Shambhala Interim Board
The Interim Board is a group of eight Shambhala students selected by the Shambhala Transition Task Force to serve for a for a period of 12 months, starting on October 17, 2018. The Interim Board holds the legal and fiduciary responsibilities to govern Shambhala USA and Shambhala Canada and to work closely with the governing body of Shambhala Europe. The Sakyong has pledged to support the Interim Board and has waived his right to suspend or appoint directors to the board during the twelve months of our term.
The primary focus of the Shambhala Interim Board is on the financial health of Shambhala, responsible management of Shambhala resources and the ongoing care of our community. The Interim Board will work closely with the Process Team, a group created by the Transition Task force to work on Shambhala community, healing, culture, governance, and learning.
Your support and input is greatly appreciated. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be providing regular updates through this website and in letters to the community. We have started a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) which you can find below to address the most common questions that we receive.
We are humbled and honored to help Shambhala in this period of transition.
Yours in the Vision of Shambhala,
The Shambhala Interim Board
This website will be maintained as an ongoing community resource for information, updates and support.
Scope of Work
Interim Board Mission from the Transition Task Force:
- Keeps the Shambhala organizations compliant with their legal obligations.
- Keep the Shambhala organizations financially solvent.
- Support the work of the Process Team and collaborate with them when appropriate.
- Support Europe by approving an appropriate leadership team for Shambhala Europe, reflecting the wisdom and aspiration of the European Shambhala sangha.
- Support the regions and the centers around the world in continuing their work.
- Support the ongoing work of Shambhala central services, the various employees, and the ongoing work of the pillars.
- Be in communication with the community about important developments and decisions in Shambhala.
- Report to the community on the results of the collaboration with An Olive Branch, in particular the new Care and Conduct policy that was developed with An Olive Branch.
- Release to the community as much of the Wickwire Holm report as is legally and ethically possible while respecting confidentiality.
- Keep the Sakyong apprised of your work even though he is not responding to any administrative aspects of Shambhala or the Interim Board.
- Work with the Transition Task Force.
Please use this button to access a folder of communications from the Shambhala Interim Board, beginning in October 2018. We will continue to update this folder with translations in as many languages as possible.
If you have questions about this initiative, please use the button below to submit them via e-mail. Please note that we are receiving a high volume of questions at this time, and will do our best to respond in a timely manner.
Interim Board Members
Dr. Veronika Bauer
Veronika has studied electrical engineering and computer science. She has worked in management consulting, as an industrial line manager and a business owner. She is now freelancing in these fields, with a passion for bringing mindfulness to the workplace. She lived in the US, Hong Kong and currently in Germany. She joined the Shambhala community over 20 years ago, served several years as center director in Munich, heads the European Donor Group and since this fall serves as the Interim Co-Director of Shambhala in Europe.
Martina is a Scorpion Seal practitioner and has been an active member of the Shambhala community for almost 20 years. She has served the Sangha in many ways including being a member of the Boston Council and holding the seat of Societal Health and Wellbeing in Boston. Currently, Martina teaches, is on the People of Color Council, and the Councils of Sky Lake and the Boulder Shambhala Center. In her working life, Martina has over15 years experience successfully managing and scaling up operations for mission driven organizations on a national and international level. She currently consults with local, national and international nonprofits and philanthropists on board governance, charitable advising, communications, operations, financial management, and program development.
Shastri Mark Blumenfeld
Mark became a Shambhala student in 1979 and was an active member of the New York City Shambhala Center before moving back to his hometown of Madison, Wi in 1990. He was a founder of the Shambhala Center of Madison Wi, and was appointed by the Sakyong as a Shastri in 2012 and is the former Chair of the Shastri Council. He is retired from a successful career as a technology executive and management consultant, and brings experience in organizational development, project management and administrative systems. He is married to Dr. Lora Wiggins and has three adult children.
John W. Cobb
John attended Harvard College, AB 1966 and Columbia Law School, JD 1969. He practiced law in both the public and private sectors for 23 years until 1992, when he was appointed President of Naropa University in which role he served for eleven years and where he currently serves as an Adjunct Professor teaching “Law, Human Rights and Social Change”. He holds an honorary MFA from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University and is the author of two books of poetry, the most recent being “Footnotes to the Inexplicable: A Memoir in Verse”. He is an avid birdwatcher. He and his wife, Bayard, live in Denver Colorado.
