Passing of Paul Shippee

Paul Shippee

November 15, 1937 – August 31, 2023

Paul Shippee, an original first-generation American student of Suzuki Roshi and of Vidyadhara Chögyam Trunpa Rinpoche, a highly innovative and creative early-sangha pioneer, an enduring and devoted Dharma practitioner and a friend and close dharma-cohort to so many of us, has died. May his adventuresome and ingenious spirit, his magnanimous vision and work, his passion for life, and his consummate perkiness continue to influence Dharma as it continues its grand entry to the West. Our condolences to his family, with great appreciation for his life.

Paul was cremated at the the Crestone Open Air Cremation Pyre on Sunday morning, September 3, 2023. A rainbow appeared in the early morning sky, the pyre was lit as the sun rose over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and the coyotes howled.

Paul Shippee moved to Crestone in 1999 and built his passive solar heated, rammed earth/straw bail home. He loved his community and over the years built many strong bonds of love and friendship. His passions were the Buddha Dharma, Non-Violent Communication (NVC), and Solar Energy. He loved the sun — both the physical sun and the sun of wisdom. He deeply cared for this world and always wanted to help make things better. He yearned for humanity to become enlightened, for us to learn how to live sustainably on the planet, and he was always seeking to connect with others on a deeper and more meaningful level. He was an engineer by training, but tirelessly sought to educate himself beyond the straight lines and neat calculations of the physical world. The Crestone Solar School was one of Paul’s cherished projects, and some of his work can be viewed on the CSS website.

Paul was an early student of Suzuki Roshi’s, and spent two years at Tassajara Mountain Zen Center before meeting Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. He moved to Colorado in 1970 and helped establish Rocky Mountain Dharma Center (now Drala Mountain Center), was a founding faculty member during the first year of Naropa University, and had a solar energy business in Boulder called Colorado Sunworks. In his later years, Paul developed a unique and special blend of Buddhism and Nonviolent Communication, which he shared in prisons and NVC study groups until the last weeks of his life, and which he promoted on this Paul Shippee website.

Paul passed peacefully at Kongtrul Rinpoche’s and his daughter Jennifer’s home in Crestone on Thursday evening after a brief illness. It was a full blue moon and Buddha Amitabha Day in the Tibetan Buddhist Calendar. 🙏🏽

He greatly appreciated CEOLP (The Crestone End of Life Project) and Open Air Cremation and attended many of them in the past. He said everyone would be invited to his!

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