– Chronicles Radio
(Introduction w Julia Sagebien)
Good morning ladies and gentlemen and welcome to our
latest interview from dispatches. Today I am delighted to
have with us Mr. ken Green who was the first director of
Aduatu and was also the Nangsi kalon or the Minister of the
Internal Universe which in a sense was the position within
the Board of Directors of Aduata and of the Kingdom of
Shambhala, the Home Office Minister and we are taping from
(JS) So good morning Ken, welcome.
(KG) Good morning to you. Thank you. Welcome to
(JS) Thank you very much and thank you for receiving us.
One of the big great inspirations to have the opportunity to
spend time with you is that you really were one of those
people who were very very fortunate enough to have watched
the creation of the Government of Shambhala, the creation of
the Government of Aduatu, the whole notion of how sentient
beings can actually be ruled by someone like Bora Bajai and
how individuals can play a part in creating that mandala
And you were one of those people who were literally
inside the video game. Your life was part of what Cooper
Rimpoche was creating. Can you get us acquainted with your
sense of when Cooper Rimpoche first started talking about
government and how we might as a community work with the
notion of rulership in government?
(KG) Sure. Well, it started very early. I did meet
Rimpoche in 1971. That was in Los Angeles and very shortly
afterwards moved to Vermont in a small township called Kirby
with Helen who is soon to be my wife and with Naraina who
became the Vitro Regent and his soon to be wife Lela.
At that point my relationship with Rimpoche, I was out of
a yoga background, I was interested in self-liberation and
enlightenment and had written a la reapa and I thought
Rimpoche was the embodiment of mill la reapa to me and I had
all these thoughts about going into the mountains ultimately
and being a wandering yogi and doing all these tantric
esoteric practices I was reading.
So that was kind of my orientation. So it was 1972 that
Lela was getting ready to give birth
(JS) Lela being
(KG) Lela Rich, right.
(JS) Lela Rich.
(KG) Then that is the regents wife and Rimpoche
came over and spent the entire labor, that period, which
went on for days.
Thats an entire story unto itself because naraina,
the regent, Rimpoche and I were going to deliver the baby
and it was not working out very well but I was spending
hours and hours.
Rimpoche slept over and we spent a lot of time chatting
and he looked at me and said we need to bring the community
together. I said well what do you mean? He said,
Its that time in history where we have to gather
the tribes, gather our tribe.
I said, I dont understand. I said,
Arent we going to be practicing doing these
practices and going on retreats and developing our own
He said, No. Thats not what its about.
What its about is I want to see the community start to
work together. He says Theres a time in
history, and it was certainly a time in Tibetan history once
the monasteries were set up where yogis could wonder and be
individual tantrikas but this is not that time and we are in
that time now we have to gather people together.
I was very disappointed to hear that because I had just
spent a previous six years doing an ashram, doing the yoga
thing you know working with Swami Satchitananda who was my
teacher before in this kind of gathering process.
(JS) You sort of make a face.
(KG) And I wanted to let go of that.
(KG) and I thought, Oh well, this absolutely
outrageous enlightened being that you know is in my life now
and I am part of his life. This is my chance to become
enlightened as a yogi and I was you know, my take where I
wanted to go and he was very firm, gentle but very firm, and
he said, No, we need you to do a gathering
(JS) How big do you think the community was around that
(KG) A hundred people.
(JS) And mostly in Colorado and Vermont?
(KG) Yes, Tail of the Tiger in Kama Zong.
(JS) And he already wanted to bring some kind of weaving,
kind of texture to what he wanted to do.
(KG) Gathering. I think the word he used was,
Bringing it together, gathering And I really did
not, I kind of understood, but of course I didnt
understand where we were really heading.
But there was something on his mind and my perception of
Rimpoche over the years was, its not that he knew what
was happening tomorrow but he had that continuity of mind of
path and so the seeds of the kingdom were there. They were
(JS) What were his first set of instructions to you in
relation to gathering the tribe? What were you supposed to
do? Did he say?
(KG) Well that happened in the context shortly after that
of the snow lion.
(JS) In Wyoming?
(KG) In Wyoming. I got a phone call from Rimpoche.
At the time living in Kirby we had a bakery called
Shikiya Bakery and it was Helen, the Regent and
myself. Thats how we supported ourselves.
(JS) Taylor the Tiger was just this Hippie farm where you
would all go?
