Fredericton News Magazine

No More Smelly Tap Water!

September 25th, 2012 by Frances Giberson

The persistent sulphur taste and smell in the Fredericton Shambhala Centre’s well water have gone, thanks to a new water purification system installed last week. Centre Director David Seabrook announced the successful completion of the project at the Harvest of Peace celebration, to a round of enthusiastic applause. As Dave remarked “As lovely as the smell of rotten eggs may be, it is wonderful to have an odorless environment when washing dishes!”

Council member Steve Godkin coordinated the project and supervised the system’s installation. Funds for the project were raised at a Silent Auction at this summer’s Shambhala Day garden party, in combination with earmarked donations from the Fredericton Shambhala Community. These included over $130 in pledges for Centre member Travis Wedge’s half marathon run in the Fredericton Marathon in May. The money raised locally was matched by a grant from the Mother Lineage Fund, which supports improvements to Shambhala Centres in the Atlantic provinces.

Falling, a poem by Dan Keating

September 25th, 2012 by Frances Giberson

On a day bright with sun and no breeze
A small oak tree gives up.

Its leaves gently falling through the stillness
come to rest upon the ground.

There is no effort here, no hanging on
to that which has served its purpose, yet
no pushing away.

That which falls away simply, and magnificently,
simply falls away.

To eventually stand completely unclothed, bare and
naked, exposed and vulnerable.

There is no breeze and the leaves are falling.

Tenth Anniversary Message from President Reoch

June 25th, 2012 by Frances Giberson

“We are the Warriors”

The Fredericton Shambhala Centre celebrated its tenth anniversary on June 17, 2012. It was a magnificently warm and sunny day, and community members, friends, and family were treated to a full afternoon of outdoor activities in the Centre’s beautiful garden. These included an opening lhasang, a kyudo demonstration, a silent auction, art activities and a song (and ‘smores) presented by the Bodhi School children, a barbecue, and lots of socializing! To see more photos, click here.

Craig Schneider (partly hidden), Dan Keating, Diane McKinnon, and Dave Seabrook

As part of his opening remarks, Centre Director Dave Seabrook read the following message from Richard Reoch, the President of Shambhala.

Dear Shambhala friends in Fredericton,

Warm congratulations on your 10th anniversary of being a Shambhala Centre, which you are celebrating today! I vividly recall my visit in 2006 and, of course, I know or have met quite a few of you personally over the years.

It all began 23 years ago with three people sitting in a small room in your local library. The magic worked and you quickly outgrew that room and moved on to the Nursing Building on the university campus. Then after a year of homelessness you rose to the challenge, under Annett’s leadership, and bought the centre you’re still in on Serenity Lane. That was a fearless leap because it was an act of faith and commitment. As with all tendrel, within a very short time you had the support of the larger sangha in Fredericton. That encouraging energy enabled you to transform a somewhat dark place into the shining jewel I visited six years ago. By then, Annett had passed the torch of the directorship to Dan, who held that seat for six years…

Now, after a decade, and with David as your new director since Shambhala Day, you have grown to 40 members, a growth of more than 10 times in as many years, putting you in the ranks of the medium sized centres of our mandala. Now I believe you are a brilliant Golden Sun yellow, thanks to the stroke practice of your Rusung Pat Lee — with the local population remarking: “Ah yes, the yellow house, the meditation centre…”

Wonderfully, you are keeping pace with the Sakyong’s aspirations for outreach — providing copies of Running with the Mind of Meditation for presentation to winners in the Fredericton Marathon!

May you continue to manifest the golden dharma of Shambhala through your practice, your care for each other and the sheer radiance of your being…

With every warm wish and with deep appreciation for all you are doing,

Richard Reoch

Kyudo on the Lawn

A Song for Acharya Moh Hardin

May 16th, 2012 by Frances Giberson

The annual spring visit of Acharya Moh Hardin and Sangyum Cynde Grieve to our centre began on Friday evening May 11th with a public talk and signing of Acharya Hardin’s A Little Book of Love. Over thirty people attended and the books, which had been kindly supplied by Westminster Books, sold out!

On Saturday Acharya Hardin presented a workshop in which we practiced some of the techniques from A Little Book of Love for opening our hearts and connecting with our world. Sunday’s program centred on Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche’s recent teachings on Basic Goodness and Enlightened Society.

