The Congress can be likened to a parliament or an assembly where people gather to discuss, ask questions, voice what matters to them, and participate in the governance of our mandala. Although the Congress itself is not a decision-making body, the views expressed by the participants and recommendations made are taken into account by the Sakyong’s Council and the Mandala Council. It is an essential component to the governance of our mandala.
The Vidyadhara, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, envisioned regular assemblies where community representatives—known as a dekyong ("bliss protector")—from throughout the mandala would meet together to discuss the health of the community. In 2002, when Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche appointed Richard Reoch as President of Shambhala, the President’s first assignment was to organize the mandala’s first Congress. The President took the project on and preparations began, as did consultation meetings, phone calls and much communication. Representatives from all over the mandala were asked to attend, and to gather topics for discussion and questions in advance from their respective groups.
Since then, we have held three Congresses, the first in November of 2003, the second in February of 2005 and the third in 2007. Read on for addtional background information on the 2003 & 2005 Congress and the 2007 Congress audio archives.