(KS) Yeah and Rimpoche did not want the four of us to
live there and I think he had a personal reason because he
wanted an escape place. He would come visit us a lot and
people at Taylor the Tiger, a lot of them really did not
like us because we were stealing the girl but in reality we
were not stealing him but he voluntarily came and spent a
lot of time with us.
So I got a phone call from him saying, Krishna, I
need you to come to Wyoming to help me run a ski lodge.
And I said, Sir, I dont know anything about
skiing and where the fuck is Wyoming? He said,
Just head west, and I said, Well what do
you want me to do? He said, I want you to be my
I said, Im Jewish. What does that
He said, Leadership. Its time for you to take
This was happening just about the time that he had let
Naraina know that he was going to be a regent. This all
happened within that month.
(JS) It was all secret?
(KG) It was a big secret. It really was. Very few people
knew about it. After the regent found out about it, I found
out about it and ten minutes later, he told the regent, he
could tell myself and Lela and Helen.
(JS) Did he use the word regent? He actually said,
I want you to be
(KG) No, Dharma Heir.
(JS) Dharma Heir?
(JS) Which is very different.
(JS) Theres a topic in and of itself. Well
get back to.
(KG) Okay. But it doesnt fit into this
(KG) The regent told us right after he got the word in
that meeting with Rimpoche that he would be a Dharma Heir.
We were driving back in our volkswagon van, and there
Actually there was just the two of us and he told me on
the way back and then when we got back to Kirby to the
farmhouse we were living in and we spent the whole night
talking about it and the next day I went to see Rimpoche and
I said, This is amazing, the idea of
I said, Sir, wanting to be part if it,
I dont care what but dont leave me out. I
want to be part of what youre doing, and he
broke into a big smile and he said, Great. Good. You
will be part of it. He said, We need to create
And he said, the regent, I have been studying and
watching him and he spoke almost like he was looking through
a microscope as a scientist and I think he has the ability
to do this and Im going to spare you but youre
going to be part of it.
(JS) Spare you from being the main leader?
(JS) But youre going to be part of it.
(KG) Yes and he cracked up laughing. I said Thank
you. He said, Well be talking about
things. He said, Right now I want you to know what I
am doing is not just one person but I have to start
(JS) This is 1975? 1974?
(KG) No. this is 1972.
(JS) 1972. Okay.
(KG) This is probably the spring of 72. So I was
you know still living in Vermont but soon to be going to
Wyoming to be so-called Archbishop. The Snow Lion Inn was
actually the backdrop for a lot of conversations with
Rimpoche about the creation.
Rimpoche came out to visit the Snow Lion and he wanted to
go to Yellowstone to see some buffalo so I drove him out
with a few people and again we were in a volkswagon van
which was an old friend and we were sitting in the
I was driving and on the way back he looked at me and he
said the word Vajradhatu which meant absolutely
nothing to me.
I said, Excuse me?
He said, Vajradhatu.
I said, What is that?
And he said, That is what I am thinking about.
Thats going to be our organization.
I said, What organization?
He said, Im thinking of an umbrella,
his exact words.
I said, What do you mean?
He said, We need an umbrella
I said, Why,
He said, Im very concerned about whats
happening with Tail of the Tiger and Kama Dzong.
I said, Whats that?
He said, Who know, politics.
He said, Cowboys in Kama Dzong, farmers, Tail of
the Tiger, you know. Everyones competing and they
think theyre going to get me in one place or the other
and we need to bring them together so I want to form an
I said, Oh.
Then he looked at me and said, and this is a theme of my
life with Rimpoche and he said, One of us is to
govern. We cannot split the Dharma.
And then he said,We need to talk about Mao and how
the Chinese communists talk about, they talk about splitism.
This has come up in conversation with him many times
subsequent where he felt the worse thing that could happen
to his work and to us as a community is to split it apart by
fighting and creating territory.
(JS) Which Is one of the root Somalya Malachians
(KG) Right. Yeah. So that was the end of the conversation
until about six months later when Rimpoche came back and I
believe this was during the Crazy Wisdom Seminar in Teton
Village and he called Chuck, Lief and myself into a room and
he said, I am starting an organization. I am setting
it up. Its going to be called Vajradhatu,
and he looked at me and I said, I remember.
He said he had chosen a board and he was going to choose
one person from Tail of the Tiger and he explained that was
going to be fran lewis and then he picked one person from
Karma Dzong in boulder and that was Marvin Casper.
