So I realize this morning that I have, without a doubt, fallen down the rabbit hole.
And I'm not coming out.
The way I have decided to approach this project is not by means of a state by state exploration or a methodical review of centers by sect. The process is random. I have a wooden bowl with 50 cards, each with a state name. And each day I pull one and take to the web or my small library for the adventure. The plan is one center per day.
Wyoming is one such state.
I don't mean this project to be a dissertation. It is a form of a daily ritual as well as a learning experience. When I set off on the web today and started googling around to see what exists, dharma center wise, in this Rocky Mountain State, not much initially came up. Creative word search combinations soon had me on a mounting trail of websites that offered tidbits of information on dharma practice and history in Wyoming. Nothing direct, but compellingly linked to figures I am familiar with from my prior readings.
Laramie Shambhala Dharma Center is the first center I came across. I quickly learned that the Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche was the founder. Vidyadhara is a Sanskrit term, the literal translation being 'awareness holder' (Rigpa Wiki). Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche was one of the early figures on the North American Tibetan Buddhist scene and his name will appear many, many more times throughout these pages. His role in the early dissemination of teachings of the Vajrayana in North America is paramount and his history lively. Crazy Wisdom is one of his many works as well as the name of a seminar he delivered, the Crazy Wisdom seminar, in Jackson Hole in 1972.
Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, the son of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche as well as his dharma heir, is the current director of Laramie Shambhala Center. The legacy and practices of Shambhala will also be referenced numerous more times in these pages. As a lineage, Shambhala draws from the Kagyu and Nyingma schools of Tibetan Buddhism and was founded by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in the mid 1970's. Shambhala is a vision, as set forth by Chögyam, a practice, a philosophy and a global community. In Tibetan Buddhist mythology, Shambhala is also a place. Shambhala is incredibly exciting. For now, that is all that shall be said.
I've emailed the folks at Laramie Shambhala Center in hopes of getting information on the Center's history and role in the whole network of Shambhala Centers, which is vast.
G'day! Wyoming: I look forward to a return.