April 20, 2020
Dear Dharma Friends,
As promised, in this letter we are in touch with you again to provide an update about how things are going with our lineage, including recent developments and discoveries, and the outlook for the future.
We want to begin by thanking you for all of your emails to the board and to Reggie personally. There is so much inspiration, commitment, devotion, and ongoing practice in North America, Europe, Australasia, Asia and elsewhere. It brings joy to one’s heart.
There are six of us who now meet weekly to assess where we are at as a lineage and what the way forward looks like. These six include the original three board members, names below, plus three other folks acting as advisors to the board, first, the Director of Blazing Mountain, Tammi Matthews, second, an accomplished financial advisor and third our skilled bookkeeper who has been with Dharma Ocean for quite some time. Although the challenges right now are very, very steep, the six of us are beautifully aligned with one another. In the near future, we plan to add one or two more members to the voting board and one or two more board advisors.
In our previous letter, we mentioned that three things are continuing into the future: Blazing Mountain Retreat Center; our online course offerings; and mentoring of teachers, tantrikas, and other students. As you know, the behemoth Dharma Organization was dissolved and is gone. At the same time, we have retained our non-profit 501c3 umbrella because this is legally required for us to continue to steward Blazing Mountain as well as other things we might do. The new Dharma Ocean umbrella houses two divisions:
one division is the work of transmitting this lineage, under the guidance of Lineage Holders, Reggie Ray and Caroline Pfohl; the other is Blazing Mountain, the container within which this lineage can be delivered, under the direction of Tammi Matthews. Our idea is that as soon as possible, Blazing Mountain will be a self-contained, self-sustaining entity, with its own separate and distinct income and expense configuration.
Reggie will resume in person teaching in the near future, as soon as the situation with the pandemic allows. Reggie’s teaching will focus on working with relatively small groups of tantrikas, 15-20 max, on various aspects of Vajrayana practice. We are also discussing the possibility of him leading Meditating with the Body in the Fall and also the Dathun or Winter Meditation Intensive at the end of the year. A new Sutrayana course will be coming along in due course, probably in 2021. Caroline will continue to serve the lineage by working with practitioners individually and in small groups, as well as teaching in all of the yanas. She plans to lead Vajra Assembly as soon as it is possible.
Because this is going to affect all of you who are continuing with us, we want to offer a blunt sharing of our current, virus-affected financial situation. After the old Dharma Ocean dissolved, we had a realistic and viable financial plan to get through 2020, but only barely. This included expenses cut to the bone, but enough money to pay our skeleton staff, run BMRC programs, and begin our online courses in the fall. This was important because, while we were not fully booked for 2020, we did already have a robust number of rental reservations for 2021 and could expect decent income from the online offerings. Then the virus hit.
Not surprisingly, folks who were going to rent BMRC this year are cancelling one after the other, and asking for deposits to be returned. Long story short, with this trend, we are going to be insolvent long before the end of the year. Unless we do something to address this, it will mean we will lose our staff, Blazing Mountain will be closed—so no MWTB and no Dathun and no possible rental income–and we won’t be able to afford to get our online courses up and running either.
So this is the situation. We are letting you know because, at this point, the only way we are going to be able to keep BMRC open and operational into 2021 and beyond, for the use of our Dharma Ocean teachers and others, is if enough of you feel gratitude and devotion to help us save this miraculous space—this place which we built with our own blood, sweat, and tears and which has given so much life to ourselves and others over the years.
For those of you who want to be in touch with the board, you can reply to the email address of this letter. For those of you who would like to communicate with Reggie, you can email to [email protected]. If you would like to be in touch with Caroline, her email is [email protected].
In the wide open and ever unfolding practicing lineage,