Then he picked one person from the snow lion inn and he
said I want you to be that person and I was rather shocked
and overwhelmed by the whole idea of his organization and
that was the original board along with him and he
particularly said that he did not want to bring the regent,
Brian at the time, and he needed time to work with him and
he wanted him to be protected and I immediately felt that we
were the lambs out for slaughter and its kind of the
way it was for awhile.
So the first board was set up to be in boulder. He asked
John Roper to draw up the corporate articles. This is
something I think it is important to talk about.
Vajradhatu was never truly a corporation in terms of what
the vision of Rimpoche was as far as I heard it. he worked
with the language and the tools of where he was at.
Its very Buddhist when Buddhism travels from culture
to culture and takes on the cultural trappings and the forms
of that society so we had no choice but to set things up
corporately and legally.
(JS) As a legal entity.
(KG) As an entity. So in that spirit of adapting to a
culture, we set up a corporation but the principals of that
corporation from the very beginning were in retrospect were
clearly the seeds of Shambhala Kingdom.
John was shortly afterwards put on the board and over the
course of the year of course the board did expand and more
people were brought on.
The regent was kept off the board at the beginning
because Rimpoche very clearly did not want people to be
focusing on him. He was kind of being protective.
So I was one of the guinea pigs on the first wave along
with Fran and Marvin to experience the wrath of the
community and it was pretty wrathful in those days,
especially when Boulder comes on.
I moved down from Wyoming. We lost the ski lodge. It was
reprocessed by the prior owner and Rimpoche had a community
meeting at Eleven Eleven and he introduced myself and Marvin
and Fran and because I came out of a Hindu tradition and was
kind of somewhat separate, The people perceived i
wasnt a boulder Buddhist and at that point, I got
pretty much ragged upon and beat up but that was the
tradition at that point.
Rimpoche, the instructions he gave me then was that the
most important thing was to be kind to the community and be
strong and not take things personally.
He said, You will be beat up. It will happen for
you through the years, but he was very specific and he
said, I am confident and proud to do it. You can be
Krishna. You can work with people but be prepared. We are
going on quite a journey and its much more than you
(JS) Did you feel that you had access to him though in
terms of as you were being beat up you hardly say, Well it
hurts over here. I mean you werent simply sent out
there to be tomatoed.
(KG) he was very accessible, in those days particularly.
he worked with us very closely every day. It was 24/7 with
him. He was accessible by telephone when he was travelling.
When he was in town he was always available. We all worked
very closely. We set up offices at Eleven Eleven fairly
quickly and Brian the regent and I shared offices with Fran,
the three of us.
Marvin was much more kind of doing the scholarly work. He
wasnt really, never administratively that plugged in
meeting even with the formation of uropia which he worked on
as a dynamic administrative type.
(JS) Scholarly type then.
(KG) Definitely. And there was a very nice balance we had
on the board where Fran and Norian and myself were hands on
during the day with Rimpoche. He was and remained for years
a hands-on government leader and he did everything.
It was like at that point there was very little structure
but we began to have board meetings and he took the lead and
he felt John Roper would be very important and so John came
on board to create more of a legalistic shape to the
(JS) It was necessary in terms of living in North America
but as you were saying, it was actually a kind of
constitution of the kingdom
(KG) It was.
(JS) you were beginning to draft laws, legislation for
lack of a better word in terms of the way you do things or
what the relationships between people are.
(KG) Uh hum.
(JS) Or relationships between centers, the flow of the
(KG) Right. Also the first controller was Steve Roth and
that became, that developed into a very major component and
had to actually become solvent which always was a problem,
especially in the early days.
(JS) And how about your role as a representative of the
people so to speak because I remember how visible you were
for many many years in terms of organizing seminaries and
when peoples desire to attend seminary, in some ways
you were the focal point of people trying to make their case
about how to be ready to go to seminary.
And in a sense of a government being almost like a
membrane function between the community and the head of the
community and government being the kind of organizer of that
relationship, can you talk a little bit about that?
(KG) Well 1973 was the first seminary and that was just
when we were really formulating Vajradhatu but wasnt
barely there and that was kind of done almost ad hoc.
There was very little organization but after the seminar
Rimpoche called me over and he did ask me to administrate
the seminary but then as of 1974 we set up the formal
application process which there was not in 1973.
So those were really what I was kind of sort of being ah
humorously thrown to the lions because I had to start to
sort of interview people, talk to people, and again the
Regent was just brought in from Vermont and Rimpoche really
didnt want him to be again that much involved with
kind of public relations so I was the front man.