Jen is a Scorpion Seal practitioner whose home sangha is Austin, Texas. Her career has been in Business Operations and Process Improvement, doing things like M&A Integrations, Organizational Development, Budget Management, Labor Planning, Global Footprint Strategy, Consulting and Coaching. Jen loves to travel, exercise, eat and walk her dog Lucy Blue Crow.
Dr. Sara Lewis
Sara is an anthropologist of religion and medicine specializing in Tibetan Buddhism. As a feminist scholar, her work investigates memory, cultural trauma, and resilience; she is also a licensed psychotherapist. Sara has been a member of Shambhala since 2006 and has served within all three arms of the Dorje Kasung as the Trident Executive Officer, a member of the Desung Arm, and a Shabchi in training. In 2019 Sara begins a faculty position at Naropa University in the Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology program in Boulder.
Susan is a long-time businesswoman and practitioner. After receiving her MBA from Kellogg School of Management, she went on for 22 years to be a banking executive for a number of major corporations and then for 13 years until the present, run a family commercial real estate company. Her experience as a dharma practitioner began after meeting Trungpa Rinpoche in 1974. She subsequently served the sangha as Co-coordinator of the Chicago Dharmadhatu, Kasung, Co-Ambassador of the Vancouver Dharmadhatu, Senior Teacher, Chair of the Boston Design Committee, Member of the Boston Shambhala Board of Trustees and Core Member of the Shambhala Trust. She is a member of both the Boston and New Haven, CT Shambhala Centers, dividing her time between the two cities.
Paulina has a Business Administration Degree and has worked most of her life in the financial field. She has a strong background in risk assessment for banks and credit and bond insurance companies. She lived in Johannesburg, South Africa and Toronto, Canada, for more than 6 years, coming back to her home country, Chile, in 1995. She is a Scorpion Seal practitioner, and joined the Shambhala community in 2002, serving as Chagdzö for several years.
Ongoing finance updates are available to Shambhala members. To access these reports, please click the link below and log in to your Shambhala member account. For login issues, please contact the Helpdesk at email@example.com
Care and Conduct
The updated Care and Conduct document is available to Shambhala members. To access the document, please click the link below and log in to your Shambhala member account. For login issues, please contact the Helpdesk at firstname.lastname@example.org
Frequently Asked Questions
Shambhala leadership has received several frequently asked questions by community members and leaders. We will continue to update this section as new themes and questions emerge.
What is the difference between the Interim Board and the Kalapa Council?
- Members of the Kalapa Council were chosen and appointed by the Sakyong. The members of the Interim Board were selected by the Shambhala Transition Task Force.
- Kalapa Council members served until they voluntarily stepped down or were asked to by the Sakyong. The Sakyong cannot remove members of the Interim Board from their commitment to Shambhala until October 17, 2019. Given that the Sakyong has stepped back from administrative duties, this agreement will be under review.
- Several of the Kalapa Council members were salaried employees of Shambhala. None of the Interim Board members are employees of Shambhala, nor do they receive a salary for this work.
What is the relationship between the Interim Board and the Sakyong?
- Unlike the Kalapa Council which acted under the direction of the Sakyong, the Interim Board acts independently, in consultation with the key constituencies of Shambhala; the members, center and group leadership, teachers, the Shambhala Process Team(s) and the Sakyong. Accordingly, the Interim Board will keep these constituents informed of its activities with the intention to create a stable and sustainable financial and governance environment for Shambhala.
How will the Interim Board communicate with the community?
- We plan to make regular updates to this website and provide regular communications of our activities and plans through emails to the community.
- We are investigating other ways we can communicate with the global community.
- The Process Team will be a critical conduit of feedback from the community to the Interim Board.
What decisions can the Interim Board make? What can’t they make decisions about?
- The Board can make all operational, financial and legal decisions necessary to manage the organization of Shambhala USA and Shambhala Canada.
