old Recipe: Chögyam Trungpa’s Transmission of Buddhism to North America, 1970–1977, by Ryan Jones, McGill University


The Dorje Loppön became a student of the Vidyadhara in 1971, and the following year was coordinator of the New York Dharmadhatu. Later that year he worked on construction of retreat huts at Rocky Mountain Dharma Center. He taught at the first three Vajradhatu Seminaries, and in 1974 led the first dathün at RMDC.

In 1976, then known as Eric Holm, he was appointed by the Vidyadhara as Loppön (or Dean) of Three Yana Studies (Practice and Study), responsible for the meditation and study programs at Vajradhatu centers, working with tantra students, training and supervising meditation instructors, and teacher training.

The Loppön was an early member of the Nalanda Translation Committee and worked on the Rain of Wisdom and the sadhanas of Vajrayogini and Chakrasamvara. In 1978, he was appointed head of the Office of Three Yana Studies and a member of the board of directors. He was a co-founding faculty member of the Ngeton School of Higher Learning, an institute for advanced Buddhist Study under the auspices of Vajradhatu. At Naropa Institute he was a regular participant in the Buddhist-Christian conferences and taught in the Vidyadhara’s summer course there in 1980. He also taught Shambhala Training, especially at the graduate and post-graduate level.

In 1985, the Vidyadhara appointed him Dorje Loppön, giving him further responsibility for advanced teaching, including giving transmissions for ngöndro practices. At that time the responsibilities of the Office of Three Yana Studies included the Ngeton School, and Gampo Abbey.

In 1986 and 1988 he assisted the Vidyadhara and the Vajra Regent in teaching the main class at the Vajradhatu Seminaries, and in 1990, due to the ill health of the Vajra Regent Ösel Tendzin, presided over that year’s program. He co-taught two Vajra Assemblies with the Vajra Regent in 1985 and 1987. Since 1991 the Dorje Loppön has been involved with the three-year retreat program at Gampo Abbey, participating on a part-time basis. He currently serves on the Practice and Study Committee.


Suffering, The Four Immeasurables and Selflessness
Date: Friday, May 30, 2008
Teacher : Acharya Lodro Dorje Holm
Price per person: $120.00
Patron Price: $60.00
Based on sutrayana teachings and influenced by Shambhala and vajrayana perspectives, these classes will be directly relevant to both sutrayana and vajrayana meditators. Each presentation will include view and specific meditation instructions. Open to all.


[Eric Holm, Senior Teacher] At one point I was concerned about whether you needed to be celibate on the spiritual path, because I had been reading all the Hindu yoga books that talked about how important celibacy was in meditation. And just as I was getting to that little question on my list, there was a knock on the door, and it was Diana. And he said, "Oh, come in, sweetie." And she was wearing a yellow bath towel that barely covered her, so I didn't know whether to look down or whether to look up. And then he kissed her and said, "Well, I'll come to bed soon, sweetie." Then she left, and I didn't actually ask that question.

-- Crazy Wisdom: The Life and Times of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche -- Screencap Gallery, produced and directed by Johanna Demetrakas

The Loppön recommends the following readings:

Longchenpa Great Chariot Autocommentary Chapter VII The Four Immeasurables



An effective approach to practice brings three things together: holding our seat in the moment; acknowledging our habitual patterns of ego-clinging; and drawing on the strength of unconditioned mind.

To overcome habitual patterns we need to gain direct recognition of how ego is triggered and perpetuates itself. In Buddhist terms, this is the direct recognition of the origin of suffering; in Shambhala terms this is practicing fear and fearlessness.

This direct recognition is grounded in our inherent unconditioned mind, the buddha-nature, and so letting go of ego-identifications is also a source of deeper strength.


The Four immeasurable Minds provide a foundation for bodhichitta, taking and sending, and tantric practice. We can approach the Four Immeasurables by developing them as qualities, as well as a way to remove our obstacles and blockages to experiencing the true nature of unconditioned mind.

We develop the Immeasurables as qualities by contemplating both the suffering and the accomplishments of ourselves and others. We remove obstacles to unconditioned mind by opening to pain, vulnerability, and uncertainty in ourselves and others.

In this way the Immeasurables arise not merely as the result of conceptual contemplation, but also as the manifestation of inseparable awareness and compassion.

(TALK 5)

Continuing with our theme of attending to three things together: holding our seat in presence to inner and outer experience; acknowledgement of our defenses, ego-reactions, and habitual patterning; and drawing on the strength of the unconditioned mind.