Fran was to some degree but she was much more domestic
and she was the kind of behind the scenes and moving and
shaking that way and so I was kind of his front man.
It was a very powerful experience and over the course of
all the seminaries, it was a sphere I was responsible for
because over the course of all the seminaries while Rimpoche
was alive, it was a sphere I was responsible for and it was
very painful and you know we had to make choices.
I had a short list of things. I had to bring a list of
options to Rimpoche and we had to develop a committee and it
was really based on, I want students who have an
authentic connection who are serious.
He said, We are doing very important work. It is
not just for their liberation. Its not just from their
practice. So he expected me, which was a lot to be asked to
do, to try to be some sort of litmus test with people and to
talk with people on the phone, in person, talk to people who
knew people if I didnt know them but in those days we
all knew each other.
I was very personal. We got to know each other as
individuals and then I would have to come back and give my
initial short list to him and he would have a lot of
questions and then it got too much.
I said, We need people outside in the dharmadatus
which were not called dharmadatus just yet. it happened
pretty quickly though, but in the urban centers we could do
recommendations because of the organizations grown
(JS) In a sense you were almost recruiting people for the
revolution rather than simply trying to find out who was
going to be a consumer or part of a spiritual program.
(KG) Yes. We had these conversations a lot and it was a
golden age with Rimpoche because you could stop by the house
or give or spend hours in the office, just walk in and chat
with him. I think there is a little bit of a simple
mindedness I think due to the fact that Rimpoche did not
Its not quite the way I understood it. He was very
critical of democracy but he really liked Jeffersonian
democracy. We spoke a lot about that, strong leaders.
Things had gotten out of hand lately, politics in America
but he felt, he talked about enlightened leadership and he
said, Our so-called corporation is really a
But he was beginning to stay that way before he talked
about Shambhala and even before I became technically Nangsi
Kalon. When we went to a seminary it became more and more
government. how are we going to organize. How are we going
to set up delegates. How are we going to do rowthers.
He paid attention to every detail and anytime we
expressed our feeling that it was just a camp, he would get
pretty irritated, that this was a mandala that we had
(JS) One of the things that has been amazing to me and
the more I read Diana’s book or reread Fabrisas book,
is the level of intimacy that Rimpoche was capable of
evoking in his relationships with people even when there was
a massive government that had been created at a later point
but that people felt that somehow or other he knew them or
that he could relate to them and also that the leaders of
the community could rely upon him.
Maybe thats part of the trick that even the
leadership felt close enough to talk to him and therefore
the people as such. The citizens as such were close enough
to the leader because there was kind of a working system of
What was your feeling?
(KG) He was joining heaven and earth way before we knew
those terms and pretty much from day one we started when he
said We have to gather people together. He was
the Sakyong before he called himself the Sakyong.
It was a majestic vision from the very beginning and he
let us in fairly early those of us who were close enough and
willing to listen to him, we knew something was really afoot
and you know having had the good fortune to watch the
evolution almost on a day by day basis, When I think back on
the continuity, the dynamic continuity of our growth was so
cumulative that every day for like a month we hardly slept
for all those years with him.
It was painful at times for what he was dragging us
through but his world kept getting much bigger and suddenly
there was the notion of the kingdom and suddenly things
began to make sense. Even again before the formal chiefians
began to come down, there was authentic presence.
He was fierce with the directors, any time we would start
to overly fight. He liked debate. He liked discourse and it
was never a problem questioning him if it was done out of
intelligence. He took feedback.
He was able to attend board meetings. We had study
sessions once a week every Monday. We had board meetings
every Wednesday and he was at most of all those meetings,
especially the board meetings.
First he came to the study sessions and then he let us be
but he was building leadership.
(JS) Was there a time when you consider it to be the
golden age of the Shambhala Government and what was that
(KG) I could date this really well, December 3rd, 1975.
The reason I know is that it was the day my daughter Alicia
was born. Helen gave birth to Alicia a Boulder Community
hospital and Rimpoche calls me, Did you have the baby
I said, Ah hum.
He said, Great, and talked to Helen on the
phone. He said Well you have to come down when you
have some time because we need a board meeting.
We were up the whole night and he said, I have
something very important to say to you. So shortly
after that, I go down to Eleven Eleven and he had gathered
the Regent and himself and I think David Rome.