- The Board cannot make decisions for the Potrang, although they will make recommendations and collaborate where appropriate.
- The Board will not rule or decide on matters of doctrine, curricula or liturgy. The Shambhala Terma, and its supporting teachings are the purview of the Sakyong.
- The Board has no authority to appoint Acharyas, Shastris, or any dharma teaching positions or to make appointment of positions in the Dorje Kasung. However, the Board reserves the authority to remove or censure such teachers for reasons of findings of misconduct pursuant to Shambhala policies.
- The board cannot amend the Articles and Bylaws of Shambhala at this point without the Sakyong’s consent.
Will there be any changes to the Interim Board’s tenure which was originally to be 12 months?
- The Interim Board members are now committed to serve for 12 months until October 17, 2019.
- The Interim Board needs to consider how to continue the governance of Shambhala now that the Sakyong has stepped back for the foreseeable future and to consider what is best for the community going forward. We will also be reviewing a request from the Sakyong to continue past October 2019 and will keep the community informed.
- The Interim Board will also be looking to the Shambhala Process team(s) whose role is to suggest appropriate structures to govern Shambhala.
How does the Interim Board relate to the Shambhala Process Team(s)?
- The Interim Board will work closely with the Shambhala Process Team on issues related to governance and community care, particularly on those suggestions that require funding or legal review.
- The Interim Board may choose to implement suggestions by the Process Team, based on community input.
- We plan to have regular updates and communication with and to the Process Team.
- If requested, the Interim Board may facilitate communication between the Process Team and members of the Shambhala community.
- Two Interim Board members will be part of the Mandala Linkage Network, working with all of the various constituencies of Shambhala as part of the Process Team coordination.
How does the Interim Board relate to the four pillars? Does the Interim Board act as the heads of the four pillars?
- The Interim Board does not operate as a replacement for the Pillar Heads that were members of the Kalapa Council. However, at this point, in the absence of a board level leader, the leaders of the four pillars report directly to the Interim Board through the relevant committee of the Board and the Interim Board meets regularly with the four pillars as a group.
- The pillar heads of Government, Kasung, Economy and Practice and Education were members of the Kalapa Council. The Interim Board has no members who are also pillar heads. No pillar heads sit on the Interim Board. The Interim Board has work groups that have identified key leaders within each pillar to have ongoing communication with and to represent issues from the pillar that may need Board interaction, such as matters that require funding or legal guidance.
Is there a legal basis for the Interim Board’s authority?
- Yes, pursuant to the Bylaws of Shambhala, the Interim Board has been legally appointed, and by resolution of the voting Member. The Interim Board’s authority is currently granted by for a period of 12 months until October 17, 2019.
How will the Interim Board address sexual harm in Shambhala?
- The Interim Board acknowledges that the Shambhala community has a history of improperly and inadequately relating to sexual harm. We are committed to the ongoing support of the community as the unfolding of work in this area continues.
- We are especially sensitive to resisting a top-down approach that seeks to polish or smooth over harm that has already occurred and further pledge to be in dialogue with the Process Team and the community at large to reflect on our next steps as a community.
- We have received a proposal, The Code of Ethics, which was written by The Olive Branch and a working group that we will share with the community.
- We also hope to encourage and support processes that consider how all forms of structural violence reinforce harmful power structures that benefit some community members over others.
When were the findings of the independent investigation conducted by Wickwire Holm given to the community?
- The investigator received information through the end of the reporting period which closed on November 16. The Interim Board received the final report on February 2, 2019 and released it to the community the next day. That release contained a cover letter from the board, a summary, and all three investigative reports. You can access all of that information here.
What communication has the community received from the Sakyong?
- The Sakyong wrote a letter after the release of the Wickwire Holm report. You can access that communication here. He also wrote a letter about his stepping back from teaching and administration after the community received a communication from six kusung. We understand that he is continuing a period of self reflection, listening and learning.
What are the legal and financial entities that make up Shambhala? How are they governed?
- What is often referred to as “Shambhala International” is the combination of three entities – Shambhala Canada Society, Shamahala USA and Shambhala Europe. Shambhala USA and Canada operate together as Shambhala Global Services (SGS) and are currently governed by the Interim Board.
