Dale Asrael, growing up in a suburb of Washington, DC, studied music and dance and, even as a young child, ruthlessly searched for answers. Through her Jewish ancestry, she learned to celebrate the sacredness of life and, simultaneously be aware of the depth of human suffering. After completing university studies in film and Eastern religions, Dale moved to Canada in 1970, disheartened by the Vietnam War. Shortly after she took Refuge Vows at the Kagyü Center in Vancouver, British Columbia, Dale heard reports of a “revolutionary young lama” who was teaching about chaos and wisdom. She journeyed to Boulder to meet him, and during her first interview with the Vidyadhara in 1973, realized she was “being given answers to questions I hadn’t even begun to articulate.”
Dale attended the first session of Naropa Institute in 1974 and the first public dathün at Rocky Mountain Dharma Center that same summer. An early member of the Kootenay Dharma Study Group, she spent the next six years traveling from B.C. to Boulder attend programs with Rinpoche. During that time, she completed university studies in Education and became a music teacher in the British Columbia public schools.
Dale attended the 1978 Vajradhatu Seminary, a program remembered for Rinpoche’s regular gatherings for post-talk singing in the hotel lounge. In 1979, she moved to Boulder to study intensively with the Vidyadhara. She taught music at the Buddhist-inspired Vidya School for five years. At Rinpoche’s request, she moved to Rocky Mountain Dharma Center to serve as Head of Practice and Study at from 1985-1990. In that role, she had the inexpressible good fortune of working closely with the Vidyadhara during his last two Seminaries.
Upon returning to Boulder, CO. to live, Dale was able to return to Shambhala Mountain Center every summer to teach at the Seminaries. In this way, she began to work closely with Sakyong Mipham, Rinpoche and to learn deeply from his stream of teachings. She continues to deepen her understanding through ongoing studies and yearly retreats.
Dale has taught as Core Faculty at Naropa University since 1992, in the M.A. Buddhist Studies, Contemplative Education, and Counseling programs, and is an Upadhyaya (Buddhist minister). She leads meditation retreats, dathuns, Sutrayana Seminaries, Ngondro Instructor trainings, and other programs internationally. In March of 2011, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche appointed Dale the Dean of Meditation Instructors,
asking her to be responsible for the compassionate activity of meditation instruction in the Shambhala mandala. This includes the training, supervision, development, and support for actual meditation instruction path itself.
“I am continually humbled by studying and practicing the profound teachings of our lineages. The more I learn, the more I realize the incredible good fortune we share.”
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