Open Letter to the Next SMCD Director

January 14th, 2016

Dear Fortunate Successor,


You are joining a powerful Sangha that supported the Shambhala Meditation Center of Denver (SMCD) over its history with loyalty, dedication, and hard work.

Since the establishment of SMCD in the early 80’s, our center has been fortunate to have many committed teachers, leaders and practitioners who have supported the center and many people’s paths. The benefit of creating an environment in which people can genuinely experience peace is hard to fathom. The thirty years leading up to my appointment as the first paid (part-time) Center Director in 2013 laid the foundation for understanding SMCD as a laboratory for creating a culture of kindness. As the first full-time Center Director of SMCD you inherit a center ready to refine and test this nascent culture, and explore its resiliency and potential.

Through the blessings of the Shambhala lineage and your fortunate karma, you have accepted this seat of humility. As Trungpa Rinpoche said, “Humility is the dwelling place of the forefathers.” However, humility can be misunderstood: As humble leaders we may feel we must be passive in regard to exercising power. The opposite misunderstanding of humility is to believe that our role gives us a carte blanche to exercise power, or prerogative to manipulate others. In this approach, our professions of humility are simply
a means to accomplish our ends. In many wisdom traditions, specifically in Shambhala and Taoism, humility is a matter of being transparent to and aligned with natural forces. These virtuous principles are best described through the analogies of heaven and earth, feminine and masculine, the seasons, the vast inner court of dralas. When we lead naturally from this depth of alignment our practice attunes our minds with our bodies.
This is the basis ofpersonal connection to inherent potency. This is the real meaning and expression of loyalty, and the real seat of the genuine leader.

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

The Kongma Sakyong, Mipham Rinpoche

Please know that although I am likely to be unavailable as I travel with the Kongma Sakyong, Mipham Rinpoche, you have my full support in your journey. If your experience is like mine, this is likely to be a challenging and rewarding role for you. Please do not hesitate to lean into the rich gamut of being a leader in Shambhala fully. This role required me to dive even deeper into my practice and study. Doing so, the quotidian and the sacred can come together in our lives as Shambhala leaders. Every leader finds he or she must acknowledge and purify their doubts and laziness to be a genuine representative of the Sakyong, and to practice 6 Ways of Ruling fully.


Being genuinely humble, the Center Director can be patient and skillful in directing SMCD so it manifests as a social ecosystem where a culture of kindness will flourish.



Yours in the Vision of the Great Eastern Sun,


Nathan Railla
retiring SMCD Director