- Shambhala Europe (GmbH) is a non-profit limited liability corporation registered in Germany. It is a 100% subsidiary of Shambhala USA and therefore bound to resolutions issued by Shambhala USA. Shambhala Europe operates as part of SGS, is strategically aligned with SGS and exchanges services with SGS. Regional operational decisions are typically made by the European Council together with the managing director(s).
For more detail see the finance report from Aug 18, pages 2-7.
What is the Sakyong Potrang? How is it related to Shambhala?
- The legal entities of the Sakyong Potrang are the Sakyong Potrang USA (a nonprofit corporation registered in Colorado), and The Sakyong Potrang Canada (a registered Canadian Charity). The Potrang entities support the lineage succession of Sakyongs and hold lineage texts, ritual implements, trademarks, copyrights, and the lineage sites of Kalapa Valley and the Kalapa Court in Nova Scotia.
- Also within the Sakyong Potrang are staff positions that support the Sakyong’s teachings and activity, provide administrative services for the Shambhala mandala, and provide the Shambhala Organization’s access to the Sakyong’s teachings. This staff includes positions at Kalapa Media as well as support for transcribing, editing, translating and distributing the Sakyong’s teaching materials and producing lineage events and retreats. Support for the Sakyong’s travel pertaining to practice and teaching is also supported by the Potrang.
- Shambhala Global Services (SGS) pays no support directly to the Sakyong, his family or for their living expenses including ownership costs of the Kalapa Courts in Halifax and Boulder. SGS does pay rent to the Potrang for its share of office space at the Kalapa Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia. SGS has provided support for Potrang staff salaries for positions that supported the Sakyong’s teaching activities, but is now considering ending all payments to the Potrang except rent.
For more detail See the finance report from Aug 18 2018 pages 6-9
How does the Interim Board relate to the Sakyong Potrang?
- The Sakyong Potrang’s mission is to hold and protect the intellectual property of the Sakyong Lineage and to support the Sakyong Lineage by supporting the activities of the current Sakyong. The Sakyong Potrang is legally separate from Shambhala International, but closely aligned, as it holds the source of many of our teachings.
- The organization of Shambhala interacts on a regular basis with the Sakyong Potrang. The Interim Board oversees matters that have bearing on our financial and legal responsibilities.
- The Interim Board works closely with the Directors of the Potrang to keep in good communications about community needs, programming and lineage teachings.
What is the Mukpo Family Office?
- The Mukpo Family Office (MFO) is a name used to refer to the bookkeeping, accounting and tax work (all hourly part-time) done to manage the Mukpo family’s finances.
Why are we selling Marpa House? Aren’t there other assets we can sell other than Marpa House?
- Please see the link to Marpa House Memo the Interim Board distributed on February 1, 2019.
If I have an idea for how to avoid selling Marpa House, who do I share that with?
- Please send an email to email@example.com.
How does the Sakyong get paid? Can you describe all his sources of income? What income and payments does he get from Shambhala?
- As the head of Shambhala, the Sakyong receives a yearly salary of $30,000 (before taxes) that is paid by The Sakyong Potrang. In addition, he receives variable income for teaching, writing, speaking engagements and heart gifts. While the Sakyong has led Shambhala for the past 23 years, the MFO tells us that he has not accumulated any meaningful material wealth or assets beside a family home in Boulder that is heavily mortgaged.
What is the difference between lineage costs and payments to the Sakyong and his family?
- “Lineage Expenses” refer to the salaries of the Sakyong and Sakyong Wangmo, their health insurance, a food stipend, and church-related travel and vehicles. All Lineage Expenses are covered by the Sakyong Potrang.
- For details please refer to the “Finance Report to the Shambhala Community” https://shambhala.org/index.php?file=2018/09/Finance_Report_to_Shambhala_Community_2018-09-20.pdf
What are parsonage costs? Who pays them?
- Parsonage costs are paid by the Sakyong Potrang. A parsonage allowance is an allowance designated by the governing board of a church to its clergy or ministers for the expenses of providing and maintaining a home. This allowance is exempted from the minister’s gross income for tax purposes. Parsonage allowance is also called rental allowance or housing allowance. This allowance can cover costs such as rent, mortgage, house maintenance and repairs, property taxes, utilities, insurance, and remodeling expenses.
