Statement of Purpose
The purpose of the Shambhala Trust is to provide funding that promotes the Shambhala Buddhist teachings of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and his successors, and to develop, maintain, and expand facilities and other resources that will be used to proclaim these teachings. The Trust is a growing group of individuals working to support organizations and projects that further this mission. The Trust seeks to cultivate an understanding of generosity from the Shambhala Buddhist point of view through setting personal examples, presenting teachings, and promoting the creation of Enlightened Society altogether.
Who Is the Trust, and What Does It Do?
The Shambhala Trust is not the fund-raising arm of the global Shambhala community or a trust in the conventional legal sense; rather, we are an independent group of individuals from throughout the Shambhala community who, inspired by the power of generosity, give of our own resources to support worthwhile projects embodying the Shambhala vision. (See the lists of current and former core and associate members.)
We pool our resources, experience, and inspiration to provide financial and/or consultative support to projects worldwide that contribute to the creation of enlightened society and Shambhala vision.
We also encourage others in the community to give of their resources to support these worthy projects. The Trust has played an important role in providing funds across the globe for various projects including capital construction, visiting teachers, and translation.
We have chosen to use the word “trust” in our name to reflect our genuine commitment to taking responsibility for encouraging and supporting the work that many people are doing to further the vision of enlightened society. Shambhala and its members accomplish a remarkable amount with very limited material and human resources, and we are dedicated to helping that process.
The Trust generally does not have the capacity or inclination to fund projects fully. Instead, we prefer to provide seed money to help get projects started. We choose the projects to support through a process of consensus at meetings two or three times a year, each of which takes a full weekend.
Every request for funds from the Trust that is considered in these meetings has been the subject of a formal application and has been developed sufficiently to become a concrete and workable proposal.
- Each proposal that the Trust considers is championed by a core member of the Trust, who generally works with the originators of the request to make the most effective case for that use of funds.
- The proposals are reviewed in advance of the meetings and discussed at the meetings by core and associate members. After full and frank discussion of the proposals, we make collective decisions as to whether each proposal is an appropriate use of funds from Trust members at that time. (A proposal may be eminently worthwhile but poorly timed, and might be considered more favorably on another occasion.)
- Members then decide how much they choose to commit to each specific project.
The Trust process has a delightful magic to it, a sense of involvement and openness that evokes a feeling of trust among the members. Because we share a heartfelt commitment to the vision of enlightened society, we are comfortable meeting together for a weekend and debating the merits of proposals in the context of that vision.
For any project that the Trust supports, even if the amount contributed is small, we always follow up with some level of oversight and assistance. That follow-up is essentially the same whether we have funded one percent or 100 percent of the project, because part of what we have to offer is our perspective and expertise in a variety of areas, both within the Shambhala community and in the world at large.
We trust that the funds we provide will be well-spent to achieve the aims that were articulated in the proposal, but we also try to ensure that they have been spent as intended, and that those expenditures are as effective as possible. Because of our skills and dedication to the vision of enlightened society, we are also called on at times to provide advice and leadership within the Shambhala community for purposes other than funding.
The Shambhala Trust grew out of an inspiration from the Vidyadhara, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, to look at the whole Shambhala mandala and support worthy efforts across a wide range of activities and locations.
The first Trust meeting occurred after the Joining Heaven and Earth ceremony in 1995, when the then-newly enthroned Shambhala lineage holder, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, convened a donor group of thirteen people at Shambhala Mountain Center.
At that first meeting, the first donation was to the European retreat center, Dechen Choling, which was just getting started and needed a boost.
At that time, it was also decided that, for the most part, the Trust would not fund operating budgets, only capital developments and special initiatives. In addition, Trust members felt that their financial contributions should be above and beyond their individual commitments to Shambhala and its various elements, including their local centers. Finally, members decided to make the Trust an autonomous organization closely related to, but not part of, the Shambhala organization.
Because the Trust’s mission is to support the mission and vision of Shambhala as presented by the Vidyadhara and Sakyong Mipham, members work very closely with the Sakyong, the President of Shambhala, and the entire Shambhala administrative mandala. However, as a donor group it is not an arm of the administration but a group of individuals who work with the practice of generosity to promote the creation of enlightened society.
The magic of this group arises from friendship and the inspiration generated through the Trust process of cultivating and supporting proposals. The group works cooperatively, and all major decisions are made by consensus. The ultimate intent of the Trust is to share this magic and magnetize generosity throughout the Shambhala community.
The Trust is recognized as a tax-exempt charitable organization in both the United States and Canada.