The Halifax Shambhala Centre is governed by an appointed Council of community and staff members in accordance with the governing structure that Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche wishes to see established at Shambhala Centres throughout the mandala. This structure brings to life the Three Pillars model for the Kingdom of Shambhala originally set forth by the Druk Sakyong. The Governing Council aspires to develop and put into practice forms of governance that reflect and uphold the view, values and vision of Shambhala. The Council’s work is guided by the general principles of policy governance in keeping with the unique characteristics and tenets of Shambhala as a consultative social monarchy.

[Photo: Liza Matthews]

In Shambhala governance, natural hierarchy includes genuine participative consultation. The Council seeks to govern in a manner that ensures transparency and communication with the community. Minutes of Council proceedings are available to community members on request. For a description of the structure, role and function of the Halifax Shambhala Centre Governing Council, refer to the Principle Entities section. For a list of Governing Council members and the portfolios they hold, refer to the Governing Council Members section. To access key resources and policies on Shambhala governance, refer to the following documents:

For more information, please contact the council. back to top

The Principal Entities of the Governance of the Halifax Shambhala Centre

The principal entities that play a role in the governance of the Halifax Shambhala Centre are:

  1. The Sakyong
  2. The Kalapa Council
  3. Halifax Shambhala Centre Governing Council
  4. Halifax Shambhala Centre Director
  5. Halifax Shambhala Community

1. The Sakyong
The Sakyong has overarching authority in all spiritual and secular matters as they relate to the governance of Shambhala. He has the final legal and financial authority in the affairs of Shambhala. The President of Shambhala is empowered to exercise executive authority on behalf of the Sakyong.

2. The Kalapa Council
The Kalapa Council is the lha body of Shambhala Governance. Its role, described by the Sakyong, is “to disseminate and govern” and to be “the structure for the Sakyong to express his direct command and wishes.” The Kalapa Council holds overall legal and financial responsibility for the affairs of the mandala. It is responsible for ensuring that an integrated view of the Sakyong’s commands and wishes is communicated throughout the mandala. The President of Shambhala relates directly to the Director and Governing Council of the Halifax Shambhala Centre.

3. Halifax Shambhala Centre Governing Council
The members of the Governing Council are appointed by the Kalapa Court. This is based on nominations by the Director, following appropriate consultation at the local level. The Governing Council includes the functions of the Three Pillars. The Council structure is portfolio-related and includes community members and senior staff of the Centre. The Director is the Chair of the Council. A high degree of responsibility is delegated to the Governing Council for the overall governance of the Halifax Shambhala Centre. As is the case for all of its divisions and affiliates, there are specific policies clarifying the Governing Council’s authority and the limits of that authority in relation with the overall responsibility of the Kalapa Council. These are set out in the Shambhala Centre Charter and Bylaws. The Council’s work is expected to conform to the various aspects of the Tenets of Shambhala Governance and other principles and policies established by the governing entities of the mandala. The Governing Council is responsible for:

  • Ensuring that the vision of Shambhala is manifested through the activities of the Centre.
  • Inviting and sustaining an energetic connection with the lineage of Sakyongs and the Kalapa Council.
  • Undertaking long-range planning consistent with the Sakyongs’ vision;
  • Formulating and facilitating, in collaboration with the President, the evaluation process of the performance of the Director and the Council as a whole.
  • Providing ongoing evaluation of operations at the local Centre.
  • Approving the annual operating budget, including capital expenditures, and working through a finance subcommittee for ongoing oversight (see the Charter and Bylaws for specific limitations in this area).
  • Communicating regularly in various forms with the community about the Centre. Soliciting input when appropriate with the view to gathering wisdom in order to make the best decisions.
  • Holding fiduciary responsibility for the Centre as delegated to it by the Kalapa Council in the Charter and Bylaws. This implies the need to participate actively in fundraising.
  • Formulating governing policy for the Centre. This takes into consideration what is lawful, prudent and in keeping with commonly accepted business and professional ethics, Shambhala Buddhist ethics and the Tenets of Shambhala Governance. The Council ensures that its policies conform to mandala-wide policies established by the Kalapa Council.
  • Providing wise counsel and assistance to the Director through active listening and volunteering of time.
  • Contemplating and articulating goals or purposes for the Centre, consistent with the direction provided by the Lineage of Sakyongs.
  • Developing and maintaining a Council Policies Manual as one of the tools of governance and as a reference for governance practice and discipline. The Governance committee of the Council supports the Council in adhering to the policies set out in the manual, working with the Director on a regular schedule of policy review and recommending policy updates to the Council as a whole. The chair of the Governance committee sits on the Council as a full member.The Governing Council may accomplish appropriate tasks through the use of subcommittees consisting of members of the Council and other Shambhala community members who have particular expertise to offer and who may be invited to serve in this way.

4. Halifax Shambhala Centre Director
The Director is the Chief Executive of the Shambhala Centre and therefore members of the staff report to him or her. The Director is accountable for ensuring that all the various aspects of the organization, for which s/he is responsible, function coherently. The Director chairs the Governing Council. The Director is appointed through a process determined by the Kalapa Court. A subcommittee of the Council, consisting only of community members, makes nomination(s) to the Kalapa Council. The Director is then appointed by the President of Shambhala, with the blessing of the Sakyong. The President serves as the principal link for the Director with the centre of the mandala. The Director is responsible for presenting reports and inquiries to the Sakyong on behalf of the Governing Council, the community and him or herself, and providing the Council and community with the Sakyong’s views and advice. In this way the Director serves as the principal link between the Centre and the higher governing bodies of the mandala.

