SI Instructors: Letter from Rinpoche

Dear friends,

This letter is to let you know of some new dharma instructors whom I’ve requested to help guide and advise our students and practitioners, and to encourage the older dharma instructors in their continuing work to propagate the dharma. I think the context in which this is happening is changing so rapidly that it’s worth sharing a few thoughts.

We are living in an incredibly fast-moving digital era in which social media can quickly generate waves of hope and fear, and in which distrust and suspicion can erupt faster than ever. In this day and age, anything not visible, tangible, or directly related to this worldly life is looked on with doubt and disbelief – and often rightly so!

At such a time, to suggest following even a traditionally celebrated lama can be more dangerous than recommending a doctor for a complicated heart surgery. And to suggest as a spiritual guide someone who doesn’t have a brown face and is not from an exotic land may take particular courage.

So I’m making this announcement after a lot of thought, and only at a completely human level – simply because I’ve spent some time with these people and known them a bit longer than others. It’s certainly not because they have any kind of degree or qualification or because I have any kind of omniscience to know them properly.

But in the time I’ve known these people, I can at least say they haven’t shown any major visible imbalance or extreme ambition or spiritually materialist wish to become a guru or make a living out of the dharma.

As well, naming these people as instructors for Siddhartha's Intent has nothing to do with any tantric empowerment or seeing them as gurus who take responsibility for their students’ lives. Rather, these instructors are spiritual companions and friends to those on the path – what we call kalyanamitra in the Mahayana tradition – sharing their spiritual knowledge and giving useful information to others on the path.

After all, we are followers of Shakyamuni Buddha who told us to rely on the teachings not on the person. So it’s in that spirit and with that intent that I request both our new and old instructors to do all they can to preserve, propagate, and serve the Buddhadharma.

With that understanding, I am requesting the following new and old instructors (listed alphabetically by surname) to help guide and advise our students with a good heart, kindness, caring, and the utmost reluctance to teach:

Summer Adams, Bruce Ashton, Carlo Rodrigo Carranza, Jamyang Choden, Ani Pema Chodron, Tsering Chodron, Steve Cline, Debbie Dorjee, Ngodrup Dorjee, Hanna Ebinger, Bridget Gebbie, Tsunma Gosha Gray, Chanel Grubner, Jangchub Haubner, Vera Ho, Jing Rui Huang, Cydney Kawamura, Florence Koh, Melitis Kwong, Chris Jay, Sydney Jay, Shan Lan Lee, Jakob Leschly, Jimmy Ma, Douglas Mills, Khenpo Sonam Phuntsok, Sara RojoArne Schelling, Deva Shih, Ross Smith, Stephanie Suter, Longdrol Szeto, Khenpo Sonam Tashi, Deepa Thakur, Alex Trisoglio, Kris Yao, Ani Zangmo