Why doesn’t the Sakyong sell the courts and give the money to Shambhala?
- The Halifax Court is owned by the Potrang. Significant donations have been made over time to create and maintain a Court in Halifax. Selling the Court in Halifax would be opposed to the historical intent for those donors.
- The Boulder Court is owned by the Mukpo Family. At this time, The Sakyong and Sakyong Wangmo have decided to put the Boulder Court on the market (either rent or sell) to reduce the costs of maintaining two residences.
Where is the Sakyong now? How do I see his schedule?
- From February to early spring, the Sakyong will be in India and Nepal. The purpose of this trip is to visit the Sakyong Wangmo’s family and visit the Rigon Thupten Mindrolling monastery during Losar for the consecreation of a sacred site. It is a common practice when opening a new sacred site, for several lamas and senior teachers to go and practice at the site. Similar to the many monks and lamas that came to SMC when we consecrated the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya. After this event, the Sakyong will be in retreat and spending time with family.
Did the Sakyong leave the country because of the allegations?
- No. This trip was agreed to 3 years ago, and the plans have not been impacted by the current situation.
How do I make restricted gifts for particular purposes?
- Many people wish to make restricted gifts as a way to offer to a particular project or area of work in which they feel the most passion or connection. While restricted giving is a natural part of philanthropy and giving, at this time, it is most helpful for people to give unrestricted funds, as the current leadership is working hard to develop good strategies to prioritize the areas of work and projects that most need funding.
If you feel strongly that you wish to make a restricted gift, you can do so in the following ways:
- When you donate online on the giving webpage at shambhala.org, there is always an option to leave a note in the comments field. The same applies for bank transfers – you should always be able to write a note in a comments field.
- If you mail in a check, you can make a comment on your check about what you wish your funds to support.
- You can email or call Amy Lewis in the Shambhala Finance Office and specify what you wish your giving to support. (firstname.lastname@example.org / +1 902-425-4275 ext. 137)
- In many cases, you simply need to give directly to the entity to which you wish to support. For example, all the land centers have ways to donate via their website as well as contact information for their Finance or Development Offices.
What is a reasonable amount to give in Europe?
- For members, a minimum donation of 35€ per month to their local center or Shambhala Europe is suggested. This does not include fundraising for special occasions (Shambhala Day, Harvest of Peace etc.) If this does not seem feasible, please contact your center leadership to explore alternatives.
I don’t want to give money unless I can be sure that it doesn’t go to the Sakyong. Is there a way I can give money and have that assurance?
- Donations to your local centers, Shambhala USA, Shambhala Canada and Shambhala Europe are used to provide Global Services for members and centers like materials for practice and education, program planning, the websites, the database and center support. They do not support Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche.
Why did you take an oath to the “lineage of the Sakyongs”? What does that mean?
- As Shambhala students, we believe in Shambhala as our lineage, and our commitment as a Board member is to help the preservation of the teachings for future generations to come. The Sakyong is the current lineage holder and we aspire to contribute so that the Lineage will go beyond our generation.
Did the Board provide us with the complete investigation performed by the Selena Bath at Wickwire Holm?
- Yes. All three completed investigations were released to the community that the Interim Board received. Ms. Bath completed investigations for which a claimant was willing to identify themselves to the person whom they were claiming had harmed them and these were the only investigative reports that she delivered to the Interim Board. In total, she opened six investigations but Claimants connected with Claims #2 and #4 did not want to proceed and Claim #6 was referred to Care and Conduct. The Interim Board did not receive any reports on Claims #2, #4 or #6 but only on Claims #1, #3 and #5, all of which were released to the community.
What period of time did the investigation reports cover?
- Of the 10 people who reported issues of sexual misconduct with the Sakyong (of which only 2 were investigated, as per FAQ above), 2 specific claims related to the time period after 2005; 2 were in the late 1990s; the rest were between 2000-2005. Of the 20 people who reported issues of sexual misconduct with other Shambhala leaders, 10 were from 2005 to the present and 10 were before 2005, with some going back to the 1980s.
