Dharma Ocean is the translation of Chögyam Trungpa’s Tibetan teaching name, Chökyi Gyatso, and reflects our core mission of transmitting Trungpa Rinpoche’s living lineage in the modern context.
THE MISSION OF THE PRACTICING LINEAGE is to embody, unfold, and widely offer the unique path to awakening and human fulfillment taught by Trungpa Rinpoche, Reggie Ray, and his senior students, creating a living continuity of the practicing lineage in our time. All those transmitting this lineage aim to express the essence of this lineage, namely:
- The fundamental goodness of the human person — our own and others’ inborn enlightenment, beauty, and inherent perfection;
- The importance of deeply respecting the life, individuality, and journey of those whom we meet and work with;
- The sacredness of all of life and experience — that everything that arises is an expression of ultimate wisdom and a potential gate to immediate awakening;
- The everyday practice to “never turn away” — to develop an attitude of complete acceptance and openness toward all experience;
- Relying on the somatic practice of meditation to meet our own experience, open to it without fear or hesitation, and experience the transformation that that makes possible.
Message from Reggie
Dharma Ocean was created as a container to house, protect, and transmit the practicing lineage of Chögyam Trungpa and his forebears, as it has come down to us. Including the “Dharma Village,” the precursor to Dharma Ocean, that container has sustained us all over a period of twenty-five years and done so admirably. Many, many people have been able to quench their spiritual thirst at this unique wellspring. Much teaching has occurred, many wonderful people have met one another, we have practiced, studied, and celebrated together, we have laughed and cried, and we have developed deep friendships. All in all, it has been a truly good and joyful thing. As one of our former board members said recently, “it has been a good run.” Indeed it has.
However, as has happened over and over in the history of Buddhism, at a certain point, the container was no longer able to provide the kind of protection and support needed to safe-guard our practicing lineage and its integrity. Dharma Ocean began to become a bit too solid and predictable; roles and identities hardened; things started to become a bit stale and routine; and rather than furthering the journey, our container began to impede it. So it was that the karma of Dharma Ocean ran its course and now we find our container being scattered to the four winds.
It is important to try to understand all the various factors that are playing into this occurrence. However, the bare fact of this death cannot be avoided: as so often happens in our lives, the ripening of karma stepped in and is hastening the process of disappearance. The external cultural situation became increasingly painful and chaotic for everyone. Many have been feeling fear and even dread. Much of this bled into our programs. The community seemed to drift away from the transmission of the practicing lineage as our sole reason for being together and toward attempts to create our ideal family as a safe haven in the storm.
All the uncertainty, instability, and chaos created a vulnerability. A few people, and in the beginning it was a very few, took exception to my uncompromising and admittedly sometimes heavy handed leadership style, and began claiming that this was creating problems for students and harming them. The depersonalizing and potentially destructive capacities of the internet were exploited and others were recruited to the campaign over a period of a couple of years. In time, these folks provided a forum for anyone with unresolved grievances or resentments. I have since responded to these perceptions and addressed them by a series of letters which will be posted on this website.
Eventually, all of this impacted our enrollments, our teachers, and our programs, and in the fall of 2019, we realized that Dharma Ocean itself was no longer financially viable. With enormous efforts on the part of our staff, to whom much gratitude is due, we were able to pull together enough funds to manage a graceful disappearance: our final Winter Meditation Intensive occurred this past winter and the final Meditating with the Body retreat in February of 2020, and we are retiring our debts and outstanding financial obligations.
In terms of my personal responsibility, I feel my biggest mistake was allowing the community to expand beyond my own capacity to provide people with the kind of personal mentoring many wanted and expected; and consistently being able to make available the kind of help some needed on this most difficult of all journeys. I regret that in the end some people felt they did not have a good experience. However, many others did and have found in this lineage the life giving practices and teachings that they were searching for, sometimes for a long, long time.
Those of us who are continuing will keep working together, following the thread of the lineage, as it continues to evolve in its own way. From here on, I myself will focus on what I do best and what I love the most, working with students individually and in small groups, and transmitting this miraculous body of teachings to them. And I will continue writing books and recording audio programs.
In order to appreciate what has occurred, I think we all need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. When karma is finished, and this includes when we die, it might be pretty and it might be ugly. But the fact is that when something dies, it means its life has run its course. Whatever it was, is over. I see no problem in this universal process, much as it may sometimes pain us humans. Viewed in the biggest perspective, this is the sacred nature of Life itself and, when we see it and surrender to it, our individual lives can be imbued with the deepest meaning and the most profound joy. I personally feel not just encouraged, but even a little excited to realize that each of us can now, through the teachings and the practices, carry the lineage forward in a much better and ever more pure and powerful way. May each of us take full advantage of what is now occurring.
In the practicing lineage,
Message from the Board of Directors: About the Dharma Ocean Website
As Dharma Ocean was in the process of dissolving its programming operations in late 2019 and early 2020, we received many requests for continued access to the free resources made available on our website. We prioritized some of our remaining financial resources to simplify and repurpose the website to respond to these requests. Many thanks to the staff who undertook this project as one of their last offerings.
We hope that the resources gathered here will continue to support those inspired to engage the somatic teachings and practices of this lineage “to uncover the fire of liberating wisdom in everyday experience.”
In the Meditation Resources section, we have collected information on somatic meditation, articles and interviews, downloadable chants and supports for daily practice, guided practices, and hours of recorded teaching sessions for beginning and experienced practitioners alike. Visitors can also find published books and audio programs for purchase through third parties.
All episodes of the Dharma Ocean Podcast have been preserved here, beginning with Episode 1: River of Life, originally published December 12, 2012. There are nearly 100 hours of content drawn from recorded retreats and public teachings spanning almost two decades.
From its very beginning, the vision for Blazing Mountain was that it would be a manifestation of wakefulness in the world, connecting retreatants to the vast space and wild energy of Crestone, Colorado, and their own awakened nature. Our aspiration is that it becomes an independent retreat center, fulfilling this vision and flourishing for years to come, and we invite contemplative and wisdom traditions to consider it as their home for deep retreat.
The Board of Directors