New Board Members Share Expansive Views

By Larry Steele

The new board members stand in front of the shrine room taking oathes of office.

Board members stepped into their roles on Shambhala Day in February, 2020.

An expansive vision of benefit beyond self shines through each member of Seattle Shambhala’s Board of Directors, like light reflecting from the facets of a wish-fulfilling jewel.

Each officer of the seven-member Board, which was first seated on Shambhala Day 2020, brings unique strengths, life experiences, and a deep commitment to the teachings and our community. Tom Gaylord and Alan Ness, both former Center Directors, reflect years of experience and insight about Shambhala. Veronica Borgonovi, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, and Michelle Ringgold radiate new energy, ideas, and aspirations to be of service to the Seattle Shambhala community and all communities. The new Board members join Co-Directors JoAnn Schindler and Annica Holder, who serve on both the Board and the Leadership Team.

“It’s been heavy lifting” this spring, said Board Co-Chair Michelle Riggold. “We have been tackling a lot of things, like offering online programs and open houses during COVID. We are asking questions that may not have been asked before, and having conversations that are energetic and inspiring.” Michelle serves alongside fellow Co-Chair Tom Gaylord.

“Our end goal is to be of service,” Veronica Borgonovi said. “The implication of Dharma in everyday life means being prepared to name and acknowledge the work we need to do.” The traditional Board of Directors’ concerns, like sustainability and viability of the sangha, are intertwined with the need for “a higher order of governance and structure,” she said.

Board members share a commitment to model Enlightened Society based on justice and equity in race, gender, ability, and all aspects of life. Seattle Shambhala programs reflect this aspiration with past offerings like James Baldwin and the Dharma, Power, Privilege, and Protection, and Illuminating Whiteness, as well as the current Foundations of Freedom Series, A Good Death discussions, and the upcoming Summer Weekthün focused on the Paramitas and the Practice of Social Justice.

Our sangha also includes affinity groups like the Heart of Recovery, the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Meditation Group, and the Ziji Young Meditators Group, that offer “open spaces where people can feel welcome and safe,” said Chuy Garcia. “All of these are the things I care about.”

Chuy and Veronica stand infront of the Lhasang fire. Chuy is holidng a white flag and Veronica is holidng a red flag. They are both smiling.

Jesus “Chuy” Garcia and Veronica Borgonovi at Shambhala Day 2020.

Tom Gaylord and Alan Ness both sharpen the skill of applying Shambhala teachings in the groundless impermanence of everyday life.

“It’s a topsy-turvy world,” said Alan. “We will look back at this as a life-altering time,” and we may discover “a more expansive view based on feelings of solidarity.”

Alan, who serves as Treasurer, noted that “generosity and wise planning” have given Seattle Shambhala the financial stability to meet expenses through the end of the year. “Our major fundraising focus is the Harvest of Peace celebration in September, which is the one event each year when we ask for contributions.”

When thinking about traditional Board of Directors concerns like sustaining membership, supporting programs, and fundraising, Tom Gaylord likes to apply the “Mandala Principle,” and the “Six Ways of Ruling”––by being benevolent, true, genuine, fearless, artful, and rejoicing. Shambhala teachings about Enlightened Society “open the space for what is possible,” he said. “At some point, we realize the space outside our own personal concerns.”

Primordial wisdom, traditional skills, and confidence in the universal existence of basic goodness will guide this Board of Directors. They also welcome suggestions and questions from everyone in the Seattle Shambhala community. The best way to reach the Board is via email to [email protected]


2 thoughts on “New Board Members Share Expansive Views

  1. Greetings.I would like a lays out of classes that are offered to take me through Shambala training as closely as originally conceived and takes me through the five training levels. Before I begin this training I’m trying to get a conceived estimate of time and costs to go through the training. If you have information about the Graduate program that is offered after level five I would be interested in that as well.

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