Taking and sending practice can involve all of these elements. We start by getting a foothold on liberating our own suffering; from there we extend further.

(TALK 6)

Who, where and what is our true self? Where is this "I" who proclaims "I am", "I need", "I must do", "I must defend"? Our physical body is impermanent and has no solid center. Our emotions fluctuate between joy and depression, love and anger, peace and turmoil. The conceptual stories we identify with alternate between success and failure, social and private personas, pride and fear. Consciousness–is it in thoughts or separate from them? Awareness–is it continuous or momentary? We will examine the Buddhist teachings on the five heaps (skandhas) .

Schedule and format

This course offers six recorded classes in total.
We recommend that wherever possible, participants gather together locally for the talks, practice together, dress up, and create a good container in which to receive these teachings.

Program Fees

The program fees listed below are suggested amounts. Please pay what you can—less, or more, than the suggested amount. Your contribution will support our ability to provide online teachings in the future.

REGISTRATION FEE: $120 for individual participation. $60 if part of a group.

TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS: A computer with a wired, high speed internet connection.

Please note: recordings are made over the internet. Their quality cannot be guaranteed.
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You Are Avalokiteshvara
by Eric Holm
Lion's Roar
January 1, 2002


Eric Holm on how visualization practice helps us overcome ego and pacify obstacles. Includes “A Visualization Practice: Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion.”

The buddhadharma is renowned for its skillful methods of meditative training. In Vajrayana Buddhism, many of these methods are based on the visualization of archetypal wisdom forms, or deities.

Visualization practices come from a very profound point of view. For generations of practitioners over more than a thousand years, such practices have been pivotal in overcoming the basic problems of the ego’s self-centeredness, emotional fixations, and frozen perceptions.

For those not acquainted with these seemingly strange practices, they may raise a host of questions:

• Where do these deities come from?
• Are these actual beings or symbolic forms?
• How do these images express spiritual inspiration and spiritual training?
• If the highest realization in Buddhism is formless emptiness, what is the usefulness of these images?
• How do these practices differ from the worship of deities in theistic spiritual traditions?

Mind Works in Symbols

Actually, visualization is not foreign to us. Our mind works in images and symbols all the time. Many of our daydreams and memories, even our most fleeting thoughts, arise as images. Our inner aspirations and ideals, as well as our thoughts of authority figures, lovers and adversaries, all may come in images.

What Vajrayana does is to exploit the image-making activity of our mind that is already taking place and turn it into a skillful means.

However, there are some important differences between the ongoing visualization process of our habitual thoughts and the use of visualization in meditation. First of all, unless we have trained ourselves to work with our thoughts, our usual visualizations with their overlay of associations and transferences are largely involuntary. In fact, these images are the very medium of our emotional torment and confused projections.

Second, the emotional charge associated with these images is generally not free flowing. It tends to be fixated into one emotional pattern or another, such as desire, depression, jealousy or anxiety.

Finally, we are often not aware of these visualizations as being our own thoughts or mental productions. We may not recognize how our subconscious imagery mixes with our actual perceptions and colors how we see the world. So in many cases our mind’s image-making is a source of confusion and entanglement, rather than a source of opening.

What Vajrayana does is to exploit the image-making activity of our mind that is already taking place and turn it into a skillful means. We should be clear at the outset that the wisdom archetypes visualized in Vajrayana are definitely not separately existing external beings, in the way that theistic traditions often present deities. Rather, these are symbolic manifestations of buddhanature, the potential for awakening inherent in every living being.

Grasping and Fixating: The Creation of Self and Other

In the Buddhist view, the root of all negativity is our ignorance of the true nature of life, consciousness and the universe, and our attempt to grasp and solidify what is ever changing and ungraspable.

The original ground of being is vast openness and spontaneously present, radiant basic intelligence. This is reflected in the buddhanature within the mind-stream of every living being. Ignorance of this intrinsic radiance and fear of its limitless openness results in a process of shrinking down, obscuring and distorting the basic intelligence. What results is the frozen, dualistic mind-body-and-world we are so familiar with.

This process, called “ego clinging,” has two aspects. The first is the grasping and centralizing of experience around an instinctive “I, me, and mine.” The second is fixating on solidified meanings and frozen perceptions of the universe. Though described as two aspects, the creation of a self and its positioning in a frozen universe are two sides of one coin.

The buddhanature in us represents tremendous creative potential, yet our habitual being is blinded and distorted by the ego process of grasping and fixation. This results in the continual recreation of our confused being, burdened by fear, limitation, and conflicting emotions.

