Breaking: Submit your questions my interview with Carolyn Mandelker, Executive Director of Shambhala International (ASAP)

Via Waylon Lewis
on Nov 28, 2012
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Above image: the old thangka at the Boulder Shambhala Center.

Shambhala: Supporting Growth of Mission; Celebrating New, Honoring Time-Tested.

Carolyn Mandelker, the Executive Director of Shambhala, emailed me a few days ago re doing an interview re my blog Shambhala in Crisis. If you read that, and have constructive, forward-looking but tradition-respecting, genuine questions, please leave them in the comments section below and I’ll pass them along.

This interview should not be about me and my questions, merely, but represent a give-and-take opportunity for all who love Shambhala, the Sakyong, and Trungpa Rinpoche.

I’m sending my questions to her ahead of time as a courtesy and to allow for thorough, not general responses. Here’s what I have so far:

I think my questions would be

(off the top of my head)

First of all, I’d love for there to be a big giving campaign link, we could fundraise as part of the interview. So the first question would be, basically,

What are the challenges facing Shambhala, specifically? Is Shambhala losing money? Are some of the big rural centers losing money? If so, why, and how can we help generally? Why is fundraising, communication & social media so seemingly weak?

And then some followups, depending on what you say, and don’t say!

And then: how can we help, specifically?

Is there a possibility of continuing to offer the classic courses? Can we allow Open House teachers to teach in the old style? Can we find room for Trungpa Rinpoche’s videos? Are staff overwhelmed, underpaid? If so, how can we help, both practically and materially? Are the centers doing okay? How can they do better? Why didn’t the Sakyong’s amazing book have a professional team supporting? How can we help it get out there more? Are we paying for some things that we could cut back on? Do we need money for other things and what are they that could benefit the sangha’s mission rapidly? How can we better connect volunteer energy?

Can we reach out to reasonable, constructive elders and get them more involved as teachers and magnetizing forces for Shambhala and meditation? I know many, specifically, who’ve faded off, many of us do.

Can there be a stronger sangha communication effort? Can we offer a link here for folks to subscribe to the new sangha talk, etc? Can folks share blogs?

Some Shambhalians are now meeting on their own to study various teachers, including the Sakyong. How can we make the Centers more “big umbrella,” again, Rime, confident enough to include other teachers? Why the policy change?

Is Shambhala no longer Buddhist? I mean, where are all the old Kagyu Nyingma practices, trainings, and even photos?

And any questions you want asked, I can ask. I will also ask anything relevant from comments in the article, so read those over if you can, again.

And again huge thanks for your service and devotion and being so sweet generally and to my mom specifically.




About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


4 Responses to “Breaking: Submit your questions my interview with Carolyn Mandelker, Executive Director of Shambhala International (ASAP)”

  1. phyllis lola says:

    Waylon, I think you need to at least organize your questions in some comprehensible form. Pick any form that pleases you other than rambling with whatever pops into your head: edit. You have some good questions but they are scattered and jumpy. Also, ask a question that forces a response that is clear so that the person being asked has to be specific rather than general. Your initial topic was about finances — start with that. The policy questions may or may not relate directly with finances. Does the current policy reflect from the possible loss of revenue (we don't know if there is a loss of revenue or if it is serious)? This means the interview breaks down into two sections: finances and policy. The fact that the question exists about Shambhala being Buddhist means she has a lot of confusion to respond to and she may not be equipped to do so. Can she reliably respond? If all decisions, as has been indicated, come from the Sakyong she may not have a voice herself and only be in a role of translator or a less flattering designation. That's a question.

  2. elephantjournal says:

    Amen! This is not how the interview would go…just a list off the top of my head, as I said, since Carolyn wanted some heads up before the interview. It'll follow the format of the initial blog, but also include any reader submissions. I've done 100s of interviews, literally, no worries, and amen, and thanks for contributing. ~ Waylon Lewis

  3. Martin Fritter says:

    A number of assertions were made in the original article. I'd like to know if they are true. Carolyn should be given a chance to reply directly. In essence, is SI in crisis? Is it hemorrhaging money? When was the last time financial statements were published? Are they available on-line? Are the finances of the major centers – KCL, SMC and so on – part of SI and therefore included in the financials? Was SI given a chance to comment on the original article before it was published? If they were, why didn't they? For WL: if not, why not? Is it responsible journalism to publish allegations of crisis and mismanagement without giving the object of the article a chance to reply?

    What is the relationship between the Sakyong Ladrang and SI? What is the financial status of SL?

    I recently read the current SMC catalog (well, most of it) and couldn't find a reference to Buddhism. In fact, SMC seems like a spiritual supermarket. In terms of branding, is the Buddhist component being consciously de-emphasised? If so why?

    Is the tag-line: Shambhala: Supporting Growth of Mission; Celebrating New, Honoring Time-Tested" a joke?

  4. Rogers que está enterrado en una loma en el extremo de uno de los potreros.. El tono neutro más ligero (DEC772 Turrón) es un color de cuerpo perfecto, aunque rica marrón (DEA161 Wild Mustang) juega como una selección de equipamiento. No hace muchos años, tenemos uno o dos presuntos casos al año.