This is the 5th chapter in a series of emails called COMING HOME that will be shared between now and mid-October that are written to entertain, maybe inform, spark memories, connect our hearts, and definitely beseech your help to sustain Karmê Chöling through April 30, 2020. Karmê Chöling needs your unrestricted donations now more than ever before.
I hope you enjoy it. If you missed Chapter 4, you can read it here.
Kit Kanohoaloha Wynkoop
Director of Development
As the Shambhala community grew in knowledge, experience, and numbers over the first few years, Tail of the Tiger grew in shape, size, and design. Students volunteered their time and expertise to expand the interior space of the little farmhouse to turn it into the dharma community’s home.
The Sadhana of Mahamudra was now a regular practice and the Vidyadhara was giving talks on the Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana separately as well as within the Vajradhatu Seminaries across the country.
The Vidyadhara also expanded – or could I say, unlimited – what fit under the Shambhala “umbrella;” his aim being to offer multiple ways that Americans could connect with the dharma. In addition to the Buddhist dharma of the Kagyü and Nyingma lineages and cultural practices of Tibet, he included shrine room forms and cushions influenced by Zen’s Suziki Roshi; the Japanese art of Kyudo (archery) with Shibata Sensei XX; the Japanese art of Ikebana (flower arranging); the Japanese art of Shodo (calligraphy) with Zen teacher Kobun Chino Roshi; cultural, decorum and military forms of England; and, eventually, he included the Shambhala teachings themselves.
Little Shambhala was growing up and would soon be taken seriously.
The Vidyadhara felt it was time to invite the holder of the Kagyü Buddhist lineage – the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje. The time was set for Summer 1974. This would be a very important visit. Not only would it be a reconnection for the Vidyardhara with the holder of his main Buddhist lineage, it could be an important recognition of Shambhala as a legitimate expression of the ancient Tibetan Buddhist teachings.
Students worked tirelessly to prepare for the visit according to the Vidyadhara’s very specific instructions which included the construction and decoration of the main shrine room; dissemination and training in the proper decorum and protocol for a visiting Tibetan Buddhist dignitary; and preliminary work on all the many logistics involved in the Karmapa’s time at Karmê Chöling and beyond.
The closeness of the Vidyadhara and the Karmapa is very apparent in photographs of the visit – dare I say, there was a strong mutual respect and love.
It’s been shared with me by a number of the Vidyadhara’s students how special a time the Karmapa’s visit was. They also shared that it was a valuable lesson in how they should be treating the Vidyadhara.
Stay Tuned for Chapter 6 ….
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