News from the Shambhala Archives

Greetings all. This newsletter is designed to keep everyone in touch with the projects and accomplishments, developments and aspirations of the intrepid Archives team. We are three in number right now, Rosie Pittas, Technical Director; Iryna Vorobiova, Curator/Archivist and Jeanne RiordanPerks, administrator/archival specialist. David MacLellan is responsible for Archives overall administration. Sadly we are saying goodbye to David Brown who has been providing his communication and managerial skills to our great benefit. He is retiring this month. We will miss him greatly.

News from Summer 2022

This summer we received a national grant, once again, from Service Canada to hire a student for the summer. The grant pays part of her salary, and donations contribute the rest.
We were fortunate to be able to hire a recent Dalhousie University graduate in Library Sciences who began documenting the administrative and personal letters of Trungpa Rinpoche from the 1970’s and 80’s. These have been stored in file cabinets and file boxes for decades and required expertise to describe and enter them into our database. These are now fully searchable.

In addition to the amazing work done by our summer student, the Archives is working hard on several projects. Most notably the inventory of all the physical media in our vault, as well as continuing the digitization process of all the videos we have of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. Our Technical Director has also been adding new data describing all the digital material we now hold on servers and in the cloud, of the precious teachings of our Shambhala Lineage and of visiting Buddhist teachers as well as our own western teachers who contributed to seminaries and assemblies.

Also this summer we received funding from numerous sangha and from the Shambhala Trust for an updated inventory of the VCTR Collection, which holds all of the personal belongings of the Shambhala founder,Trungpa Rinpoche. We were fortunate to find an experienced Shambhala practitioner to do this important work. Iryna Vorobiova, from Ukraine, was Museum Senior Research Fellow in Kyiv, curating and directing more than twenty projects with twenty years of experience in many areas of museum work. She is delighted to be working with the Archives and expanding her knowledge of our founder, Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche through looking after his personal belongings. As she writes:

”It is a pure joy and honour to work with such a unique collection. I have been practicing the teachings of Buddhism and Shambhala for over 20 years, yet I could not have imagined such a variety of the most incredible works of art. Every day I get to witness the entire history of Shambhala, so inspiring, engaging, and joyful. This collection will inspire many generations of humans in the future, and I am delighted to use my skills and knowledge to help preserve this collection.”

We are very happy to have her.

Also this summer Shambhala Archives partnered with the Nalanda Translation committee to provide space and equipment for organizing, describing and digitizing their audio cassettes of meetings with various Tibetan teachers and Khenpos. These audio tapes are important for their records and for historical reference. In addition to the cassettes, the student scanned hundreds of documents with translation notes on Tibetan texts that would later be finalized into the publications available on their website. Archives will store the digital copies on our raid systems as well.

Grants and projects this year

Over the year, Archives has received funding and grants for various projects. Last fall, having received a grant from Dorje Denma Ling, following a successful on-line seminar studying the Letter of the Black Ashe, we hired Torin Vigerstadt to inventory, describe, catalog and digitize audio tapes in the Shambhala Lodge series of events. Here he looks a bit overwhelmed with the magnitude of the project, but his ever present sense of humour kicked in quickly….He did an excellent job and in addition to the inventory and digitizing, he also transcribed some of the more important recordings.

Hundreds of photos, mainly of Trungpa Rinoche working on the Los Angeles art installations, the Denver Dharma Art show and Ikebana installations were scanned this year, described and entered into the database last by a law student on the same national grant for student jobs, mentioned above. These are now fully searchable.

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