Buddhanature: The Ground, Path and Fruition

The term “buddhanature” refers to our own innate wisdom and compassion. Often our buddhanature emerges spontaneously in acts of kindness, courage and inquisitiveness, yet at other times it is obscured by our clinging to small identities, imagined securities, and emotional fixations. Buddhanature also manifests as a gnawing dissatisfaction, a search for deeper meaning in life. This is buddhanature manifesting as the ground, the innate potential in everyone, whether realized or not.

Increased openness to ourselves and to the world comes from letting go again and again of self-centered thoughts and habitual storylines.

We can also speak of buddhanature as the path. As a result of meditative training, a constructive approach to life, and good spiritual guidance, we begin to let go of obsessive thoughts and small identities. We experience increased openness to ourselves and to the world. This comes from letting go again and again of self-centered thoughts and habitual storylines. Instead, we settle into a genuine sense of being, our buddhanature, which is said to be composed of openness, compassion and insight. It is our true nature, so to speak.

Finally, there is buddhanature as the fruition, the state of being of those who are fully realized. This manifests as the three kayas, or bodies, of the awakened state. They are the dharmakaya, sambhogakaya and nirmanakaya.

The dharmakaya, or “body of the dharma-nature,” is the completely unbounded being of the awakened state. It is beyond form, beyond experience, beyond relative time and space. It is the creative potential within and behind everything.

The sambhogakaya, or “body of complete enjoyment,” refers to the unceasing, spontaneous emanation of compassion, which aims to liberate all beings who live in a contracted, fearful, dualistic consciousness.

Finally, through the nirmanakaya, or “body of emanation,” the dharmakaya and sambhoghakaya are actually embodied, for instance in the physical presence of an accomplished master or in the form of the wisdom archetypes.

Vajrayana Practice

In the Vajrayana view, our life stands on a twofold ground: the ground of our confused being and also what permeates it—this tender inquisitiveness of buddhanature, which is something very powerful. So in common with all Buddhist traditions, Vajrayana takes our confused being on the path as something to refine and purify. In addition Vajrayana takes our buddhanature on the path as something to bring out and acknowledge. The wisdom deities that are visualized manifest the illuminating force of the buddhanature that is present in us, and in this sense we bring the wisdom of fruition to the path.

When we refer to the wisdom deities as symbolic, we don’t mean they are mere symbols. They are dynamic images that reveal the wisdom, compassion and potency of the buddhanature that empowers them. They are symbols of a state of being that combines profound awareness of how things actually are with the active and transformative power of that awareness. As the Heart Sutra says, “Form is no other than emptiness, emptiness is no other than form.” The Cajrayana deities express this inseparability of emptiness and its dynamic activity.

But how is it that such images actually spark the insight of emptiness-form in our minds, rather than being just another mental projection or some neurotic fantasy? This is a crucial question that goes to the heart of what visualization practice is about.

The answer is twofold. First, the practices function this way because they are empowered by direct transmission from a teacher who represents a living lineage of realization. Second, their effectiveness depends on appropriate preparatory training of the student-practitioner.

Visualizations are sometimes given to beginning students as objects for mental stabilization, and this is entirely valid. Nevertheless, on the whole, the visualization of the wisdom deities is an advanced practice that needs to be understood in the context of Buddhist meditative training in general.

The Development of Mindfulness and Stability

To understand visualization practice, we have to understand something of the progressive stages of meditation. Only in this way can we understand the state of mind from which the wisdom archetype meditations arise. In the buddhadharma, the meditative journey begins with taming and pacifying the mind. The crucial element in this is mindfulness.

In Buddhism our initial task is to recognize our thoughts as simply thoughts, rather than as ultimate realities, and to make friends with the unruly cacophony of forces that is our inner world.

Even though the ordinary disciplines of life can bring us some mental focus, the inner landscape of our mind often goes unnoticed. By holding our attention to the breath or another simple object of focus, our mind becomes sharper and we become aware of a flood of mental activity. In mindfulness meditation, we acknowledge the thoughts, emotions, projections, hopes and fears that arise and dissolve in our mind, without judging any of them as good or bad.

Therefore, in Buddhism our initial task is to recognize our thoughts as simply thoughts, rather than as ultimate realities, and to make friends with the unruly cacophony of forces that is our inner world. We accept everything that arises, and let it go. Accommodating this inner chaos becomes a means of taming it. Holding to our object of focus and recognizing our repeated distraction serves to interrupt the obsessive train of thoughts and preoccupations, so that over time we develop some inner peace and stability.