I might have been there for that board meeting and Marty
Chanless was there and thats when he said,
Were going to Nova Scotia and that was the
beginning of the Shambhala Wisdom for me that very day. He
He said, This is going to happen. We need it to
happen and he said something interesting. He said,
North America is like the three Kalashas: Mexico, his
passion, the U.S., his aggression, and Canada, his ignorance
and ultimately we have to work with ignorance.
There was a question about well what about America. He
said, Its going to be too problematic. Its
actually workable now but its going to get
extreme. And then over the course of the month and the
months to follow we spoke about prophesies that came up a
lot, the Shambhala prophesies, and he asked me to look into
the native American prophesies.
Many years later I went down to Hopi Land to meet a
medicine woman and questioned her about that. Thats a
very interesting story and maybe we can talk about it to
(JS) Give me a tiny little preview. I cant hold
(KG) Grandmother Caroline, shes probably passed by
now. She was quite old. This was 1986 I think. She had met
Karmapa. Karmapa wanted to meet a medicine woman from the
Hopi Nation and more conservative ends of the Hopis did not
want the orthodox natives and medicine women meeting with
karmapa if he found her or they found each other. And they
shared stories. And when I went down there with Alicia and
my sone Mitra.
We were in the second nation and we found her house and
we waited for her and this old women with shopping bag comes
and she said, Yes. The Tibetan prophesies and the Hopi
prophecies are one in the same and she said come the
turn of the century, the first ten years between 2000 and
2010 there would be tremendous environmental disaster and
And its the turning, the Hopi call the Fifth
Time or the Fifth World I believe. They measure in
time cycles and were entering into the fifth time and will
be difficult but we know we will have a new age and having
met Karmapa, my Tibetan brothers will take care of a lot of
So shortly after having that meeting with Grandmother
Caroline, I was back at Rocky Mountain Dharma Center and
this was one of my last business meetings with Vidyadhara
because shortly after that he moved up to Halifax and things
took a rather dramatic turn. He wasnt doing any
business and there was a lot of instruction he gave me with
One of the first things we spoke about was my trip to
Hopi Land and he got really interested and he wanted to know
all about it in great detail.He really wanted to know one
thing more than anything else. He said, When do the
Hopis think things will change? Did she give you a
I said, Well, she gave me an approximate date and
she said it would be somewhere in the first decade of the
new millennium, and he smiled and said, She has
it right, and then he proceeded to talk about how
important it was to really establish shambhala vision every
possible way we can.
He very much expressed how he wanted all the board to
come up and he wanted me to be one of the last ones for
internal affairs to come up and he said that something he
told me many times, he brought it up again, that the most
powerful tool we have is culture. We are not trying to bring
a religion to the kingdom.
We are trying to create a container for many traditions
and that is culture and that is how we are going to
transform people. That is how we are going to conquer the
setting sun by doing Great Eastern Sun Culture.
He then went on to say or reiterate, its not
Buddhist and Its not just a school.
He said, its much bigger than the Umrapa
Institute and its much bigger than
And then he said, It will eventually become the
cultural center that people could come to, not a museum but
a living place where we could invite the cultures of the
(JS) And what is the expectation on us as holders of that
vision in terms of making sure that the best of humankind
can be preserved in the midst of the Dark Ages?
(KG) Well thats a really good question and that
brings us to the present because all of these stories are
useless if they dont bring it to the present and we
could be the French foreign legion talking about old boars
and dying with old memories and thats not what we were
told to do.
So that brings us right now, I feel that weve been
given, We met this man who is a cosmic force. He came both
through the past and to the future into the present. That
was my experience. It was just an unbelievable collision of
time and space and the old commute will just melt you
The verbs were destroyed. The nouns were destroyed, the
adjectives. Everything melted with him. He was not a man as
far as I am concerned who was not interested in just giving
us a nice bourgeois life. He really wanted us to go out and
begin to carry the banner of Shambhala.
There have been years of problems. The community from my
perspective has been shattered and has mended to some degree
but there are a lot of people who are outside who should be
inside, people on the inside who should be outside.
We dont have leadership right now thats
turning things around. Were not being nurtured the
right way and thats mutual responsibility from top to
bottom. The idea of these visions, of prophesies, the idea
of going to nova scotia, all that only makes sense if we
learn to look outward more and start to work with other
Theres an interesting story. This was shortly after
Rimpoche told Ken Rimpoche about his vision of the kingdom.
Ken Rimpoche looked at the Regent and he said, I have
a special teacher for you. Come see me about
that. The Regent began to prance around and said
Ill give you a special teaching. Its going
to be this topic thing. Its going to be a sadhana.
