2022 Director’s report
As we approach Shambhala day and enter into this year of the water tiger, water seems auspicious to emphasize. The element of water is a significant and ever present factor in Kalapa Valley. When walking through Kalapa Valley visitors can experience the water element in its many forms: motionless ponds, rushing springs, bubbling brooks, gently moving salmon holes, spraying raging rivers and vapour magically misting off the ground into gentle clouds of drala shapes. After two years of painfully difficult societal obstacles and emotions, we would like to share that the sacredness of Kalapa Valley is ever present in the form of kindness. Here there is a basic ground of goodness. It is unmovable as it moves and it is inviting you. Accessible to you.
Several notable events blessed the Valley.
Water being the most powerful of all elements it can create life, it cleanse, nurture, extinguish fires soil, erode and destroy. In November 2021 Kalapa Valley experienced in extreme rain event the likes of which has never been seen in living memory. Many bridges and roadways were destroyed in the area surrounding the valley. Fortunately the damage to the valley was not as extensive as it could’ve been. We experienced damage as several culverts and roads washed out and minor flooding in the buildings. As it stands right now vehicle traffic into the valley is blocked by debris and stone wash down from the mountains. To open up for the coming season in April we will require an excavator to clear and repair the roads leading into the valley. Please consider a one time donation to assist with this unexpected expense.
Tendril Bridge over Peddler’s Brook
After two years of construction and two years of covid related delays we completed the bridge across Peddler’s brook has been completed. The bridge extends the walking trails to the Scorpion Seal retreat cabin and to the trail systems at the back of the property. The bridge serves as a Kue Device. As such, it enhances the valley’s manifest energy, and ultimately empowers the entire Shambhala global mandala. Cohesive signage, trail systems, tori gates, shrines, water powered prayer wheels, exterior musical devices, vista benches, and camp sites are planned as further energetic enhancements and foci.
The construction of the bridge fulfilled a major elemental project from the recommendations outlined in the Dr. Wong’s Feng Shui report. The public report can be found on the Kalapa Valley website. I encourage all to read to get a better understanding of the valley and its importance to the entire Shambhala mandala.
The Scorpion Seal retreat cabin
After many years of dedicated fund raising and annual work trips with many hours of hard physical toil, Mr. Richard Piesinger and Mr. Louis Allan have completed the Scorpion Seal retreat cabin exterior. We, the entire Community, owe a debt of gratitude to these two courageous dedicated and loyal Warriors of Shambhala. With great cheer and humour, overcoming many obstacle, they raised the funds and completed the off-grid cabin which lies 2 km in the Cape Breton Forest. As a practical pavilion and energetic object, the Scorpion Seal Cabin empowers the Shambhala Scorpion Seal teachings now and in future. Truly some excellent karma and meritorious blessings have rained upon these two Warriors. To contribute to the upkeep of this sacred architecture click here. Thank you to many donors over the years.
Visit From Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche
In August, with the encouragement and blessings of The Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Kalapa Valley hosted a spontaneous and delightful visit from Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche. Dzongsar was most adamant to travel far out of his way to Kalapa Valley to preform a King Gesar offering. Dzongsar specifically acknowledged the lokapalas and heritage of Kalapa Valley by inviting indigenous elders, Scottish bagpipers and the general community of the Maha Sangha to participate in the complex offering to King Gesar. It was a wonderful day filled with great cheer. Many old friends, familiar faces proudly wearing familiar lapel pins all participated in a Shambhala event reminiscent of the many Sangha events of years gone bye.
The Main House, The Mice, The Snakes
This past year we operated on a reduced capacity for overnight visitors in the main house due to the complications of repairs, renovations and work crews. Both permanent and temporary repairs were made to the main building. Roof / structural repairs and the long-awaited mouse proofing advanced well. However, as any property owner knows, plenty of work still awaits on the care and maintenance of the building. Hopefully, in the coming year we will finally replace the aged roof with a gleaming metal roof.
Once the mice have politely (and definitely) departed from their residence of the past 50 years, we will commence on the much-needed interior renovations of the kitchen, bathrooms and floors. We have had a few nice pieces of furniture donated to us and look forward to rearranging the rooms. Once again, Kalapa Valley will host Sangha pilgrims worldwide. The crazy stories of snakes living in the walls of the building are, in fact, true. While removing several pieces of insulation around the failed skylight in back, five small snakes hiding in the insulation fell on me. Needless to say it was a startling and unexpected teaching on the nature of my mind.