The Development of Compassion

The buddhadharma, like most spiritual traditions, emphasizes the importance of compassion and empathy. There is the obvious suffering of people in extreme distress, such as refugees from a civil war, and of people suffering loss, grief, illness or poverty. However, a more subtle suffering and struggle pervades all of life, even among people in fortunate circumstances. Life brings continual challenges, anxieties and disappointments, and the suffering we experience in our own life can reduce our arrogance and increase our empathy. So compassion arises, first of all, from our own experience of suffering and our awareness of others’ predicaments.

Compassion arises in a second way from our gratitude and affection for those close to us-our parents, mentors, friends and children. Starting with this universal instinct of compassion, we can then undertake deliberate meditation on loving-kindness that removes possessive attitudes and expands our compassion more universally.

Third, compassion arises as an inherent quality of awareness. As such, it manifests warmth and communication toward all beings and all things, without history, without memory, without cause or reason. This boundless compassion is one aspect of the Vajrayana deities.

Connection with a Spiritual Master

Fundamentally, our spiritual development is our own responsibility. Nevertheless, a relationship with an authentic teacher who embodies a lineage of spiritual instruction brings immeasurable help. Such a teacher has gone through much training and is aware of the many sidetracks and blind alleys that spiritual practitioners may get themselves into, as well as the various ways they can resist the process of waking up.

A competent teacher will know how to instruct aspirants stage by stage, according to their capabilities. But the inspiration of such a teacher goes beyond guidance and instruction. An evolved teacher also manifests an enlightened state of being, and the atmosphere of wide-open mind, compassion, directness and wakefulness around such a teacher is very inspiring.

The teacher’s example is not mere charisma in the ordinary sense; it is authenticity of being. From the presence of such a person, one gains confidence that the awakened state is not just a myth from the past. It is real and can be realized by people of the present generation. This brings confidence, a deeper glimpse into the nature of one’s own mind, and a sense of admiration, respect and devotion.

It is by acknowledging the feast of our ego clinging that we learn to transform confusion into wisdom.

Devotion in the Vajrayana arises from trust in the dharma, gratitude for the benefit one has received, and longing to realize one’s true being, which is inseparable from the teacher’s realization. Sometimes devotion is misunderstood as placing oneself in a dependent position and regarding the teacher as an all-wise parental figure. No doubt the teacher’s wisdom and vision in spiritual matters is beyond our own. Nevertheless, taking such a dependent position is an obstacle that has no developmental value. Whether in the basic Buddhist approach of self-liberation, in the bodhisattva path of compassionate action, or in the Vajrayana discipline, what is called for is confidence in one’s inherent potential, trust in one’s own insight, and a brave, even heroic attitude.

At the same time, devotion to an authentic teacher allows students to open up to their most basic fears and neuroses and also to discover their most far-reaching potential. It is by acknowledging the feast of our ego clinging that we learn to transform confusion into wisdom. The ngöndro, or Vajrayana foundation practices, help to make this surrendering process deep-seated and real.

Change of Allegiance

The development of mindfulness, of compassion, and of a relationship to a genuine teacher brings about a certain change of allegiance in the practitioner. We begin to realize that our habitual aggressions, avoidances, indulgences, jealousies, slanders, arrogance and so forth are the source of only bewilderment and suffering. Gradually we lose faith in these habitual strategies. Both in our mind and behavior, we begin to shift our allegiance to a saner approach.

This change of allegiance is sharpened by several additional insights. First, we begin to realize that human life has a precious task-opening ourselves up to the spiritual foundations of existence. Our own existential restlessness, as well as our encounter with accomplished teachers, confirms this.

Second, we realize that our life is impermanent; its conditions are constantly changing. Life is unpredictable; however, it is certain that eventually we will have to leave this life and this body behind. At the time of death, our only resource will be the pattern of sanity and openness we have developed.

This realization of impermanence might bring with it a certain element of panic and groundlessness. We realize that although there are temporary securities, nothing in this life can provide the ultimate security we crave. All this brings a certain immediacy and urgency to our path.

Moreover, we can see that many people lead life in a way that is bound to be self-defeating in the long run. Not being in touch with our deeper nature, we suffer from spiritual emptiness, and no matter how many diversions we seek, that emptiness remains.