During the weekend Acharya Hardin also acted as preceptor at two vow ceremonies, as sangha members took Bodhisattva and Refuge vows.

Participant Lorna Drew summed it all up in this song, sung to the tune of Cruising down the River, which she offered at the closing reception.

Cruising down the river
To an island in the flow
Guided by the wisdom mind
Of Acharya Moh,

Curious and wakeful
Opening at last
Sailing in the love boat
With Moh Hardin at the mast.

Is this world real or is it not?
Perceptions are unclear
Is that a snake? Nope, it’s a rope –
So put away your fear!

Minds and bodies merging
And a clear blue sky above –
Cruising down the river
With the Little Book of Love.

Shambhala Day at the Fredericton Centre

March 6th, 2012 by Frances Giberson

Sangha members gathered at the Fredericton Shambhala Centre on the evening of Shambhala Day, February 22 2012, to celebrate the beginning of the Male Water Dragon year. The evening began with a lhasang and a period of sitting practice before the viewing of the Sakyong’s recorded talk, which had been given in Halifax the same afternoon. The talk was followed by a ceremony in which the incoming and outgoing Centre Directors took vows under the preceptorship of Craig Schneider. After the traditional throwing of the I Ching, the attendees enjoyed a celebratory reception.

A transcript of the Sakyong’s talk is available here. The Sakyong Wangmo also spoke, and the transcript of her talk is here.

To view the Iron Hare Year in Review video, including glimpses of the Being Brave retreat and Kalapa Governance Gatherings, as well as fascinating footage from two new films about Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and the Sakyong, click here.

A New Director for the Fredericton Shambhala Centre

February 1st, 2012 by Frances Giberson

This article is based on a message to the Fredericton sangha from Council member Craig Schneider.

Dan Keating

Dan Keating

After an amazing six years of energetic and dedicated service to our community, Dan Keating has decided to move on from the position of Director of the Fredericton Shambhala Centre. We owe Dan a deep debt of gratitude for his service. He has brought a sense of inclusiveness, gentleness and spaciousness to his activities. He is a true Shambhala Warrior. Dan, however, won’t be going far. He has agreed to remain on Council.

David Seabrook

David Seabrook

Stepping into the role of Director is David Seabrook. The Fredericton Centre Council nominated Dave and the appointment was recently confirmed by the Sakyong’s office.

Dave has been a member of the Fredericton Shambhala Centre for over ten years. He has been a Shambhala Guide for several years now and in 2010 attended Warrior Assembly at Karme Choling in Vermont. In December 2011 Dave also completed Assistant Director training in Halifax, and immediately stepped into the role of Assistant Director for our recent Shambhala Training Level Three.

“I’m incredibly grateful to Dan for the time and effort he’s given our Centre. His generosity has benefited me personally over the years and his open leadership at Council in the role of Director is an example I will strive to approach,” says incoming Director Seabrook.

Dave, who is the City’s tourism manager in his professional life, enjoys traveling and has been fortunate enough to visit many Shambhala Centres around the world.

“As we work with the needs of our growing and dynamic Sangha here in Fredericton, I hope we draw on some of the best practices, pun intended, at other centres.”

“The next few years will be exciting for us. We’re bursting at the seams a bit and the Sakyong is challenging us all to do everything we can to further the Shambhala vision for the benefit of others. I look forward to being a part of it myself and hope to engage as many members as possible. There’s lots to do!” adds Dave.

During our Shambhala Day festivities on February 22nd, the whole community will have the opportunity to join in, participate and celebrate together as we thank Dan for his years of devoted service and welcome Dave to his new role.

Song for Shambhala Level Three

January 17th, 2012 by Frances Giberson

The weekend of January 13 to 15 was the occasion of a delightful Shambhala Training Level Three in Fredericton. The twelve participants were taught and inspired by Director Craig Schneider and Assistant Director David Seabrook – in his first Level as an AD – while being supported by a seasoned staff ably led by first-time coordinator Steve Godkin. At the Sunday afternoon celebration, Lorna Drew led us in a new Shambhala song, which arose… during the gaps … on the weekend. It was sung – spiritedly – to the tune of “Put on Your Old Grey Bonnet”.