And every day the Regent would go up against Rimpoche and
Rimpoche would say, come back tomorrow. Well it
happened the next day. Well the next day hes getting
ready to leave the airport thats in the aurora seven
building and were all gathering and hes ready to
go to the airport and leave. I remember that and hes
freaking out. Hes saying, Wheres this
And at that point I was right there and I saw it was only
this gesture to the Regent and he whispered something to him
and they talked a little bit with a translator and the
Regent was kind of white, almost dazed and then shortly
after he left, actually the Regent took him to the airport
and came back, I didnt, and he said, What
He said, This special teaching I have for you, the
way to fulfill Trungpa Rimpoches vision is to be kind
to others, and it blew his mind because we always got
caught up on these complex things and the way to govern has
to be based on kindness. It is a Mayan teaching but
its much bigger as well because its creating an
entire world but it cannot be a little club. It has to be
much bigger and in some ways going back to the original
meeting with Rimpoche when he said, There are times to
Theres another instruction I hear in my life
thats very vivid and very real. Its time to
really reach out and by reaching out well gather a
much bigger basket.
(JS) And what do we do when we fail? What do we do when
were not clear? What do we do when we do not
understand. What do we do when we are afraid and were
cowardly? What do we do when we corrupt?
(KG) We cop to it. Its hard. Its that quality
of shyness and embarrassment which corrupts which creates
the split. Its pulling back. I think weve got to
stop doing that.
The project of creating a kingdom, the project of
creating government and the complexities of Vatra politic,
it creates a level of aspiration and brought along
tremendous sanity and it also brought along a lot of
arrogance and my own experience of working through arrogance
which always to me leads to corruption when its kind
of based on a self-centered perspective.
It happened when I misused some funds. Its not an
alcoholics anonymous confession but more or less, there was
a kind of a certain bon vivant quality that would happen
We were riding very high and I was certainly no
exception, far from it, being so close and feeling so
protected and because of that there were times and we want
to keep this in perspective because it was not systemic on
an ongoing basis but it was kind of flopping, a collapsible
awareness that would happen and we were very tight on
Money tends to be one of the ways corruption comes in and
without being salaried for a long time, trying to maintain a
certain lifestyle and maintain an organization, money might
sometimes flow in inappropriate ways. For me it was a
$5,000.00 screw up that Ive lived with in terms of
misspending it. Part of it highly justified in my mind that
it went toward starting projects that were not particularly
blessed by the budget and part of it was just taking care of
by staff byJason and Saki. but nonetheless, it was
mismanagement of funds.
Interestingly enough because the sadha got so sensitive
about it, in my case I was ultimately accused of about I
think $200,000.00 for a cocaine habit. That was completely
beyond being bogus even but the lesson there is that and I
think its a lesson I see for the Regent as well, and
for others in the organization in the government, is a lack
of accountability and in some ways I think it brings up
something I think I mentioned earlier is that there tends to
be a view that democracy is a bad thing in the sadha and I
think Rimpoche cautioned us about how democracy could be
about dropping to the lowest common denominator but he also
spoke of democracy being very much a Mahayana tradition as
communism was a Illiyana tradition and a monarchy was a
Part of his teaching in terms of government was very much
based on Mahayana and democracy which does apply
accountability and I feel for us as kind of young students
this Mahasitta is that we abused, we thought we were
vajrayanas but we were just striving to be Mahayanas.
I think there is a seed of corruption that can come up
for you where you grab power before you understand how to
use it for others. So for me it was a great Mahayana lesson
dabbling in a certain arrogance thinking I was above the
same democratic rule of the Mahayana and I think that is a
lesson hopefully people could understand for themselves as
The vision of Tiger Lion and crew of Frankin is the
ultimate moment of Linta and happens all the time. Its
to me no longer a long path. Its the path of every
day. The path of Dharma Art which I had the great honor of
spending so much time with Rimpoche on, is not a path of
progression. Its how youve lived moment to
We have to stop seeing things as a path that is happening
tomorrow. We could be dead tomorrow. Hey look, all the great
teachers weve known almost that weve met,
theyre dead! Theyve died.
That generation of Karmapa and cancer of the chin and
Trungpa Rimpoche and Sakia and were just lining up to
the group next to the pior of us except if I have anything
to address, it is dispatch, particularly to the senior
My brothers and sisters like yourself is like weve
just got to do it and if we make mistakes, so what. Rimpoche
made mistakes. He made lots of mistakes but they were not
mistakes in like failure. Its an experiment. Its
like a great experiment.
