Nashville Governing Council Meeting Minutes

Our governing council meets once a month to hold the business and community activities of the group. Each meeting is open to all.

GC Minutes Oct 14
14 Oct, 2018

The Governing Council of Nashville SHambhala Meditation Group met on Sunday October 14th for it’s regular monthly meeting. Ion attendance was Leslie Gossett, Mary Ann Fricko, Jon Stone, Jill Bates, Amy Warren, Tyler Hume, Paul Felton and Joe Smith with one non member present.

One Agenda Item

The one topic for this meeting was our identity locally as it relates to Shambhala USA and its global counterparts. In the spring of 2018 Project Sunshine released a series of reports with sexual misconduct allegations directed at Shambhala's teacher, lineage holder and leader, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. Additionally Project Sunshine implicated the legal board, the Kalapa Council of complicity in that misconduct. Since that time the KC has been resigned and SMR has stepped down from his teaching and leadership duties.

Our Personal Lineage

We began our meeting with a reflection led by Leslie on our personal lineage. Who has influenced or significantly altered our life's trajectory? Who influenced them, and before them? How might we be influencing those we know? This is our personal lineage and it is one that goes deep into history and will continue. 

Then we had an open discussion on the future of Nashville Shambhala, our vision and how the brand, legacy and influence of Shambhala as an organization, history and lineage relate to that vision. We began that discussion with a big piece of paper to visually represent these things as reference. (See that paper attached to these minutes). Everyone contributed something to the paper. It attempted to layout the relationship between the Shambhala organization, its former leaders, its lineage, including the mythical Kingdom of Shambhala in the sky), our local city, organization and people, the implication of the Shambhala Brand (TM) with it's curriculum, the continuity and community of a vast number of centers and groups around the world (houses), the thread and view of the T E A C H I N G S, and that at the top of this view is our basic goodness.

Open Discussion

Each attendee was given an opportunity to share their thoughts. The following is an overview of this discussion:

  • A feeling of uncertainty as to what the future holds
  • Questioning and confusion from the events surrounding Shambhala
  • Questioning if lineage IS essential for a community like ours
  • The observation that the archaic structure of Shambhala opens itself the the damages ego can create
  • The observation that the reputation caused by the controversy is a big concern going forward
  • A reflection of the personal investment in this tradition and organization, much of which is local and in the people of Nashville Shambhala
  • The option of continuing without a lineage teaching base would leave us missing something beyond just the teacher or curriculum 
  • A desire to protect the teachings from ego and organizational missteps
  • A desire to do what is best for the Dharma
  • The national organizational structure must change
  • A sentiment to wait and see what the national organization actually does to change its structure
  • A sentiment to hope it will actually change for the better
  • A sentiment that we cannot trust the national organization will actually change. The Roman Catholic Church hasn't reformed as a result of its scandals
  • Shambhala is much less tangled or storied than the RCC
  • A sentiment to do no harm in any part of our process
  • Some have hope that the national organization will change into something good
  • WE are Shambhala so WE have a say in how the national organization rebuilds itself.


This discussion led to a specific resolve by the group: that we would draft a letter denouncing the behavior and systemic failings of Shambhala USA and to highlight how we want the new organization to look and keep. We will be beginning that draft in the coming weeks beginning with a draft from Leslie based on the meeting's discussion and the Nashville Shambhala Meditation Group's input. These minutes will accompany a distribution and opening of discussion through social media and email. 
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off Nolensville Road

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