Photo: D’Arcy Norman
In the winter of 1975-1976, we had just moved into the Pic Building, the present Boulder Shambhala Center at 1345 Spruce Street…
We were reveling in the mahogany woodwork and stain glass windows of this bigger, less funky space. Although 1111 Pearl Street had served us well, hippies that we were, the move to this three story stone structure in the very heart of Boulder was a strong statement of changes to come.
First Rinpoche shocked us by saying that he wanted not only all the walls painted white, but all the lovely reddish brown mahogany trim and stair rails painted white as well.
Rinpoche was boss so we did as he asked, and were pleasantly surprised to see how the whiteness both unified and brightened the formerly dingy hallways and stairwells.
Then came the International Orange paint for the columns and trim in the upstairs main shrine room, followed by the highly contrasting “dharmakaya” blue for the upper trim adjacent to the ceiling. We were not going to be falling asleep in this shrine room!
But I just couldn’t get my head around Rinpoche’s final instructions to gold leaf the flame-like molding and ornamentation above and below and all-around the main shrine, making it look to me like a merry-go-round. I was shaking my head in silent disbelief, as I watched Herbert Wickenheiser apply more and more gold leaf to the molds he had made. Then Rinpoche entered and, reading my poverty-mentality, he said “Lean into the gold. You are not separate from that!”
The predominant themes in her life have been teaching in contemplative schools–Vidya, Naropa, and the Shambhala School in Halifax, Nova Scotia–and studying, practicing, or teaching his Shambhala Buddhadharma wherever she finds herself.