There is no guaranty. There is no guaranty Julia we will
succeed. Its not a kind of farieistic fairytell. We
know that and it makes it much more exciting. There is no
People have to wake up to that you know but all the
buddhas and buddhasatas you know and dakas and dakinis and
deities and narukas and yitaps, theyre not going to
save us if we dont wake up ourselves and start to take
care of each other.
And it has so much to do with meekness and gentleness and
the whole thing with the Regent, arrogance got him poison,
my best friend for many years. It wasnt political. It
became politicized but arrogance got to him, arrogance got
to me and we have to deal with that.
The Board of Directors, they did great things and were a
part of that. They also were puffed up and pompous but we
did have a leader then that worked with us day to day that
punctured our trip.
The way I see it, I see no government, no organization
which must carry it right now and Im not apt to be
blamed but I dont see it. A government is to serve, to
extend out, to really help the world. The world is, we all
know the world is in a difficult bind now between the
environment and between the energy crisis.
Its so obvious. This is the time of the prophesies
and whats going to happen? We dont know. It
hasnt been written. No. Its a great time to be
(JS) Its just thinking about it as you speak, think
how can we inspire all the citizens of shambhala to take a
nonconceptual stance, a stance, but a nonceptual one,
meaning youre willing to stand up to MULTA and
actually embody what you were taught, not necessarily
Its based on fundamental freedom of mind, an
absolute commitment of heart and willingness to roll up your
sleeves and do what has to be done even if costs you your
life, even if it costs you your place, even if it costs you
your comfort, even if it costs you your privacy because I
think that at least in my own time, probably one of the most
powerful times I spent with Trungpa Rimpoche, it was when I
was with the, I cant remember which American Indian
leaders it was encountered, and I said, Sir they were
such wonderful people. Whatever happened?
And he said, They lost heart, but I think in
many ways many of us may have lost heart because we
cant find our place but we cant find our place
because we are not willing to inhabit where we are already
and were running out of time.
(KG) We are. I think you have answered your own question
but Ill add to it. The first thing is listening to
each other. This is wonderful you are doing this dispatch
program. It gives a chance for people to listen. We
dont do enough listening.
Thats one of the first things, really clear
listening but invitation and sacrifice. Its such a
wonderful opportunity and when I say erasing MULTA, become a
drala, become an absolute drala on the spot. Its a
sacred world. He taught us that. Sometimes I think we lose
We think were going somewhere. If we could just
come back to be together, I think things could work out. I
do feel practically speaking and someone trained as a
minister that if the Shambhala Organization was to fulfill
its namesake, it needs to be a government and that has to
happen from the top down.
Individually though we have, every household is a
kingdom, but we have to make that into a connected kingdom,
so I think we have to invite each other and open up and step
into the world.
You know Rimpoche came out of Tibet. He was by himself.
Where I take refuge day by day is that bravery he had to be
brave. Ill never be fearless but I can become
(JS) To close, Ken, in terms of leaving behind your
wisdom as an elder statesman, having seen the golden age of
the Shambhala firstnot, by having seen how we were not able
to necessarily cut through all the corruption at the time at
certain moments, what is your advice for future statesmen
How do you recognize corruption and how do you apply
(KG) Its a very interesting question because I
think the way we could extend out is one to one if why I
look back at the years with the Sakian, he always worked
with us individually and he worked with hundreds of us if
not thousands if not more.
Were not the Sakian so we understand that but I
think we are all in his jet stream really big time.
(JS) You mean the Druke Sakia.
(KG) THE Druke Sakian thing. Many of us dont want
to be acharians. We dont want to be teachers. In some
ways thats very constrictive and sets up a particular
form that I personally feel can almost be an obstacle for
intimacy when people start to put you too much on a
So its a great question because how can we as
people who have seniors who have been veterans of the great
wars share. I think working with younger people is really
important and its very individual finding formats in
ways to truly be personal and we can get intimate as in
having a cup of tea.
You know it has to be simple. It was with rinpoche as
well always down to the cup of tea. It was always down to a
small detail. It was always down to lighting his cigarette
as it was then or just hanging out watching a movie.
He taught me by talking about why he liked The Man
Who Fell to Earth with David Bowie and why the monkey
chant from Bali were expressions of enlightened mind.
Its the ordinary every day life right? Thats not
just for Arvis. Thats the whole point.
