Karma Sangha

Protecting the financial integrity, legal status and sangha community of Nalandabodhi to ensure the flourishing of dharma in the west.

Karma Sangha’s roles in the workings of Nalandabodhi U.S. are: 

  1. Overseeing the financial well being of Nalandabodhi U.S.
  2. Managing the legal work being done for and giving legal advice to Nalandabodhi U.S., the Centers, and the Study Groups of Nalandabodhi U.S. 
  3. Providing adequate financial resources via fundraising for Nalandabodhi International (NBI)
  4. Applying the necessary oversight to NBI’s activities to ensure that the policies and procedures established by the Board or NBUS are being followed

Karma Sangha supports the Chief Operating Officer in making NBI an effective organization, assesses Nalandabodhi U.S. activities, protects the assets of Nalandabodhi U.S., such as NalandaWest, provides financial oversight, and, lastly, ensures the legal and ethical integrity of Nalandabodhi U.S.

Karma Sangha (Board of Directors) U.S.

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche is the founder and spiritual director of Nalandabodhi, and the President of the KS Board. Rinpoche has been teaching dharma since the age of 12 and is widely celebrated in the East and West for his engaging teaching style. He is the author of Emotional Rescue, Rebel Buddha, and many other books, and the Nalandabodhi curriculum materials. Rinpoche is a lineage holder in both of Indian and Tibetan

Buddhism’s two most profound traditions of meditation: Mahamudra and Dzogchen. A lover of music, art, and urban culture, Rinpoche is a poet, photographer, accomplished calligrapher, and visual artist. Rinpoche is also the founder of other non-profit organizations– Nitartha International, Nitartha Institute, and CAUSA.

Ellen Balzé, Co-Chair (ellenb@nalandabodhi.org)

Ellen became a student of Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche in 2015. She also works with the Path of Mindful Activity core team under the guidance of Mitra Mark Power. A clinical psychologist with a background in organizational consulting, she is trained in a form of psychotherapy based on Buddhist teachings. She has appreciated opportunities (and reminders) to pause, relax, and reflect serving with other East Coast Nalandabodhi members and folks across Nalandabodhi on retreats and local projects. She enjoys baking bread and caring for succulents. Ellen lives in Philadelphia with her husband.

Kris Shaw, Co-Chair (Krisshawnb@gmail.com)

Kris has been a student of Rinpoche since 1997, and has been a co-director of Nalandabodhi Seattle. He is also a popular local study facilitator. Older students may remember Kris as the ever-cheerful van driver from Sangha Retreats past. Kris brings to the Board his institutional knowledge of Nalandabodhi, legal knowledge, compassion, and humor. Kris lives in Seattle with his wife Teresa and two beautiful young daughters Olivia and Alexis.

Wendy S. Pearson (wendy@nalandabodhi.org)

Wendy has been a student of Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche since 2003. Wendy has volunteered her services in the areas of finance and legal for the past 15 years with Nitartha Institute, Nalandabodhi Seattle, and Nalandabodhi US. For the past five years, she served as the Director of Finance for Nalandabodhi US. Wendy has been an attorney for too long to mention, advising Indian Tribal governments and nonprofit organizations. Wendy lives in Seattle, Washington with her wife of 35 years.

Dave Gannon (dave@nalandabodhi.org)

Dave became a formal student of Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche in 2013. He has been the Director of Finance for Nalandabodhi Colorado since 2016. In his 20’s, Dave worked as a counselor at a minimum-security correctional facility, where he assisted previously incarcerated offenders. Later, after graduating with an MBA from the University of Colorado, he pursued a career in finance.

Dave worked in corporate treasury management at several large public companies for the last twenty years. Dave and his wife are the parents of twin college students, a dog, a cat, and two beehives. They all enjoy living near the Rocky Mountains.

George Beckwith (gbbeckwith@nalandabodhi.org) George became a student of Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche in 2009 and is a practice instructor and facilitator at Nalandabodhi New York. He recently retired from a long career in architecture with a specialization in historic preservation and adaptive reuse. With his wife Wendy Miller, a fellow sangha member and painter, they have a 26-year-old son who is a graphic designer. George plays fingerstyle and jazz guitar and enjoys cooking, birding, hiking, and living in the Hudson Valley and New York City.

Betsy Dain (betsy.dain@gmail.com)

Betsy has been a student of Rinpoche since 2014. She is the practice coordinator for Akasha and a practice instructor. A retired librarian, Betsy works in Adult Literacy and as a Hospice Volunteer. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina with her husband of 46 years, Wes. She enjoys reading, cooking, walking in the woods, and Face Timing with her two far-flung daughters.

Patrick Lee (pat.lee@nalandabodhi.org)

Pat began recording teachings by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche at the first Treasury of Knowledge Retreat in Texas in 1992 and became his student in 1994. In 1998 he married Deborah Calloway in a wedding ceremony performed by DPR. In 2002, with the blessing of DPR, they founded Vajra Echoes, a dharma teachings recording company. In 2003 they were co-founders of Nalandabodhi Connecticut. 

Pat has attended all Treasury of Knowledge retreats since 1992 and all Sangha Retreats since they started in 1999, and has been an active member of Nalandabodhi Connecticut since 2003. Pat enjoys hiking and biking in Connecticut and skiing anywhere the snow is good.

Jeff Furlong (jeff.furlong@gmail.com)

Jeff has been a student of Rinpoche since 1998.  Since that time, he has served in various roles in Rinpoche’s organizations. Early, in the formation years of Nalandabodhi, Jeff was primarily involved in finding property for the first public centers in Seattle and played a significant role in the eventual acquisition of Nalanda West. Currently he provides software and IT services in support of the digital resources provided by Nitartha International. Jeff has had a long career as a software engineer creating tools to facilitate advancements in life science research. His most recent work has contributed to vaccine development in the HIV Vaccine Trials Network and to a new cancer detection application utilizing circulating cell-free DNA. Jeff currently resides in Seattle where he has spent most of his life since arriving as a child in 1977.

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