It’s time for celebrating
The whole world is waiting
For the warriors of Level Three
Look at our potential
We’re self-referential
We’re as dauntless as can be.

So there is no Buddha
Hey, what’s it to ya,
Our compassion is our guide.
Even though we’re groundless
Spaciousness surrounds us
We’re just moving with the tide.

Nothing formal
Our blood pressure is normal
The Shambhala banner is unfurled
In our calm abiding
There is no more hiding
Here we come so look out world!

Doha from Contentment in Everyday Life

January 17th, 2012 by Frances Giberson

The participants in the Contentment in Everyday Life course composed this spontaneous group poem, or Doha, at the celebration following the final class in December 2011.

Friendliness allows the space of Nowness
Being amongst others has taught me of Nowness
Contentment comes from gentleness
Riding the energy with spaciousness
Now seems like a good time
Now is a good time
Connecting with others in this moment
Sound of rain makes me feel peaceful
Friendship is like good wine the longer & sweeter it gets the better it is
Write, write, write how to keep up with content
I say complicated words for something simple
Silence is okay
Everything is impermanent
This makes me want to practice my lines ahead of time
Quietly content.

The New Teacher’s Chair: A Message from Shastri Veit Weber

December 29th, 2011 by Frances Giberson

Dear Sangha,

The Centre director, David Seabrook, has asked me to write a few lines of explanation regarding our new teacher’s chair.

As you enter our shrine room, you will see the chair, placed to the right of the shrine, to be used for teachings by Shambhala teachers.

The Teacher's Chair

As many of you have already experienced, within Shambhala we are working with a lot of forms: the shrine room itself, the colors, the shrine, the meditation cushions and the way they are placed, and of course the way we place our body on the cushion. All these forms are meant to wake us up to our inherent potential of Basic Goodness.

The teacher’s chair is another of these forms to wake us up. For years now we used an old kitchen chair, which worked, but just as in our practice, there is always opportunity to sharpen up further, and go to deeper and finer levels. Since the Shambhala teacher represents the Sakyong and the lineage, and has to present the teachings – which are compared to very precious jewels – it is of great importance that he or she takes his or her seat. With this more uplifted and elegant chair, this situation is helped tremendously and it’s not so easy to slouch or fall asleep.

As an aspiration, I hope that many more teachers will visit our Centre and take their seat.

Thanks to all of you who donated to this project – may there be lots of merit for you!

Yours in the vision of creating an enlightened society,

Shastri Veit Weber

Zen at the Fredericton Shambhala Centre

October 25th, 2011 by Frances Giberson

Rick McDaniel, who has been a Zen practitioner for several decades, organizes and hosts the weekly zazen practice at the Fredericton Shambhala Center every Tuesday evening at 7PM. (Photo by Geoffrey Gammon)

Did you know that every Tuesday evening the Fredericton Shambhala Centre is the site of a weekly two hour Zen sitting?

“Our small group is very grateful to the folks at the Fredericton Shambhala Centre for allowing us to use their lovely Shrine Room for our weekly zazen practice” said Rick McDaniel. “Zen may be hard to define but basically it is paying attention to our lives as they unfold in this moment and the mindful, nonjudgmental perception of this process is the action of our true, original self, which exists before thinking, opinions, and beliefs arise.”

Zen Buddhism is an ancient tradition that has its origins with the teachings of Buddha. A story is told that he was asked to give a talk to a number of people. Instead of speaking, he held up a flower. Tradition tells us that this was the beginning of Zen. The simplicity, directness, practicality, compassion and peace of this little story convey the spirit of Zen.

The Zen group in Fredericton is affiliated with the Montreal Zen Center. The weekly zazen practice takes place at the Fredericton Shambhala Centre every Tuesday evening at 7PM. The format includes three rounds of 30 minute sitting meditations with a ten minute walking meditation after each of the first two rounds. Anyone interested in participating in the weekly zazen practice is welcomed to attend.

Rick McDaniel is currently writing a series of three books. The first, titled “The Zen Masters of China”, will be released by Tuttle Publishing in October of 2012. It will be followed by “The Zen Masters of Japan,” and “The Zen Masters of North America.”

Story contributed by Wade Wilson. Photograph of Rick McDaniel by Geoffrey Gammon