Children and Families at Dorje Denma Ling

The Kalapa Court is the central household where the Sakyong and Sakyong Wangmo live.  That’s a principle of family as a unit, as opposed to an individual.  I feel like that’s something that we need to aspire to and develop further.  So I feel like the next phase is really this notion of Shambhala household, and how all of our community  can essentially be household. 

    -Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche
January 23, 2010, Shambhala Times
Practicing as a household, as a family – how does one go about doing it?  Dorje Denma Ling is exploring ways to offer opportunities for families to practice and study together in the awake and energized environment of this Shambhala land centre.  Over the years Family Camp has opened Dorje Denma Ling’s breezy hillsides to the delight and wonder of children and their families.  For one week, the children take part in a morning program while the adults take time to practice meditation or restorative activities.  Afternoon is family time, with an occasional workshop offered, and lots of open time for enjoying nearby beaches, streams, and ice cream haunts. Evening brings sunsets, campfires, and card games, as well as dance.  It is simple and magical – in the open space of Dorje Denma Ling everyone can relax and manifest dignity and basic goodness.  By the end of the week, children and adults have all contributed to creating a community of Shambhala households, vibrant, profound, and brilliant.
Building on this dynamic foundation, Director Pat Hayward envisions a steady expansion of programming for children, youth, and families.  To this end, she invited Juliana Barnard to become Children and Families Coordinator for Dorje Denma Ling, a part-time volunteer position beginning in September 2010.  Working closely with the Programs Manager and the Director, Juliana’s task is to help organize programs involving families and children.  At present, this includes Family Camp (summer 2011) and the new Winter Family Gathering,  to be held as part of the Holiday Practice Intensive from December 26, 2010 – January 1, 2011.  She will also be assisting in the planning of festivities for Children’s Day at Dorje Denma Ling, to be held on December 18, 2010.

Aspirations in the future include offering children’s activities during a weekend program, which could then be developed into more availability of children’s activities during longer programs.  Creating space for children in the environment of Dorje Denma Ling is also to be explored, as is the notion of ongoing opportunities for children, youth, and adults to practice together and to celebrate being part of Shambhala.   Stay tuned for further developments as they unfold!