A Visualization Practice: Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion

When our mind bears the imprint of the above foundations, we are ready to be introduced to visualization practice. As a result our training, when we visualize the wisdom deity it has the following qualities:

First, the visualization has the imprint of our teacher’s mind and the way he or she has pointed out the nature of mind to us. Second, it is stamped with the immediacy of mindfulness. Third, it has the nature of compassion. Fourth, it represents a change of allegiance from our habitual, fixated mind.

In Vajrayana there are three classes of visualization: the gurus, the wisdom deities, and the protectors. Commonly, we visualize our own root teacher in the form of Vajradhara Buddha or Guru Rinpoche. This expresses the insight that even though we meet our teacher in human form, his or her realization is continuous with the realization of the lineage as a whole. Second, we visualize the wisdom archetypal deities. These deities are always understood as inseparable from one’s own teacher and lineage. Third, we visualize assisting and protective forces, the dharma protectors.

To explain some further aspects of visualization meditation, we can go through the basic stages of a short practice of Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion.

The Front Visualization

At the beginning of the practice, we visualize the wisdom archetypal form, in this case the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, in front of us and surrounded by the masters of the lineage. The front visualization represents the presence of higher wisdom and awareness that we, in our more undeveloped state, open to and aspire to emulate. It is good to cultivate the attitude that this visualization is not merely in our imagination, but that the wisdom mind and compassionate activity of the deity and our teacher are actually present. In this way our visualization can be empowered because it arises from our connection with our teacher.

At this stage, the visualization is an external object of refuge and devotion. Just as we take refuge in the Buddha as an example, the dharma as a path, and the sangha as companions, here we take refuge in the masters of the lineage and the sambhoghakaya deity forms as the embodiments of enlightenment. In their presence and with their support, we take refuge and also arouse a motivation of compassion.

Formless Meditation

Following this, the visualization is dissolved into oneself, and one rests in the open awareness of formless meditation. This dissolves any boundary between the visualized form and the meditator and opens us to the deeper awareness of unconditioned mind. Here, the afterglow of the visualization practice and the inner clarity it provoked is merged with the unstructured mind of complete openness.

This is the emptiness phase of the meditation session. Vajrayana practices always alternate between these two phases—between dynamic but transparent form, and empty awareness pervading whatever arises. This formless phase of meditation is also influenced by whatever direct instruction the student has received from her or his teacher concerning the intrinsic nature of awareness.

Following this state of unstructured awareness, the self-visualization is invoked.

The Self-Visualization

When we have completed the Vajrayana foundation practices, or ngöndro, which have made our being more open and workable, we may be empowered to visualize ourselves in the form of the deity. In this case it is that of Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion. The reason we do this is to acknowledge the buddhanature within ourselves by identifying with Avalokiteshvara’s nature of compassion and emptiness.

Each deity practice has its own special characteristics, which should be learned through the oral instruction of one’s teacher. However, several points are emphasized concerning all these practices: a vivid but empty form, recollection of the significance of the deity, and an uplifted mind full of confidence in one’s inherent potential.

During the form, or “generation” stage of the meditation, the deity’s symbolic form serves as the focus for mental stabilization. This form is like a rainbow or a body of light—empty and transparent. Thus it is the union of appearance and emptiness, rather than a solidified mental projection. There is a definite object to engage the mind, but it is held loosely and openly. At the same time, the image is evocative. In the case of Avalokiteshvara, he is handsome, white and very radiant, shining with lights of the five wisdoms, smiling and gazing compassionately, peaceful and contemplative.

While visualizing the form of the deity one also meditates on its significance. We understand that Avalokiteshvara’s body is empty and translucent because he is free of clinging to concepts, ordinary forms and solidified emotions. His faultless form symbolizes complete freedom from all the negativities that should be abandoned. His four arms symbolize the four immeasurable qualities of loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity. In his heart center is a seed-syllable that represents his wisdom mind, which is inseparable from the mind of the teacher. His ultimate nature is the union of compassion and emptiness.

Furthermore, one should have an uplifted mind and the conviction that the deity is a real representation of our nature. We are not imagining something that is not so; we are acknowledging the wisdom-compassion nature that is actually present within us, in order to manifest it further. Sometimes we might find this perspective encouraging, and at other times demanding.

Beyond this, special instructions concerning the meaning of the visualization are received orally from one’s teacher, especially concerning how to unify the visualization practice with the recognition of the mind’s essential nature.

Having manifested the deity, we call down additional blessings from the lineage and then begin the recitation of the appropriate mantra. While some mantras have conceptual content, this is not primary; on the whole, they are the manifestation of the deity in the form of speech and inner energy.

