Upcoming Special Events
for Shambhala Centre leadership
This page will be updated frequently. Please check back regularly.
NEW! Join the International Event Planners group on the Shambhala Network to receive regular updates about planning for upcoming events. This group is open to anyone - you just need a Shambhala Account to join. Don't forget to tell your local event organizers!
MidSummer's Day - June 21 or 22, 2014
In the Northern hemisphere, we are approaching the longest day of the year, moving from Spring into Summer. In the Southern regions, the seasons are transitioning from Fall into Winter. This year, the summer solstice falls on Saturday, June 21, but some centres may also celebrate on Sunday, June 22nd.
As Shambhalians, we gather four times each year to acknowledge the cycles of nature as the seasons change. These days are known as “Nyida Days’ – “Nyi” which means sun. “Da” is for “Dawa”, which means moon. These four seasonal holidays are an opportunity for us to gather as a community, inviting friends and family to a warrior celebration. It's wonderful to take time for being together purely for enjoyment, with no "business" or tasks to accomplish, but just to rejoice and connect with the natural world.
For MidSummer’s Day, our traditions include a lhasang, which can be very big or very small in just a lhasang bowl. Many centres and individual practitioners have already purchased the beautiful new Shambhala lhasang flags that were just introduced around Shambhala Day, but if you have not, you may order them here.
This holiday is also a great time to enjoy games and sports. Many communities celebrate in a park, have a picnic or a group walk. Whether your local sangha is in the north or south, it is lovely to spend some time together outdoors, enjoying games and laughter.
Great Mandala Offering - Sunday, July 13, 2014
On Sunday July 13, 2014 the annual Great Mandala Offering will be held throughout the mandala. In a message from his 2010 retreat "Invoking Generosity" the Sakyong wrote: "I would like to initiate an annual 'Great Gathering of Mandala,' or 'The Great Mandala Offering'." This would consist of us gathering for a day, where we offer a great mandala. As a community, we would try to accumulate 100,000 or more mandala offerings in one day. This is not a fundraising day but a day of practice: celebrating through practicing the joy of generosity.
Please visit this web page (restricted to members who are also vajrayana students) to read the Sakyong's document "Great Mandala Offering." It includes instructions on how to conduct this event.
All Shambhala tantrikas are invited to participate, including those who may not have begun mandala practice, or those who do not have the lung for the Shambhala Primordial Rigden ngöndro.
Please keep a record of how many mandala offerings are done throughout the day (multiplied by the number of students), and send this figure to Jill Scott so the Sakyong may be informed.
It would be wonderful if each centre would be able to have three practice sessions, but even a single session with only two students will bring merit.
- Start with opening chants in the first session.
- Sit for 10 minutes.
- Use the "Offering the Mandala" text from the Primordial Rigden ngöndro, from the top of page 16 through the mantra on page 18. Repeat the long mandala offering up to and including this mantra over and over. All should do the chant in unison: "fairly slowly, ceremoniously, and graciously while placing 37 heaps of rice representing the universe; then it would be offered simultaneously."
As described in the Sakyong's message, a senior teacher, or teachers, can preside, and in addition those present should rotate coming to the front of the shrine room to make offerings. Individuals who have mandala plates and baskets of saffron rice, should use these. Other students may simply hold their hands in the mandala mudra and offer rice.
If a centre has the traditional large stacked mandala offering rings, the very first offering could be made using this, and then it would be placed on the shrine or the Sakyong's throne table.
- Conclude the session as one would normally if doing mandala practice, including 3, 7 or 21 recitations of The Seven Levels of Shambhala Virtue.
- Include protector chants at the end of the afternoon or evening sessions, and longevity supplications and dedications of merit at the end.
- The day could end with a celebration.
- Please review the instructions at the back of the Primordial Rigden ngöndro text. If there are further practice related questions, please contact Jill Scott.
May this Great Mandala Offering create great clouds of merit and help the Shambhala Community deepen its understanding of the power and potency of generosity.
Harvest of Peace - Saturday, September 20, 2014
The main components of the day could be:
- Offering a Shambhala Sadhana practice or feast. The Sakyong has decided to continue the tradition of making Shambhala Sadhana practice open to everyone for the Harvest of Peace Nyida Day. Copies of the Shambhala Sadhana distributed for this practice should be handed in and kept by the centres.
- Updating the community on projects and progress; Unified Fundraiser for Shambhala
**U.S. AND CANADA ONLY: In addition to the traditional components of our Harvest of Peace celebrations, this year, as part of Unified Giving, we will be introducing a Unified Fundraiser for Shambhala. We will discuss it in this weekend’s leadership webinar on Sunday July 20 at 2 pm Atlantic time (http://shambhalainternational.adobeconnect.com/unifiedgiving/), and more centre-specific information will follow. Please leave space in your Harvest of Peace schedule for this event—preferably prior to the Sakyong’s address. (This was a very strong recommendation following our Shambhala Day celebrations--people wanted to celebrate and be with their families directly after hearing the Sakyong and not wait for the fundraiser to conclude). [Please note that this addition is for centres in the U.S. and Canada only, because Europe is already part of the unified system, and we are working on how centres on other continents can begin to participate at a later time.]
- Gathering to hear the Sakyong's Address, which will be pre-recorded and posted on this page for streaming and download by Friday September 19. Most centres are gathering on the solstice day Saturday, September 20 for Harvest of Peace, but some centres will gather on Sunday, September 21. You may choose whichever works best for your local community.
- Enjoying food and social time (conversation!) together.
You can get creative and have a seasonal planting event, baking contest, nature walk, country outing, city picnic, harvest banquet, or let the children decorate the centre with seasonal art projects! Some centres like to take this opportunity to formally welcome new members or have oath ceremonies for people taking on new leadership roles.
It would be wonderful to create your schedule so that there is at least part of the celebration that can be workable for and open to families with children. (Perhaps having a reception or social meal with families before or after the sadhana.)