As Chair of the Governing Council, the Director is responsible for:

  • Working with the Governing Council and community to develop long range plans.
  • Chairing Council meetings with an eye towards reaching broad agreement.
  • Facilitating the discussion towards reaching broad agreement by encouraging wide range of points of view allowing different insights to occur. Normally the chair articulates a summary of the discussion or proposal to discover if there is broad agreement.
  • Testing for emerging, shared views, acknowledging areas lacking clarity and disagreement, ensuring that requests to put the matter to a vote are respected, articulating the basis for possible broad agreement and presenting that to the Council for agreement.
  • Ensuring the Centre’s governance is consistent with Shambhala governance guidelines.
  • Recommending new Council members to the President, following consultation with the existing Council members.

As Chief Executive, the Director is responsible operationally for:

  • Sustaining the residential practice environment and Shambhala community, and fostering a harmonious, sane and compassionate society. Leading by example in the practice and study of Shambhala Buddhism.
  • Exercising exemplary leadership through the practice of The Six Ways of Ruling.
  • Ensuring high quality program planning consistent with Shambhala vision.
  • Acting as the principal spokesperson of the Centre to program participants, other community members, and to residents and officials from the local government and community.
  • Working collaboratively with all members of the senior staff of the centre and the Governing Council to execute the long-range plans including the physical expansion of the Centre.
  • Implementing, reviewing and maintaining management structures, policies and procedures to ensure appropriate and effective lines of communication, and performance. Holding ultimate responsibility for hiring, proper personnel management, and for conducting staff performance evaluations.
  • Reporting to the Kalapa Council on the well being of the local Centre, and promoting fiscal clarity with regard to the flow of financial resources, within a view of abundance and generosity.
  • Working with the Governing Council and designated working group to raise money from a wide variety of resources and promoting a base of financial and community support for the Centre.
  • Providing timely financial reporting and analysis throughout the year, and each new fiscal year presenting a budget to the Governing Council.
  • Working to ensure that the Centre’s environment is respected and protected. Managing the physical maintenance of the centre, its grounds and buildings, to a high standard of safety and well being consistent with the Shambhala teachings and Council policies.
  • Participating in Shambhala governance through the governing bodies of the mandala.
  • Implementing governing policies articulated by the Governing Council.

In fulfilling these executive functions, the Director may establish an Executive Committee or other similar team, or groupings, and consult professional or other advisors who can assist or assume delegated responsibilities for specific executive functions under the supervision of the Director. 5. Halifax Shambhala Community
The Shambhala community is a diverse body of practitioners who, because of their heart connection, have an essential part in the wellbeing and development of the Centre not only through their financial support but also through their care and vigilance. To play this role effectively, they need to have access to information that is clear and timely, and be able to seek further clarification on matters of concern. There will also be major phases in the life of the Centre when this community will need to be consulted, so they can participate in the evolution of thinking and the proposals that will significantly affect the Centre’s future. It is the responsibility of the Centre Director and Governing Council to ensure that appropriate, ongoing communication occurs. The Centre Council is composed of a majority of community (non-office staff) members. This composition ensures community representation in decision-making and the flow of information throughout the entities of governance.

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Halifax Shambhala Centre Governing Council Members Current members of the Halifax Shambhala Centre (HSC) Governing Council and the portfolios they hold:

Rhiannon Wells is the Executive Director of the Halifax Shambhala Centre.

Jacquie Bell and Tara Nauss are the Directors for the Office of Societal Health and Wellbeing on the Halifax Shambhala Centre Governing Council.

Bob Hastey has served as the Comptroller/Finance Officer of the Halifax Shambhala Centre for over 20 years. He has always seen finance as path and holds the feminine principle view that money is to the Shambhala Centre as water is to a garden, nurturing and unobtrusive. His Shambhala name is Dzam.

Kerstin Martin is the Membership Coordinator for the Halifax Shambhala Centre and secretary of the Governing Council. As a registered midwife she worked for many years with new parents in the process of pregnancy and childbirth, and now brings that experience into developing government policies and standards for the midwifery profession. Her Shambhala activities include serving on the mandala Families and Children Working Group. Her refuge name is Dharma Ocean of Merit.

Michael Nuschke  is the Chagdzo (Bursar General) for the Halifax Shambhala Centre. A long-time student of VCTR and SMR, he has held various positions on finance and fundraising committees in the Shambhala community. He is currently on the Nova Scotia Nature Trust investment committee and works as a Senior Financial Advisor with Assante Wealth Management in Halifax. His Shambhala name is Crazy Wolf.

Meg Vigerstad is the Desung Regional Commander for the Atlantic provinces and represents the Kasung Pillar of Protection on the Halifax Shambhala Centre Governing Council. A long-time practitioner and mother of two children, she has worked as a computer systems analyst and as a business manager and research assistant for her husband’s environmental consulting company. Her Shambhala name is Passion Tree.

Bob Vogler serves on the Halifax Shambhala Centre Governing Council as the leader of the Governance Policy Working Group. From his first meeting with the Vidyadhara in the 1970s to the present day, he has served the Kalapa Court and Shambhala community in numerous exemplary ways, as Kusung, Dekyong and Lodge Warrior. He currently works as an IT consultant. His Shambhala name is Kalapa Voyage.

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