It has been several weeks since the last communication from the Dharma Ocean Foundation Board. Since that time much has happened, and we are now reaching out to update you. This letter is being distributed to active Dharma Ocean Tantrikas and will be released to the greater Dharma Ocean community shortly.
We would like to begin by acknowledging the lack of communication regarding the state of affairs at Dharma Ocean. Over the last month, the former board dissolved. Without a functioning board, no decisions could be made about the direction of the organization, and there was no one in a position to formally communicate on its behalf.
Recently, Reggie invited us to join the board and we accepted the invitation. We are:
- Maria Vargas, Board Chair
- Norman Elizondo, Board Treasurer
- Chantal Duteau Buck, Board Secretary
David Iozzi has agreed to continue in his staff role as Executive Director, an ex officio non-voting board member, to support ongoing activities and the transitions we are sharing in this letter.
We will communicate with the entire sangha in few days. However, we are reaching out to you first because you are lineage holders and to assist those of you working with students as meditation instructors, mentors, teachers, and senior practitioners.
A decision has been made to dissolve Dharma Ocean and to begin suspending operations immediately. Several factors have contributed to this decision, including financial challenges. Therefore, David has been directed to begin suspending operations in the next few weeks. It is our intent to do this with the utmost respect for the students, staff, and teachings. The staff will leave gradually over the next few months as they complete the work in their respective areas. We extend immense gratitude to the current and previous staff for supporting all of us.
Investigation of the Allegations
We are considering how to best work with the allegations and the other actions initiated by the former board.
As operations wind down, there are two main priorities. The first is to have enough money to offer a modest severance to the staff to support them in transitioning out of their roles. The second is to support the Winter Meditation Intensive and the closing retreat for Meditating with the Body, both of which are planned to continue. Our responsibility is to all students who have enrolled and are committed to attending these programs.
All ongoing online courses will be completed as planned. There continues to be a strong interest in these. In the future, we hope that another platform for the foundation courses can be developed and to continue making them available. We also hope that in time the website can become an even greater resource for students. This effort will require funding, a new organizational container, and people to guide it on a part time basis.
Those who have been ordained chaplains with Dharma Ocean as their community of faith will be helped to find another community of faith to hold their ordination. We are in conversation with a few other communities who are open to this. Please let us know if this affects you.
Blazing Mountain Retreat Center
We are also working on possible ways to help the Blazing Mountain Retreat Center continue as a home for the dharma and deep practice. We hope that it can become an independent retreat center with current and future rental programs to cover the costs of maintaining it.
Reggie continues to be in retreat and has withdrawn from public teaching. He appreciates the feedback and observations that many of you have offered, as well as the opportunity to learn and grow from them; and he appreciates the loving messages and expressions of devotion for the teachings he has received.
We want to express our deepest gratitude to the past boards for their devotion and dedication to holding the container which has enabled us to make our journeys for so many years. We are grateful to all volunteers and donors who have made Dharma Ocean’s offerings possible through their great generosity, and the teachers who have held us, transmitted the teachings, and made our journeys possible.
Additionally, we want to express our profound gratitude to you for your practice, generosity, and dedication to this path, which enriches the journey of others. Despite the challenges we have faced and are facing, Dharma Ocean has been and is home to many of us. Dharma Ocean has been a constant, a refuge, the place we learned about the Dharma and received the teachings. For many, Dharma Ocean has been a community, a place to serve, the place where for better or for worse we began to take a look at ourselves, our lives, and one another with new insights and perception.
There are no words to express the deep sadness or the impact the dissolution of Dharma Ocean will have for the many practitioners of this lineage. Our intention is to keep you updated as we proceed; however, we ask for your patience.
Yours in the Lineage,
Chantal Duteau Buck