by Wamgon Tulku, Wamgon Monastery and Nunnery, Derge
After the 2014 Leadership and Management workshop in Kathmandu, the team received this eloquent first-person account from Wamgon Tulku, who is currently studying at DKCLI.
I was born in India and was raised in an average class family. Growing up far from the Tibetan community in an Indian colony helped me be more open and learn more about people. Yet visiting my relatives in Tibetan community often also helped me stay in touch with the Tibetan culture and belief.
I was recognized by the H.H Sakya Trizin at the age of 9 and started studying in a monastery. Unlike many of the tulkus and rinpoches, my life was not so glamorous and high class. I have no complaints financially or food, but I had really tough training from my previous teacher! Well I’m not here to tell you my story, but the reason I mentioned this is to let you know my background wasn’t so fancy and spoiled growing up.
The reason why I went to the workshop is mainly because I have a monastery and nunnery to look after back in Derge, Tibet and also a few big projects on improvement in societies and flourish dharma, hoping that I could learn something which can be helpful in future. I didn’t have much clue since I have never been in any similar kind of workshop, so I didn’t have specific expectation. But I did have big expectations since it was organized by Dzongsar Khyentse since he is one of the smartest person, perfect teacher, well educated in Buddhism and at the same time updated to the modern world.
I worked with a group with the right balance of types; we had the super TJ [Thinking/Judging types in the Myers-Briggs system] who were really outgoing and also ones who were really introvert, quiet and shy, and also some who were like bit of both and were cool with anything. So because of the different varieties we had more to compare and reflect on ourselves.
The teachers were amazing, professionally skilled. They knew their participants did not have ordinary life styles. And accordingly they tried to give us the message gradually. I was surprised with everything, most of the topics were unexpected. I was guessing it was about speech, direction, and manner. But it was whole lot beyond that. Everything was perfectly designed for us and something which was very important to all of us, from management to leadership.
From aligning people to the issue tree [a graphical tool for solving problems] I learned so many things at the workshop. One of the most important I felt to us was how to read people according to their psychological type. Since we are the heads of monasteries and societies it will be very important for us to know who are working under us and make sure we get total benefit according to their ability. The vision worksheet and SALSA training were also very important.
Another important topic was the issue tree. I personally think it was very important for us because we do have all the ideas and know what to achieve, but what we don’t know is how to reach there and all the tools for arranging everything, for example how you use issue trees to assign tasks to individuals.
Another thing about the meeting I think is important is that we have a different style of meeting in our society. For example, in our monasteries there are a lot of formalities and some things can’t be brought up because we are living in a society where status is given by birth or title. So out of respect we avoid discussion of some decisions made by some a high rinpoche.
I learned so many things, not only from the workshop itself, but equally from the participants because all of them were people who have already achieved a lot and made me reflect on myself. From the workshop the biggest thing I learned was to be open and learn more. There are so many things out there which we need to know and prepare ourselves for. The things I learned were all new. Some things may take many years of experience to actually understand and realize, but there were many important tips for if you want to be a leader and do something big. Just as we need new antibiotics to kill new viruses, likewise we will need new methods and tools if we want to teach in the new generation.
One of the moments I would like to share from our leadership training was when Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche gave the speech at the end. He talked about modernizing the system we have here, which was the key message to all. Frankly I know most Tibetan people are pretty narrow minded and they probably wouldn’t agree if that was coming from anyone else then Rinpoche himself.
In the middle of the speech there was a complete silence, maybe a silence of acknowledgement, like a wake-up call, a silence of self-reflecting realization! Sorry, maybe those words are not usually used and I am not so good in English but I am just trying express myself as much as possible. Another moment was when they started to discuss a topic and it seemed like a debate between the old generation and the new, and all the people got involved in it.
I don’t think the leadership training could had been organized any better. And I feel very fortunate to be a part of it.
With respect and best wishes to the team,
Congratulation! Reding your coments y can feel your entusiast mind.
Y know how you feel, because y am caming from the other side,of the
path ,having born in occident, southamerica ,Uruguay,the higher part ot my life studyng administration, ecónoma, etc, and now trying to learn dharma teachings.
DKR is making a big, revolution!
Thank you for that piece by Wamgon Rinpoche.
I found it incredibly moving and informative.
The Leadership and Management Training, yet another amazing initiative by DJK Rinpoche, is perhaps the most important of all for the future of Tibetan Buddhism.
Congratulations and thanks to all concerned
Thank You Wamgon Tulku Rinpoche, for your very interesting and complete report on the Leadership workshop. Your English is very expressive and you have a wonderful writing style.
I think these workshops are very important. There has recently been a blossoming of non-sectarian Mindfulness Training in many places: prisons, schools, businesses, non-profits, and in intentional communities of all sorts. In fact, a report about Mindfulness training in prisons came on the radio even as I began to write this!
As people experience the effects of Mindfulness training in bringing peace to their inner lives, their interest in the source materials increases. I believe that if Buddhist teachers of Mindfulness are able to interact comfortably in any situation, organize any project, and successfully integrate volunteers, students, and workers from many different traditions, this will be very helpful in the construction of a society based on Kindness and Creative Cooperation.
The form is not the essence, and the essence is not the form. I have seen wonderful Teachers lose the formality when it is not helpful, yet keep the dignity that the Teachings deserve. Flexibility is a skill. The skills that Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche is suggesting we should be familiar with are really another form of Upaya. Surely when Guru Rinpoche arrived in Tibet, He had to be very flexible, inventive, creative, and innovative. No formality or set ways of doing things would help Him with that situation. Our situation is much the same, in that it calls for great directness, wonderful creativity, and the ability to connect with any sort of person as an equal, while solving many different problems all at once!
This approach also renews the Teachings. As we experience the signs of Guru Rinpoche, Blessed Rainbow Heart, emerging everywhere, so too we can experience the fresh immediacy of what He Taught, free of any ritual laid upon it. The rituals have helped keep the memories alive and have protected them. Yet the core of the Teachings themselves is free of ritual, and exists before ritual and after it….
I think these workshops are a great Gift and I am Grateful to Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, a true Path Finder, for understanding the need and benefit of such trainings. And I am Grateful to you for your report.
~ Thank You!