Home / Blog / Senior Teacher Suzann Duquette’s Retirement Letter

Suzann Duquette retirement from Karme CholingHappy New Year 2023! I wish you strong insights, continuity of practice, and a joyous heart in this Gregorian new year.

I am writing to let you know that I will be retiring from the position of Karmê Chöling Senior Teacher in February. I began this position in 2007, when Executive Director Jane Arthur asked me to come back on staff as a senior teacher. In 2012, when Resident Acharya John Rockwell moved to Halifax, I was asked to fill his staff position, which I considered to be an honor and accepted. I held that position until 2021. Since then, I have been Karmê Chöling’s Senior Teacher, for the past two years as a volunteer. 

When Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche asked me to become Karmê Chöling co-director in 1994, he said, “I think it will be good for you.” This has been so true, more than I could have imagined. Here, I have grown up, fallen in love, awakened as a kinder human being, and glimpsed what it means to be of benefit to others. This has been a magical and transformative time. I have much to learn, yet I have benefited greatly by being, working, practicing, and studying with the Karmê Chöling family – those of us who have spent time here and who walk together on the path of basic goodness and wisdom.

I have thought deeply about retiring, and feel now is the right time. This is mostly because Karmê Chöling – even with its perpetual changes, challenges, and groundlessness – is as strong as I have ever known it to be. It has met major vicissitudes over the past four years within the Shambhala community and in the separation of Shambhala and the Sakyong Potrang with integrity and care, and has responded consistently and successfully to meet the fierce realities of Covid. This is due especially to Betsy Railla’s strong leadership as Executive Director. Betsy has magnetized a team of skilled and dedicated leaders around her, and also has held this great ship of Karmê Chöling on a steady course through her skill, heart, intelligence, humanity, dialogue, and discipline. There are few people who could have steered Karmê Chöling as skillfully in these turbulent times. It stands as a vital, practicing, and caring community and retreat center with solid financial footing.

It is challenging to create a wholesome and wakeful residential community and retreat center, a microcosm of wakeful society. With the blessings of the lineage and the dralas, and the support of many practitioners, I believe Karmê Chöling is a good example of one on earth, right here. I am delighted to have been even a small part of this manifestation. While the challenges will continue, Karmê Chöling has deep roots and a strong foundation to meet whatever lies ahead.

I will be in residence through the January Karmê Chöling Household Retreat. In early February, I will complete my time as Karmê Chöling Senior Teacher and arise anew in a different relationship, as part of the surrounding community of practitioners. 

I bow to everyone who has worked and resided within these walls and on this land, and to everyone who has supported Karmê Chöling in ways large and small over many years. To those who live here now, a bow and heartfelt thank you for all you are doing and will do for yourselves by living here; for others by being present and meeting the challenges of caring and being of service; and for the world because of what you have learned here. I have no doubt that you will offer greater clarity and a softer heart to others and the world after you leave Karmê Chöling. 

All this can arise because of practice, study, generosity, and being present for this precious opportunity now. It is possible to hold the lessons, light, and consciousness of living in a community and on land blessed by the lineage of Sakyongs – Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and the Vidyadhara, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche – and other revered teachers, the sincere and dedicated practice and retreats of thousands of dharma students like ourselves, and the pervasive power and magic of this drala-drenched land – all of which has been deepening for 53 years, more than a half century! That’s what I feel I will hold in my heart.

Suzann Duquette and Jan Enthoven at Karme Choling

May all of this be of great benefit! E MA HO!

With love, gratitude, and dedication,



  1. Lila Dlaboha says:

    I am very very glad for you, Suzann! I remember with great fondness your experiential dharma sessions, the magnificent presence it created within me. I recall it often, that tightening and release practice, and afterwards you asked us how it felt. It still echoes throughout my being. Thank you for all that you’ve showed me, it has enriched my life.

  2. Lori Abbott says:

    Congratulations, Suzann! I’m honored and grateful to have received teaching from you. Best wishes for your next chapter.
    Much love,
    Lori Abbott 💖

  3. Much love, Suzann. Your wisdom and direction have greatly benefited my life and the life of those around me. May you be happy, healthy, and safe for many years to come.

  4. A very well deserved retirement indeed! Thank you for all your diverse and passionate service and leadership over so many decades. May you live long.

  5. Hi Suzanne
    I want to thank you for all that you have given to KCL -(and everywhere else) . you were so kind to my daughter during her time there and you are an inspiration for me.
    much love
    and Keep it up ❤️
    ki ki so so

  6. Suzann,
    Thank you for your cheerful, generous, cutting exertion. Sending wishes to you for peace and enjoyment in your next adventure. We’ll see you around soon. Ki Ki So So!! Love, Tamara

  7. Greg Heffron says:

    You’ve been a powerful and wonderful influence at KCL all these years, Suzann. Many have been lucky to study and practice with you. The lineage owes you a huge debt of gratitude for your patience, fortitude and kindness.

  8. Timaree Bierle-Dodds says:

    Good morning Suzann. E MA HO . There seem countless ways you have nurtured and inspired my path and practice and have witnessed you do the same for others. Retire from this post, yes. Evolving to what’s next, yes. Many we have the good fortune to meet again. with love and a deep bow.

  9. Calryn Aston says:

    Whether present in person or in my heart you, Suzann are an inspiring reminder of warriorship. Whether active or retired, such a legacy remains in the hearts of those you have touched so thoroughly. I am so blessed to be one of those.
    Calryn Aston

  10. Francesca Nilo says:

    Dearest Suzann thank you so much for all you did in Chile, you are such a beautiful example of joining heaven and earth, femenine and masculine principle. Im sending you my love rigth now, is going in the wind, may it be like a playful butterfly full of joy and gratitud from Chile

  11. Madeline Liebling says:

    Dear Suzann,
    Thank you for your beautiful, loving and heartfelt letter announcing your retirement, and for all of the wisdom you have imparted to the Shambhala community over so many years. I will look forward to seeing you in a different incarnation in the Northeast Kingdom. Also at Qi Gong! Much love.

  12. Dear Suzanne,
    You have had many roles over the last umpteen years and so many of us have benefitted from your teaching and your gimlet eye. I look forward to seeing what comes next. Much Love, Ree

  13. Hello Dear Suzann
    It is with great joy and sad heartfelt that i read your letter announcing your retirement.
    Thank you for all that you are and all that you did. Always kind, cheerful, beautiful and powerful person.
    You’ve been an inspiration for me.
    Wishing you all the best, peace and abundant happiness.
    May you be around for long and meet you once more.
    Thank you
    E MA HO


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