The wife of my teacher Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Khandro Tseyang (also known as the Sakyong Wangmo) just gave birth to their 2nd daughter, Jetsun Yudra. Here is the first public photo of the couple with their new daughter. So this is a pretty wonderful day for them and anyone involved in the Shambhala community. May all be basically awesome for them, and may Jetsun Yudra feel welcome and at home on Earth.
Interestingly enough, the Shambhala lineage is a family lineage, and the Sakyong now finds himself in a family of women. Friends of mine are speculating that there’s a very good chance that the next head of our Shambhala tradition, founded by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, will be a woman. There’s no certainty, but this seems highly likely. This post-feminist, progressively educated male would certainly be very happy to have a woman in charge someday in the not too distant future.
Many of my friends and students complain that the Western (and Eastern) Buddhist world is far too male-dominated, especially since the majority of students in America are women. We all want to feel empowered in this world. Some people feel that they really seek out a female teacher in order to feel comfortable deepening their path.
However, reflecting on my own path, the majority (maybe even 2/3rds) of my own dharma teachers and mentors have been women. Outside of my studies with the Sakyong, my path has actually been decidedly female-dominated. I wonder if perhaps the chance to study Buddhism with women is actually far more prevalent than we believe? Certainly this has been my personal (anecdotal) experience.
Beyond any feminist victory for Buddhism, I am taking the news of the growth of the Shambhala family as an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of family in my own life.
May the Sakyong’s family be healthy and happy, and may we all work hard to heal whatever wounds we can in the lives of our own families.