Barbara began her Dharma practice in Cambridge/Boston in 1976. She emigrated to Nova Scotia in 1989 with her son Sam, where she worked in administration at local universities, and most recently at the ALIA (formerly Shambhala) Institute in Halifax.
Her inspiration in coming to Nova Scotia was to be part of a “Shambhala Village” and Barbara has finally found her home ground in Tatamagouche. She has a long-time connection with the Kasung Land at Dorje Denma Ling, where she is currently living as caretaker and member of the Dorje Kasung Land Group which stewards the land. She is slowly learning (and becoming an activist!) about sustainable forestry practice, and is happy to see the next generation(s) developing a connection and love for the land.
Barbara has been assisting Heather with Shambhala Online administration since April of 2010 – communicating with new students and old friends, obseserving registration trends, occasionally holding (virtual) hands as we embrace this new technology together – and appreciating the opportunity to be working from home while serving the world-wide Sangha in this style of proclaiming the Dharma.
An historic first for our Shambhala Community was the September 25th Shambhala Vow and Enlightened Society Vow ceremony held online. The idea was to unite the worldwide community and ignite planetary lungta by connecting together all at the same time! More than 3000 people around the world received these vows from the Sakyong, who was broadcast from Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Through the tremendous hard work and effort of many, people were able to recite the vows in their native tongue. Our executive director, Ms. Carolyn Mandelker, has heard from many groups and centres since the festival. They express their joy at having been included in this way, and many even asked that we have more worldwide events of this nature in the future.
Chris Morel is a long-time Shambhala practitioner, originally from NYC, and now residing in Halifax, Nova Scotia with his wife, Mary Campbell.
Chris became interested in computers and technology while working in the Vajradhatu Finance Office in the early 1980′s. Following this, he received a Master’s Degree in Computer Science from the University of Colorado in Boulder and has worked in a variety of technical positions.
In the Shambhala realm, he has participated in various campaigns with the Dorje Kasung, is an active Kusung, and recently worked on the new Halifax Shambhala Centre web site. Other interests include biking, squash, and music (Gagaku, Jazz, and music improv).
As a moderator for Shambhala Online, Chris appreciates the opportunity of helping those in all areas of the globe to connect with Shambhala teachings on meditation.
Debbie McGee lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland with two young cats, two
old dogs, and a middle-aged husband. She also has two grown sons. Debbie
attended Vajrayana Seminary in 2010, and is intent on completing ngondro
this year, with the aspiration of Rigden Abhisheka in 2012. Debbie works
as a video producer in the Distance Education unit at Memorial
University of Newfoundland, and offered to volunteer with Shambhala
Online out of a deep admiration for Heather Scott’s grace under pressure
on Shambhala Day.
Jean teaches doctoral dissertation courses for University of Phoenix Online. She previously taught computer K-8 in the Philadelphia Public Schools, where she was a Technology Teacher Leader. Besides meditation, Jean’s hobbies are art (abstract painting), and hiking. Jean has practiced shamatha mediation since 1974, and is Desung for Philadelphia Shambhala Center.
Of her online experience, Jean says “I like being an online moderator because it’s a chance to connect with people from all over. It’s an opportunity to learn more about the dharma without leaving home. There ‘s a special energy about the Shambhala Online programs that’s hard to define. You’re sharing a space with others, getting a window into their world. I like to see people I know online, as well as meet new.”
Having established a connection with Shambhala about ten years ago, Marion Buckley’s meditation practice includes preparing for Rigden abisheka this year, and her governance practice is as Director of the Birmingham Shambhala Center. She responded to the call for moderators for Shambhala Online programs as a way to contribute to the greater mandala (with the added benefit of “meeting” a variety of wonderful teachers and participants from all over!). Socially, she retired from her “day job” in 2010, is married and has three cats who occasionally show up online.
If you are interested in knowing more about the opportunities to volunteer with Shambhala Online, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
I have been privileged to hear my teacher, Khenpo Gawang Rinpoche (through a translator) give teachings on the madhyamika school and to take the WOS II courses (I am signed up for the next two as well) through the medium of online learning. I generally schedule time for meditation before and after the online sessions to provide the right ground. For future sessions, I have decided to set up a laptop in my usual meditation space, so that I can sit in the proper attitude and take my seat throughout the session. I think this will underscore the sacredness of the experience and separate it from the normal/profaneness of my typical work day, which is the desk where I had been listening to the sessions. I am alone in body when I log in for the sessions; but having my fellow students in the virtual space with me is wonderful. I frequently pull out old materials saved on the Shambhala Online server under my programs for additional study and review. I hope this feature remains available to us.
While I will be the first to agree that online courses cannot completely replace in-person courses, nor that they are identical in impact as far as feel, the mood created by a room-ful of people meditating together, etc., I think they are a solution for those of us who would not have the choice of hearing these teachings at all. I will continue to register for as many courses as I am allowed to and I hope to see the rest of the WOSII series offered through Shambhala Online very soon.
Brandi Carrier Jones
Thanks to Rhonda Newcombe of Halifax for this wonderful story of auspicious connection in Mexico.
I was unable to go to The Halifax Shambhala Centre today for the Werma Retreat. I practiced this morning and watched the [online Scorpion Seal recording with Richard John] in the afternoon. It was wonderful, very inspiring. Thank you.
A little story for you;
When my husband and I were in Mexico recently, we were visiting friends for a few days who live just outside of San Miguel. We stopped by the Shambhala Centre, but there wasn’t anyone around. We saw an ad in the local paper about Richard John giving teachings. We joked about how it would be fun to run into him. Later that afternoon, my husband Michael saw Richard and Liz across the street from us going in to a small store. He ran across and stood behind Richard who was looking at something on a shelf. Michael said,” Excuse me sir, may I help you?” As Richard turned, he was replying and stopped mid reply not expecting to see Michael at all! (We live not far from Richard and Liz in Halifax).
Michael and Richard were laughing as the rest of our group came in. Hugs and picture taking took place. I’ll also attach the picture. (Michael says, ” there was a large gap”, before the laughter and hugs. Ha!)
Wishing you the best,