Advisory Panel (Full Description)

The Sakyong’s Advisory Panel on Shambhala Environments

Advisory Panel – PDF


The Sakyong’s Advisory Panel on Shambhala Environments has been created to foster a deeper understanding within our community of the nature of genuine Shambhala environments, and to strengthen our ability as a society, to manifest those environments.  It will advise the Sakyong and assist the community as a whole by reviewing land and architectural purchases as well as development plans within the Shambhala mandala, offering guidance and directive as needed.

Guiding Principles

The term genuine Shambhala environment implies a place that:

  • Arises from the ground of unconditional sacredness.
  • Is in keeping with the vision of the Sakyong Lineage.
  • Is arranged according to the principles of Lha Nyen and Lu and Heaven, Earth and Man.
  • Is attuned to cosmic drala as well as local drala and culture.
  • Is situated according to Kanyu/Fungshui principles and local landforms.
  • Is ecological, sustainable and accessible in vision and design.
  • Is based on and fosters the manifestation of the Three Courts.
  • Reflects in form and space, the Outer, Inner and Secret aspects of the path and lineage of Shambhala Buddhism.
  • Contributes to, and is linked spiritually and energetically with, the greater Shambhala mandala through which it is empowered.
  • Incorporates appropriate Shambhala iconography, heraldry and graphics.
  • Accommodates its purposes and activities in an uplifted and elegant manner, and is accessible to the broader community.


The Advisory Panel was established based on the wishes of the Sakyong, and it’s mandate is to assist the community as a whole, by reviewing all projects of any substantial scale, throughout the Shambhala mandala within the City, Practice, Retreat and Land Centres.  The scope of this review might include as appropriate or necessary, any number of the following aspects of a project:

  • Kanyu/Fungshui Analysis
  • Property or Building Selection
  • Facility Programming (Master Program)
  • Master Planning & Site Planning
  • Landscape Design
  • Ecology & Sustainability
  • Architectural Design
  • Interior Design
  • Graphics, Iconography, Signage and Heraldry


The Panel will work in conjunction with the initiating Centre or other entity and its development or planning team, along with the Kalapa Council, the Sakyong’s Council or when necessary, the Sakyong or the Sakyong Wangmo themselves.  The Panel will be advisory in capacity, with decision-making authority resting with the Sakyong, his Councils and the Centre itself.

It is assumed that prior to any review by the Panel, the mission of the Centre and its role within the Shambhala Mandala, as well as any needs assessments, or strategic and financial planning necessary for the project will have been clarified by the initiating Shambhala Centre or entity, and reviewed and/or approved as needed, by the Sakyong or his governing Councils.


The Advisory Panel will be available for review and advice at various specific points in a project’s path, depending on the scale and complexity of the project, from first envisioning through complete development.  The process will be collaborative, emphasizing the empowerment and authority of the local team.  The recommendations of the Advisory Panel reflect the intentions of the Sakyong and the governing bodies of the mandala. The panel is empowered to advise centres and groups on how best to apply the fundamental principles of Shambhala to their diverse conditions and requirements.  The panel will not initiate proposals, business plans or design studies.

Given the range of possible projects, the specific path and opportunity or need to engage this Panel will vary, but the basic steps might look something like this: Note: Bold type indicates the possible involvement of this panel.

  • Mission for the Centre
  • Evaluation of the Centre’s role regionally nationally or internationally
  • Needs analysis for the new project
  • Community process in developing the new project
  • Clarification regarding the balance of volunteerism combined with hired professional services
  • Strategic plan for the project and Centre
  • Determining chain of command and decision making
  • Determining the Development Team (The Client)
  • K’an-yü/Feng-shui evaluation
  • Selecting the best location or neighborhood
  • Facility Programming (Master Program)
  • Selecting the property or building
  • Establishing the Design Team
  • Feasibility Study
  • Local planning guideline and code assessment
  • Conceptual Design
  • Developing Budgets (could happen earlier, and throughout the process)
  • Master Planning/ Site Planning
  • Sustainability Evaluation
  • Selecting the Contractor (could happen earlier or later in the process)
  • Schematic Design & Design Development
  • Clarifying Costs
  • Interior Design
  • Landscape Design
  • Construction Documentation
  • Graphics, Iconography, Signage and Heraldry
  • Confirming Budgets and Costs
  • Construction oversight

In order to facilitate this process, it is recommended that the Panel be informed once a Centre has decided to look for property or new facilities to purchase or lease, or has clarified the need to renovate or redevelop its existing facilities.

Please contact the panel chair Stephen Vosper

Fees and Services

The Panel’s aim is to provide its basic advisory services on a voluntary basis as an offering to the Shambhala lineage and mandala. Depending on the scale and complexity of a project, the Panel may not be able to voluntarily support a complete and thorough review process.  This would be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Where it is not possible to provide a full service voluntarily the Panel strongly encourages the Centre to hire a Shambhala professional as part of their design team. This helps ensure the best understanding of the Guiding Principles involved in creating a building or environment that expresses our unique Shambhala culture.

Along those lines, panel members may be hired as part of the design team at the discretion of the local leadership, and at a fee to be determined by both parties.  Please go to Design Services on this site for more details about hiring your team.


The Panel can be viewed as having concentric circles of involvement and authority that radiate out from the centre.  At the centre are the Sakyong and Sakyong Wangmo as the source of the expression of Shambhala environments.

Extending out from there are the Senior Panel Members, who will be engaged in some capacity with all projects.  Currently as appointed by the Sakyong, these are Stephen Vosper and Eva Wong, with Mr. Vosper as the Panel Chair.  Over time there will be other Senior Panel Members, with perhaps six in total.

Next are the Associate Panel Members, who will have involvement and influence with specific projects by invitation from the Chair or the initiating Centre, based on the complexity and scale of those projects, and the particular skills and experience of the individual members, or their prior associations with the project.

The current Associate Panel Members are: Wendy Friedman, Gina Stick, Peter van der Molen, Adrian Sopher and Mary Sweet

The final circle are the Affiliate Panel Members, who are essentially consultants, willing to be involved in an advisory capacity with regard to specific aspects of a project, again by invitation from the Chair or the initiating Centre.

Within the governance structure of Shambhala, the Panel Chair has a standing invitation to attend all meetings of the Kalapa Executive.


As this Advisory Panel and our Shambhala culture develops, it is our aspiration to gather together and make available, both specific recommendations and general guidelines, as well as broad educational materials, that express and explore the Sakyong’s vision and our community’s understanding of what makes a genuine and powerful Shambhala environment.  We encourage your feedback.