Further investigations for rot and water damage revealed a delightful discovery. The snakes had been feeding on the insects leaving the wood intact and structurally sound. These beings of Lu were protecting our precious building. These little snakes along with the many large garter snakes are the primary residents of the valley. They are wonderful to encounter.
Next-door to the valley is a long defunct and abandoned ski hill. This past year, the ski hill re-opened with a very large investment. The 10 year project has a budget of over $100 million and is attracting interests from the ski community worldwide. This project should attract hundreds of thousands visitors to the area with it’s four seasons of attractions. Concerts, gondola rides to the tree walk on the top of the mountain, hiking trails and cultural events are all envisioned to be happening next-door. Kalapa Valley’s mandate to become a contemplative park should enjoy a major boost in attracting visitors and presenting wakefulness to large numbers. Under the long term vision, the teachings of Shambhala and Buddhism in general will be presented to all who wander the Kalapa Valley park. On the walking trails signage with multilingual explanations of mindfulness will provide visitors with the opportunity and view to experiencing nature and the ordinary magic of the valley. As a principal aspiration, the experience will benefit, inspire and auspiciously connect to all visitors.
There has been a quiet and unofficial tradition of Sangha members who spread the ashes of the of loved ones on the property. This practice ran contrary to the recommendations of the Feng Shui report and development plans of the valley. Any charnel ground area on the property was advised against.
Recently we had an official request to spread the ashes of a Sangha member on the land. This request prompt us to work out a policy to accommodate these deep and sincere wishes for this final gesture of one’s life as a Buddhist. It was recommended to us that scattering the ashes in the river would be the best policy. We have created plans to make an accessible spot beside the river to accommodate the scattering of the ashes. The chosen location has a particularly strong energy and a beautiful vista of the entire valley. We will landscape it with a beautiful path, comfortable benches, and a liturgical plaque. Providing this service to the entire worldwide Sangha is an honour. We sincerely hope that it will guarantee rebirth of future Warriors in the realm of Shambhala.
20 Year Anniversary
Twenty years ago in a formal ceremony, a small group of generous Sangha members bequeathed Kalapa Valley to the Shambhala organization. After 15 years under the Shambhala umbrella, it was transferred five years ago to the Sakyong Potrang as a lineage property. Since no programs occur on the land the traditional methods of land centres creating operation budgets does not apply to Kalapa Valley. Historically we have operated on a very scarce and minimal budget mostly generated by short term rental of Sangha visitors and more recently with a micro donation campaign.
I want to extend a hearty thank you to a small core of donors who joined our micro donor campaign, which is a campaign of on going donations of $5 to $10 a month, who through their generosity of consistent and reliable donations have enabled us to slowly but surely accomplish a little more this past year. Each donation, no matter the size, enriches and protects the property. Please join our on-going micro donation campaign and dedicate your meritorious generosity to Kalapa Valley.
Recently in a group interview with Ani Pema Chodron I had an opportunity to ask a question about generosity and merit in particularly how it would apply to Kalapa Valley.
Ani Pema ,who has visited Kalapa Valley many times, immediately emphasized the importance of the accumulation of merit and its direct relation to advancement and realization along the Buddhist path.
“However” she recalled Trungpa Rinpoche’s comments about gaining merit, “he wasn’t very forthright or encouraging of his students attempting to accumulate merit.” ‘Back then’, she speculated, it would’ve been very easy for spiritual materialism to get out of hand in regards to accumulating merit through meritorious acts. Pema recalled CTR said that being ‘nice’ is sufficient to getting and gaining merit for the community. I asked if our increased understanding of spiritual materialism would remove the obstacles to consciously accumulating merit in the form of supporting Kalapa Valley. “Of course!” she replied. “That sounds nice.”
We invite you to practice generosity and accumulate merit by joining our micro funding campaign. This simple commitment to the heart centre of the Shambhala Kingdom generates a humble yet tremendous contribution to the well-being of the Valley and world in difficult and confusing times. Like a single brick in the foundation of a beautiful building or a single drop of rain in a powerful river your contribution preserves and creates a Kalapa Valley for numberless beings lost in the desert of samsara. Please consider this request.
Your Servant in the vision of the Great Eastern Sun
Gary J Brown