Address to Boulder Sangha from BSC Executive Director, Jessie Friedman

Address to the Boulder Sangha made on February 24, 2020

From Jessie Friedman, Director of the Boulder Shambhala Center

Hello Boulder Sangha! I am so very, very happy to be here and that is most of what I want
to say! Still, I have contemplated and prepared a few additional thoughts to share with you in these first words to the community as the Director…

Naturally this event is a “big deal” to me—as opposed to NBD as our teachers liked to say. I ask your patience and understanding if I seem to read some of my words as I don’t fully trust my memory or extemporaneous capacity in this heightened, emotional time. Please know they come from the heart whether extemporaneous or read. 

It is impossible to articulate how happy, grateful, and moved I am to step into the seat of the Director of the Boulder Shambhala Center. Stepping into this role at this time would not be possible without such a strong hearted and intelligent sangha, the excellent teachers in our community, and the beautiful teachings we hold, which would not be possible without the brilliance of our lineage holders and the lineages they have passed down to us. 

It also certainly would not be possible without the line of Center Directors who have grown and sustained the Boulder Shambhala Center through 50 years of great joy, delight, and meaning, as well as great chaos and confusion. Plowing the very hard and rocky ground of the West to plant the Buddha and Shambhala Dharmas, which landed inextricably suffused with ancient Asian cultures, is not a task for the fainthearted, as we continue to experience again and again. I understand our past Directors to be among our Boulder and Front Range Sangha ancestors who have allowed for us all to be here today, this moment, with all its associated breadth, depth, complexities, and reverberations. 

All of this provided the strong foundation on which Melanie could stand firmly and do the exceedingly outstanding work she has accomplished not only in maintaining our sangha and center, but also bringing us into vital communication and openness with one another, allowing dissent and rage, while strengthening and softening us further at the same time. 

I am so grateful to our Lineage, to our past Directors, to our teachers, and to Melanie and the current and recent staff who have been on the frontlines of a firestorm for a couple of years now, and still continue with astonishing effort to reclaim health and wellbeing for our community. 

And none of that could have happened without all of you. Thank you!

Over the past week, people are continually calling and writing exclaiming how brave I am. I don’t feel particularly brave per se—what I feel is extremely happy and eager to work with all of you. I look forward to meeting those of you who do not know me, and learning about you. And I will cherish conversations with many old friends. Please do come talk with me. I hope that I will earn your trust and support.

I think we have a lot to celebrate as we enter this year of the iron mouse. As we go forward I would like to celebrate and hold our common ground in the forefront, while we firmly re-establish unshakeable, healthy processes and systems into the bones of our community; I know that we will continue to inspire primordial confidence to flourish. 

Recently I came across a seemingly simple yet infinitely profound statement from Joanna Macy, which struck me as a lovely thought to close with for now. 

To be alive in this beautiful, self-organizing universe—to participate in the dance of life with senses to perceive it, lungs that breathe it, organs that draw nourishment from it—is a wonder beyond words.

My aspiration is that together we illuminate the inherent potential of human society to manifest as the profound brilliant festival of peace and happiness.  Thank you!