Following the visualization period of the session, the deity dissolves into one’s heart center and one again rests in formless meditation. This serves as an antidote against thinking of the deity, or of oneself, as a solid external entity or a focus of neurotic grasping.

Vajrayana Symbolism

The images of the Vajrayana deities arose within the experience of realized practitioners as wisdom display. Therefore, they are not like the projections of conventional mind. Traditionally, these images were often kept secret because they are symbols of inner transformation, transmitted to the meditator by the teacher. Of course, in Tibet they became quite well known because the culture was so thoroughly permeated by the Vajrayana tradition. Today in the West one can see these images on calendars or in art books, but needless to say, the inner experience of these images is quite different from what can be grasped by looking at a book. They were never intended as poster art.

While the peaceful deities might seem quite soothing and familiar, many of the semi-wrathful forms are somewhat paradoxical and shocking, from ego’s comfort-oriented point of view. They are splendid, magnificent, beautiful and awe-inspiring, but at the same time they might be cutting and menacing.

Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche emphasized that these archetypal forms are transcultural. They do not belong to any ethnic background; rather, they address raw and rugged energies of human existence, which are universal. Apart from elements of royal Aryan garb that some of the peaceful deities wear, they do not wear Chinese or Indian or Tibetan costumes. Instead, they wear elephant skin cloaks and tiger skin skirts. They wear ornaments of human bone, which remind us of death, impermanence and renunciation, and as adornment, they wear ashes from cremation grounds. They brandish various scepters, implements, and weapons. Their moods are peaceful and contemplative, friendly and magnetizing, outrageous and gallant, threatening and menacing.

Peaceful, Wrathful, and Semi-Wrathful Archetypes

Some deities, such as Avalokiteshvara, present a peaceful way of magnetizing us into openness. However, we are not so easy to tame by peaceful methods alone. We have lots of conflicting emotions and entrenched arrogant attitudes. Therefore the semi-wrathful and wrathful deities are made to order for people like us. They can communicate directly to the raw and rugged qualities of our conflicting emotions—they help to provoke, uproot and transmute them. This type of practice makes many demands on the practitioner. One has to have a very clear understanding of the intent of the practice, the confidence to jump into the purifying fire, and the willingness to ride one’s mind and emotions in all situations of life.

The semi-wrathful and wrathful deities are made to order for people like us.

The semi-wrathful or wrathful forms do not mean the deities are angry. Rather, they are dynamic: their energy can manifest in whatever way is necessary to tame and transmute. For instance, the semi-wrathful deities are often described as “enraged against the four maras,” which represent personal and societal ego-fixation. The four maras are the skandhamara, the deception of clinging to solidified personality; the kleshamara, the liability of getting lost in storms of conflicting emotions; the devaputramara, which entails the arrogance and complacency of god-like existence, exemplified by forgetting one’s bodhisattva motivation; and mrytumara, the obstacle of death and interruption. These are the obstacles the wisdom deities help us to overcome.

Lineage Gurus, Wisdom Deities and Dharma Protectors

When we visualize the masters of the lineage, our main emphasis is tuning into the support, blessing, and realization of the tradition as the basis for everything that follows. Then, the meditation on the wisdom archetypes is as briefly explained above. Finally, based on our relation with the master and the wisdom deity, we also invoke the assistance of the dharma protectors, who embody action principles of awareness. An example of such a protector is Vajrasadhu, whose image is on the cover of this issue.

The protectors’ role is to create reminders for the practitioners if they lose their discipline, and to help pacify or subdue obstacles and neurosis in the physical or psychic environment. Their form is often wrathful, as an expression that liberated awareness can reach without hesitation into the raw and rugged energies of existence to tame and transmute them. The result of the protectors’ activity is to restore situations to a workable and wholesome ground.


Vajrayana practice is based on recognizing that the confused ground of our being is also permeated by the presence of buddhanature. Therefore, under the guidance of an authentic teacher and lineage, we can practice by employing fruitional principles of awareness on our path. These principles are both without form and with form. This kind of practice is very helpful but it also demands real surrendering of one’s ego-agendas. It requires appropriate preparation and real commitment to fundamental sanity.


Dorje Loppön Eric Holm, a close student of the Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, was appointed by him to oversee practice and study at Vajradhatu centers from 1976 until 1991. As Dorje Loppön he was responsible for the hinayana, mahayana, and especially vajrayana training of students. As well as teaching dharma and Shambhala Training programs, he currently works as a technical lead in a software company.
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