The 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 Trungpa 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.

Open Air Cremation at the Pyre Sunday September 3, 2023
Arrive at 6:30 AM

Fire Lighting at 7 AM

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.

He 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.

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!

~ Thank you to Paul’s daughter Jennifer Shippee for this memory of her father.

~ Thank you to Clarke Warren for putting this information together.

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Joli Valenti
5 months ago

Paul’s Lament
By Joli Valenti

So, if women don’t want guitars
then the motherfuckers die
of Spanish syphilis most times
And there ain’t no stars in that cold sky

So they gathered like gargoyles at his every word to steal the passive pioneers horn

And they failed baby like clergy merging clawing and purging attacking and urging since the pioneer of Sangha was born.

He smiled but never budged
As they'd forgotten their grudge
And dismissed him as an old atheist or hippee
While their offspring became fans
of the teachings of Roshi
AND the “Gentle Man” they simple called Shippee

Joli ‘23

You enlightened me in so many ways and made me smarter and sweeter with every conversation we ever had. Paul they were the most fascinating conversations I’ve ever known.

I love you and will see you again, you promised me and I’m holding you to it brother….

So Ciao for now

Robert Merchasin
10 months ago

I didn’t know Paul well in those days, but he was a very bright spirit, a man ahead of his time in his vision of the Sun as a better path into the future. My wonderful memory of Paul is his description of his birthday one year as the completion of “another trip around the sun”. May his great spirit persist.

Andrew Safer
10 months ago

Paul was an innovator, a strong practitioner, and a warrior. At Rocky Mountain Dharma Center (later Shambhala Mountain Center), he built a solar rammed- earth house in the early 1970s! I remember Paul as a man of integrity and honesty; his head was always screwed on right. His two years at Tassajara must have done something (positive!) to him. He had a deep understanding of the teachings, and a heart of gold. His latest innovation was to teach workshops in Non-Violent Communication and Buddhism. Paul didn't look over his shoulder to see what other people were thinking or doing. He would be marching to the beat of a different drummer. May he continue his bodhisattva activity in the bardo and beyond.

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