Our dharma community had a dear friend and senior teacher take his life through self immolation, in tandem with the exposure of clergy abuse scandals. It was devastating, and we can’t imagine his pain. I wrote this for him, with tears and a full heart, the day after…

For Bill & Us

How could I leave you?
When you are all
I have ever

I love too many
to ever
abandon ~

for 10 years now
never giving up
with love
silent in the periphery
that’s where you kept me
and others


but we are still here
many alone
aging now and ill
a life devoted, with no title
white walled one bedroom friendless end of life
silent, gentle suffering, like him.

I just texted that I loved him last week,
my goodbye.

We must firstly be aware,
recreate community that faces
each other,
not the principal

and then love and
take care of each other
no matter what profound darkness
has befallen.

It’s time finally to
include and value *all*
starting today
despite our culture
of youth, wealth
and narcissism

great bliss & stain wrapped in brocade
for centuries

Our love
and conscience,
are much stronger
a carbon based diamond prism,
going forward
is choice-less.

We will become
better than ever before
in the Shambles
and Ashes
like a phoenix of human
that arises from the
violent fire.

Let us be reborn not into
lofty rainbow body aspirations,
but simple
care from here, to our small children,
and theirs.

Make that vow again
feel it alive from flesh to bone
you now have your offering
of body, speech and mind

an activists protest of beating heart
and softened eye madness~

may we be mad
not one day longer,
the gate is now open again for all.

The Kingdom is nothing more
and nothing less than genuine

Tantra is the continuity of that.

Samaya is that which sees beyond fear
to unconditioned space
where there has never been any trace
of punishment.

We are the conduits of warmth
so ordinary, so simple.
I wish only that my arms were so wide
as vast as the earth itself
to wrap the whole planet with love
and healing~
all tears dry.

Let us feel the poignancy
and preciousness of each other
our families, the earth, animals~

and work
to foster the source of true,
nonviolent peace

a revolution of
the best that’s within us all

starting right

we reclaim this colorful Kingdom Mandala as ours.

We are the Earth Protectors,
it’s always
been us.

Photo of my dear friend Bill, that I took while we were all on retreat in Crestone Colorado in 2014 with our dear Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, we were doing an outdoor morning Tibetan smoke offering and prayer- “Lhasang,” where in Bon, they cry, “Ki Ki So So,” when throwing tsampa flour into the air, best of times. Love and miss you so Bill. Originally published to this blog on

1 reply
  1. Dawn Lhamo
    Dawn Lhamo says:

    One of Bill’s last public statements about Shambala: “I’m in a world of pain. When Trungpa Rinpoche died, there were many forces at work. Now there’s a phenomenon of you’re either in or out. We are no longer a society; we’ve become a church. Society has division, diversity, dissonance. The rank-ism creates distance and has broken me.”

    Toxic, punitive, unkind and cult-y spiritual communities can do so very much damage to the vulnerable and the cruel tenets and patterns just need to be stopped.


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