Adana Barbieri died peacefully on the morning of August 2nd, 2023 surrounded by her family and local dharma community.
On Saturday, August 19th, at 4:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time, a memorial service led by Judith Lief will be held at the Boulder Shambhala Center. This will be for people in person and on Zoom.
The service will take place through the Boulder Shambhala Center. Please direct any questions regarding details (technical or otherwise), to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Adana Barbieri died peacefully on the morning of August 2nd, surrounded by her family and local dharma community.
In the summer of 1974, a 24-year-old Adana McKenna started a cross-country drive from California in her Volkswagen bus, with plans to leave for Europe from the East Coast. Along the way, she made a stop in Boulder, Colorado, to drop off luggage for some Ram Dass students she’d been living with in Berkeley. That became Adana’s first summer at Naropa Institute and her first encounter with the Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.
Adana went on to work in the finance office of Naropa Institute, and attended Vajradhatu seminary in 1975, where she met her future husband Jon Barbieri. They were married by the Vidyadhara in 1976 and settled in Boulder, Colorado.
From the mid-1970s on, the Vidyadhara put an enormous effort into creating a culture which brought life and richness to the Kingdom of Shambhala and the Kalapa Court. This had many facets, such as the Kalapa Assemblies, creating the Upaya Council, talks on how to speak the English language, a sense of dignity and formality in celebrations, and the establishment of Ladies of the Court with Adana becoming Lady McKenna in 1978.
Throughout this time, she became a devoted and constant student of the Vidyadhara. She also worked for Shambhala Training, with Lady Lila Rich. The Vajra Regent Ösel Tendzin asked her to be part of his staff in what was then known as B Suite (A Suite was the office from where the Vidyadhara conducted business). Both were located in Karma Dzong in Boulder, Colorado. When the Vajra Regent asked the Vidyadhara what he thought about him hiring Adana, the Vidyadhara simply said, “She understands.”
In 1982, after seven incredible years in Boulder with the Vidyadhara, the Vajra Regent, so many presentations of Buddhism, and the unfolding of the Shambhala teachings, it felt time to go further out into the world. Adana and Jon moved to Boston. Jon was appointed the Ambassador to the Boston Dharmadhatu (the original name of local centers). Adana became quite involved within the Boston community, and in 1985 gave birth to their daughter, Alison Marie. For several years, she devoted her time to being a mother, and creating dharma activities and events for children.
In 1986, the family attended seminary at Rocky Mountain Dharma Center as staff, which was conducted by the Vidyadhara. Alison, at a year and a half, insisted on having her own tent. At that seminary, the Regent was there. At one point during a meeting, Adana gave a particular look. The Vajra Regent said, “The look that stops phenomena!” In 1989, after Jon’s term as Ambassador had ended, Adana left for the West Coast and became part of the community that moved to Ojai, California, to support the Vajra Regent.
The family attended seminary again in 1990 (which was held under the auspices of the Vajra Regent). These were very challenging times for the sangha during the upheaval concerning the Vajra Regent. The teachers and staff made a committed effort to create an environment that was focused on the dharma.
In 2000 the family decided to move back to Colorado. Their landing pad was to be part of the staff for the seminary at the Rocky Mountain Shambhala Center being led by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. This was quite a mix of mostly new and some older students. Coupled with the teachings presented by the Sakyong, it was a lively affair. After the seminary, the family moved to Fort Collins, where they lived for 15 years. During this time, Adana was very active as a teacher and meditation instructor. Her presence, sharpness, humor, inquisitiveness, and clarity were enjoyed and appreciated by many. During these years, Adana and Jon spent 4.5 years at Shambhala Mountain Center where Adana was an essential part of the care council for staff. In 2021—after many visits to the Santa Fe area over the previous 20 years—the Barbieris moved to Eldorado near the Santa Fe area in New Mexico.
Soon after arrival, after 15 years of remission from breast cancer, she was diagnosed with metastatic recurrence of her breast cancer. Over the next two plus years, she sought to have quality time with her family and with the strong dharma community that existed there. The cancer progressed rapidly in the spring of 2023, spreading from bone to the liver, and then the brain.
In the final weeks Adana focused strongly on family visits and on daily dharma practice with the local dharma community. She was a warrior of warriors as she shared this journey with many friends and always held her devotion and love for the Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and the Vajra Regent Ösel Tendzin.
We sing your praises sweetly.
Your soul sails on completely
You brought me back to life
Your warmth a welcome knife
We sing your praises sweetly
Your soul sails on completely
2023-09-07, Ashley H, Veracruz, Mexico.
I am so sorry hearing of the passing of Adana. I was struck by her presence holding the Shambhala Office at 1111 Pearl Street in 1980. I went in and asked what the giant calligraphy meant behind her. She said , "Confidence." I said I want that.. She and Jon have been an honor to know over the years. She and Jon both help me move before they in turn moved. I couldn't be more than appreciative of her. Condolences to Jon and Allison.
Seeing Adana always made me feel peaceful and relaxed.
Her smile was soothing.
One of my daughters, Geneviève, was the babysitter for Alison during Seminary 1986.
I wish Adana's smile will never die,
a rich, beautiful, devoted life of happiness and inspiration to all