If its not, how can we do it. We have to set the
example of being brave. We will all screw up. We have
screwed up. We do screw up. We will make mistakes. I
dont feel thats a problem anymore. I feel
honesty is very important being brave when you do make
mistakes not to cover things.
There use to be a period where you know there was a lot
of covering up and embarrassment. I dont think we need
to do that anymore. I dont think we should do
So I think we have to find opportunities to be with
people. Thats the bravery to invite people into your
home, sip some gin, have some tea, talk to old friends, talk
to new friends and I dont think it could happen right
now with the organizational umbrella because its an
If and when it becomes government again, thats
different. But now were in an interim period and again
no blame. Weve been through a lot. I think the way to
reform is to extend out and this was a big message I got
from Rimpoche again and again.
(JS) And going back to your ancient descriptions of
government, its transformative government, its
the government that manages to bring everything into the
path because it organizes ordinary reality into an
opportunity to practice.
(KG) Uh hum. It self-organizes actually why it works
probably. You just have to show up.
(JS) You just have to show up.
(KG) thats it.
(JS) And keep going. Get back on the horse.
(KG) Honestly I think a big problem is we have stopped
showing up and I feel myself being the case so how do we,
where do we show up to the show. Wheres the movie, the
dancehall where were going to show up?
And we need to, I guess my bias, my training in internal
affairs is having created cultural events and all that, is
we need to create containers, different containers,
dispatchers who can contain the great one.
What Walter Fordham is doing is a generally great
container to allow all people but we need all types of
containers to allow people to show up because if we
dont show up were dead.
(JS) One of the inspirations that Walter had and we had
and we had lots of discussions about the show was to cast
the biggest broadest widest possible net of what Shambhala
means so that everybody can find their place in it.
(KG) There was a conversation I had with Rimpoche at the
beginning early stages of forming KOLS. He said its a
charnal ground. The kingdom comes out of a charnal ground
and I think this is a really critical point.
It has been for me and it has taken me years to come to
terms with this. If the kingdom arises from a charnal
ground, we are dead to begin with, all of us, but it
sometimes takes years, it has with me, to realize Im a
I dont see that in a depressing way. Its like
you could live your life every day as your last, in fact
beyond the last, we dont have to fear it. Its
all about fearing death and uncomfortable changes in
I think senior students, I think we can actually come to
terms with weve done it and we dont have to
climb the mountain anymore. We could actually just be. It
was such a relief.
You know when Rimpoche came into the world a dead man
that way he was totally, totally with the moment. So how do
we create this community again or new community, not again?
People are fearful. People are afraid to say the wrong
thing. Who cares? Whats there to lose?
I think as long as were kind we can say anything. I
mean we can be vindictive but that goes nowhere and I think
we know that. I got paralyzed about ten years ago. I
contracted a Romanian disorder that basically stunned my
body into being quadriplegic for a year.
I was devastated physically. To me it was a metaphor for
the songha Mandela. This all happened after Rimpoche died.
After the whole thing with the Regent, after he died, and to
me it was a metaphor for being an organ of the kingdom and
just shut down, just got demolished.
The neuro pathways stopped. They broke down. We have
paralysis in Rimpoches Mandela and I still have that
paralysis. I dont have any simple answer but the only
answer I can call upon is how Im becoming mobile again
is actually cell by cell nerve by nerve moment by moment
breathing life, breathing drala, breathing malenta back into
my body where cells of a bigger body were nerve cells of the
The kingdom is damaged but thats not bad news.
Its been a war. Its a dark age. We would be
foolish to think anything other than this had happened.
People say, Did Rimpoche know he was going to get
aides, and all this?
Who knows. It just happens. There is no script. Stuff
happens. Shit happens and were dealing with a lot of
shit and when I got paralyzed and I could only blink my eyes
and I was on you know a respirator, shit happens.
What are you going to do about it? You have to get your
priorities rearranged and breathe life back into your
universe. So I know as an individual if I can walk around,
well why cant we as a community walk around. Why
dont we as a potentially enlightened society really
begin to express ourselves so I know we could do it.
How do we do it? Cell by cell, individual by individual.
Theres no other way right now and I say
(JS) Hip Hip Hooray for all the dead men who can still
speak of that which is true.
(KG) Thank you.
(JS) Much love.
(KG) You too.
(JS) Thank you. I really appreciate your honesty, your
candidness and sense of a very long path and freshness and
very many other paths for all of us.