If someone feels that they would still like to have an investigation who should they contact?
- The investigation period is now closed with Wickwire Holm. If a community member has a care and conduct complaint they should email email@example.com.
- If this matter involves sexual assault, community members should report such cases to the police. There are many advocacy organizations such as RAINN which can assist individuals and centers with reporting, and with caring for those who have been harmed. Shambhala as an organization will also report instances of sexual assault to proper authorities. While we are working to improve care and conduct procedures, Shambhala should not attempt to deal with crimes internally.
When is the An Olive Branch report coming out? What will be in it?
- On March 19, 2019, the Interim Board released three documents from An Olive Branch. Please visit the Community Care page to access and download the reports.
We will provide ongoing summaries of our weekly board meetings in this section of the site.
February 25, 2019
- HR topics
- Community survey setup
- Planning of zoom meeting with SMR regarding legal and structural possibilities to accommodate “stepping back indefinitely”.
- Planning of next face-to-face meeting of the IB
- Budget 2019
February 18, 2019
- Resolutions to “Front Range Shambhala”, “People of Color council”
- IB response to Kusung letter
- Budget 2019
January 7, 2018
- Exchange with a representative of the TTF on status of establishing the Process Team
- Organizational development discussion
- Status on IT – installing a new donor database
- HR issues
January 2, 2018
- Exchange with a representative of the TTF on status of establishing the Process Team
- Organizational structure and functional view of Shambhala Global Services
- HR topics
- Communications plan
- Update on the Olive Branch and Wickwire Holm
December 12, 2018
- Update on the status of the Process Team by the TTF
- Shambhala Day fundraising campaign
- Preparation for IB leadership webinar on December 16
- Financial plan and organizational options
December 6-9, 2018 (Halifax)
- Getting to know each other as the IB
- Meeting internally on communications, governance, finances, fundraising
- Practice time and team building session
- Exchange with local staff, Potrang representatives, the Halifax community, Wickwire Holm lawyer, visit to the Court, visit to the Shambhala Archives
December 3, 2018
- HR issues
- Implementation of new donor database
- Planning of Halifax meeting: agenda, social gathering with Halifax community, meeting with Potrang representatives
November 26, 2018
IB communication to leaders and community – format and scheduling
Planning for Halifax meeting
November 21, 2018
- Status on Process Team
- Center contribution fundraising campaign
- Next communication with the community
November 19, 2018
- Planning of IB Halifax meeting in December
- HR topics
- Next steps on WH investigation
November 14, 2018
- Update from the TTF on Process Team status
- Staffing issues
- First budget resolutions for 2019 (P&E)
- Discussion on Shambhala Day 2019 campaign
- Discuss process on center transfers and Unified Giving
- Next steps on Code of Ethics, Care and Conduct
November 11, 2018
- Staffing issues
- First budget resolutions for 2019 (P&E)
- Manage process on center transfers and Unified Giving
- Next steps on Code of Ethics, Care and Conduct
November 7, 2018
- Meeting logistics and support for decision making
- Interaction with the Process Team
- Halifax meeting – planning
- Communication support for the upcoming release of the Wickwire Holm investigation report
- Discussion on funding staff support for International Assemblies
- Work team updates
October 30, 2018
- Collaboration of the IB with the TTF, developments with regards to establishing the Process Team
- Human relations/staff topics
- Updates from the different work areas of the IB
- Planning of a meeting of the IB in person in December in Halifax, NS
October 24, 2018
- Extensive check-in and introductions (getting to know each other)
- Review of work areas – Care & Conduct, Communications, Finance, Government, Legal, and P&E
- Review of critical topics by work area – status and next steps
- Discuss initial communication from IB to the community
October 17, 2018
- Introductions and greetings between the members of the Kalapa Council and the incoming members of the Interim Board.
- Members of the Interim Board took their oaths and were seated as the managing board of Shambhala International. After mutual expressions of appreciation and positive aspirations, Kalapa Council members left the meeting.
- Discussion of meeting and organizational logistics by new Interim Board members
- Need for an initial communication to the community