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Lions Roar : May 2015
EDITORIAL Change Is a Wonderful Thing I REMEMBER WALKING up the creaky staircase of one of Halifax’s “most reason- ably priced” office buildings on a very cold, snowy day in 1999. I was on my way to visit the Shambhala Sun office. My longtime friend and dharma brother Melvin McLeod, brilliant editor-in- chief and chief bottle washer at the magazine, had been after me to help take the Sun to the next level. While it was an appealing invitation, and with my thirty years of publishing and dharma background an obvious next step for me, what I encountered on that visit wasn’t very seductive at first. The tattered office, which was one of two since a recent “expan- sion,” had a boarding house feel. Four staff, includ- ing Melvin, all worked at third generation hand- me-down Macs, drifting over to a fifth desk to check their email. How on Earth, I wondered, could this operation ever reach that next level? But talking with the staff soon revealed the Shambhala Sun’s secret sauce that has long been a hallmark of this operation: one part burning pas- sion to bring the best of the dharma to the world, and one part deeply held conviction that everyone has basic goodness. I also encountered the most awesome dedication. The mainstays of the opera- tion—Melvin and creative genius designer Liza Matthews—worked day jobs to support themselves. Inspired by all this, I signed on as publisher. Now, fifteen years later, the tattered parts are gone. Nearly twenty accomplished publishing professionals, working on state-of-the-art systems in an office with a sweeping view of historic Hali- fax harbor, produce an award-winning magazine whose circulation has more than tripled to become North America’s largest English-language Buddhist publication. Along the way, we launched a quarterly journal, Buddhadharma, for dedicated Buddhist practitio- ners. We hosted conferences, published books, and birthed a new nonprofit to support the growing interest in secular mindfulness. We weathered some tough financial storms, mostly by applying sound business practices that are another cornerstone of this operation. These achievements were interdependent with tremendous growth in the dharma, both inner and outer, during this time. Dharma practitioners have grown in depth of insight as well as in numbers, and Western dharma teachers display an ever-deepening understanding. Most telling, after so many years keeping one’s dharma connection quiet, suddenly it has become a badge of honor with your doctor, your child’s schoolteacher, or your boss. Now, after fifteen wonderful years, I’m stepping down as publisher of the Shambhala Sun to give full- time attention to the Mindful initiative. I’ll still be Consulting Publisher here, working on special proj- ects, and I look forward to the continuity with my many good friends in the Shambhala Sun world. I have many people to thank for their support and mentoring along the way. I can only mention a few: founder Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, who instilled the dedication to dharma and basic goodness that still propels this project; to all my colleagues here, whose confidence, friendship, and support were the foundation of any success I had; and to the readers, writers, artists, advisers, and critics—to all of you— whose relentless aspiration for dharma is the reason the Shambhala Sun exists at all. I feel the snow and cold giving way to spring as I write this. One telltale sign, and what I’m most excited about, is the new generation of leaders here. This younger crew has been raised in the dharma, worked successfully in the world, and is now bring- ing all that back home to the Shambhala Sun. They combine that same passion and dedication to dharma with a modern sensibility and an organic connection to their mobile devices. I’m very excited to see the different ways of doing things and new growth that will come of that, and where that will take us over the next fifteen years. Things change, and that’s a wonderful thing. —JAMES GIMIAN, CONSULTING PUBLISHER LIZAMATTHEWS SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2015 10