The Future is Open: Karma and Commitment

with Gaylon Ferguson

February 19th—March 5th

Date details +
  • $150 Program Price
  • $200 Patron Price
  • $75 Other Price
  • Or pay what you can afford. Please write in the amount.
Room: Online Program

In this program we will closely examine our experience of karma and the commitments of the three Buddhist vows.

Insight into karma (karmic causes-and-effects) is an essential part of the earliest teachings of the Buddha.

The narrow path of mindfulness-awareness practice allows us to liberate ourselves from the imprisoning habitual patterns of the six realms. In the refuge vow, we commit to the three jewels of buddha, dharma, and sangha as guiding principles of the way of basic sanity.

The open path commitment to awakened heart aspires to engaged compassionate activity freeing all beings from the vicious cycle of confused suffering. As Suzuki Roshi taught, bodhisattvas live lives based on vows instead of reacting on the basis of karma (greedy grasping and fixation, aggressive avoiding, ignoring). We are brave enough to turn toward suffering rather than running away from it.

The diamond path invites us into the vow of sacred outlook, seeing karmic patterns as auspicious coincidence.

Our main text will be Trungpa Rinpoche's The Future is Open: Good Karma, Bad Karma, Beyond Karma (2018) with guided contemplation exercises inquiring into our experience and group discussion. 

We will also study Trungpa Rinpoche's transcribed and edited talks from Refuge and Bodhisattva Vow ceremonies  as well as the section Samaya from the chapter Sacred Outlook in The Heart of the Buddha

Gaylon FergusonAbout the Teacher
Soon after reading Meditation in Action, Gaylon heard the Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche teach several summer seminars in Vermont. In 1973, after giving a “particularly panic-stricken and disorganized ” open house talk, Gaylon joined Tail of the Tiger Buddhist Community (now Karme Choling) where he worked in the garden, set the tractor on fire, and took people into retreat. After attending the 1975 Vajradhatu Seminary, Gaylon taught briefly at The Naropa Institute, led a dathun, and finally returned to Karme Choling, first as a staff member in the practice and study department, and then as Executive Co-director. In 1979, Gaylon journeyed west again to serve as teacher-in-residence for the Berkeley Dharmadhatu and in 1983, he joined the Office of Three Yana Studies in Boulder. 

Gaylon returned to Yale in 1987 to finish his undergraduate degree. In 1994, he was a Fulbright Fellow to Nigeria and completed a doctoral degree in cultural anthropology at Stanford University two years later. Gaylon moved to Karme Choling as teacher in residence through 2005. Gaylon is now part of the core faculty in Interdisciplinary Studies at Naropa.

His article, Making Friends with Ourselves (from the collection Dharma, Color, and Culture) was selected for inclusion in The Best Buddhist Writing: 2005

His book, Natural Wakefulness – Discovering the Wisdom We are Born With has a foreword by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche.

Program Price: $150
Patron Price: $200
Students, Seniors, and Limited Income: $75
Or pay what you can afford. Nobody will be turned away for lack of funds. 

Please register at least 24 hours in advance to be certain you receive the link for the program.

If you have any questions, please contact Jesse: jmill64 [at] gmail [dot] com


About Zoom
This program will be presented on the Zoom platform. It is available for computers, smart phones, and tablets. You will need to download the free app on your device before joining the session. Once it is loaded, click the link and follow the prompts to join the session.

It is best to join 5 minutes in advance so that you are set up when the session begins.

And, make certain that your mic is muted when you join to avoid background noises which are multiplied with many participants.




Program Policy
Our program policy has changed to reflect the current situation with online programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please register and pay online in advance of the program to make certain you receive all communications including the link for the program. Our online payment system is set up to accept payment through PayPal.

Generosity Policy
The Berkeley Shambhala Center is funded solely by your membership and program donations. Thank you for your generosity as you consider what you can pay for each program at our Center. We strive to price our programs in a way that accurately reflects the financial need of our Center and the cost to us of producing the program.

We are committed to offering our programs to everyone, regardless of their financial situation. Most programs include a base program price as well as a sliding scale.

If you need to reach a member of the Shambhala Center Staff, email manager [at] berkeleyshambhala [dot] org with your inquiry.

What is the Patron Price?
The other aspect of our Generosity Policy is our Patron Price. Those who are able to offer more than the regular program price can select the Patron Price option. By selecting this option, your generosity is helping to cover the costs of those who may not be able to pay the full price of the program. Thank you for your consideration, and for helping all to receive the treasure of the Shambhala Dharma.

We appreciate you registering and paying online. This helps us not only to plan for the program, but speeds up the registration line on the day of the program.

Work Study
We depend on volunteers to make all of our programs happen. If you are interested in offering your support in this way, please contact manager [at] berkeleyshambhala [dot] org. We would be very grateful. Please note that we have limited work-study options for online programs.

Refund Policy
If you are unable to attend a program for which you have pre-registered and paid, and contact us to cancel participation at least one week (7 calendar days) prior to the start of the program, you are entitled to either receive a refund less the cost of processing the payment, or you can apply the full payment amount to the cost of an upcoming program of your choice.

If you cancel your participation within the week prior to the program, you can apply those funds to another upcoming program of your choice.

No refunds will be given for cancellations after a program has begun.

Non Discrimination
The Berkeley Shambhala Center is open to everyone, and does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, height, weight, physical or mental ability, veteran status, military obligations, and marital status.

For information about becoming a Berkeley Shambhala Member, please visit this link.

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