The path begins and continues with meditation. Students are introduced to Buddhist and Shambhala teachings in the context of an ongoing meditation practice. Shambhala Meditation centres around the world offer a broad and carefully thought-out range of classes, meditation programs and community activities. At our residential practice and retreat centres, students can deepen their meditation through longer programs, and engage in periods of intensive study.
The path consists of a series of programs designed to stabilize and strengthen a student’s meditation practice, and to clarify their understanding of the teachings. Our courses offer entry into the classical teachings of the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages of Tibetan Buddhism, as well as the Shambhala wisdom presented by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. The new Way of Shambhala curriculum serves as a graduated path of instruction in the profound vision of the lineage.
In order to provide an environment in which Buddhism can flourish in the West, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche presented the spiritual journey in the cultural context of Shambhala–a personal and social vision of awakening that is accessible to everyone, all the time, even in the midst of busy daily life. The name and outlook for his approach comes from the legendary kingdom of Shambhala. This land has for centuries been seen throughout central Asia as a source of individual and cultural virtue: a place in which inhabitants led meditative lives of bravery, gentleness and intelligence, where they acted with responsibility and delight in caring for one another.
The Way of Shambhala
The Way of Shambhala is a complete introduction to the foundations of Shambhala Buddhism. This series of weekend contemplative workshops and weeknight classes (Everyday Life series and Basic Goodness series) provides an experiential overview of meditation practice, wisdom teachings, contemplative arts, and physical disciplines rooted in the ancient traditions of Shambhala and Tibetan Buddhism. This program is open to everyone and also prepares students who wish to further develop their practice and study at Sutrayana Seminary and Warrior Assembly.
Shambhala Training: Heart of Warriorship
The Shambhala Training Heart of Warriorship program (Levels I-V) introduces teachings on “warriorship” that cultivate genuineness, confidence, humor, and dignity in daily life.
This sequential program is also part of a the integrated core path program, The Way of Shambhala. Shambhala Training Levels I-V, or The Heart of Warriorship, may also be practiced as a series of independent workshops.
This course of study, as a component of The Way of Shambala curriculum, prepares students who wish to develop their practice and study further for Sutrayana Seminary and the Shambhala Sacred Path program.
The Sacred Path program, now a core component of the Way of Shambhala curriculum, introduces further practices to develop warriorship and extend the student’s training in meditation. These practices are based on a societal vision and aspiration to help the world.
Contemplative Arts and Practice
Inspired by Nalanda, an eleventh-century Indian university that welcomed teachings and disciplines from many different traditions, a number of arts, disciplines and activities have developed within Shambhala. The arts and other contemplative disciplines, including flower arranging, photography, tea ceremony, and kyudo, are a vehicle for integrating mindfulness and awareness into everyday life. Each represents a genuine contemplative path that further enriches our day-to-day experience.
Dathun (Tibetan for “month session”) is a one-month group meditation retreat led by a senior teacher. It is a powerful introduction and deepening of mindfulness-awareness meditation, open to anyone. The programme includes sitting and walking meditation, talks, study, and a short work period. Silence and functional talking are observed and meals are served in the shrine room oryoki-style. Oryoki is a practice of mindful eating borrowed from the Zen tradition. After attending a dathun, students may choose to do a solitary retreat, and a number of Shambhala practice centres have facilities for individual retreats. Dathun is a prerequisite for attending Enlightened Society Assembly.
The refuge vow marks the decision to commit oneself wholeheartedly to the Buddhist path and to further one’s practice and training. It is the formal commitment to being a Buddhist, following the example of the Buddha Shakyamuni, his teachings (the dharma) and joining the community (sangha) of fellow practitioners.
Read a talk by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche on taking refuge
Read a talk by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche on taking refuge
Enlightened Society Assembly (previously Sutrayana Seminary)
This is a mahayana program that emphasizes the view of the intrinsic goodness of all beings, practices that rouse bodhicitta and compassionate openness, and confident activity that engages fully in the world. In particular, this assembly will focus on how we create enlightened society on the spot, at home, in our city and nation, and wherever we go.
This assembly will integrate study, practice, and community. During this assembly led by Shambhala acharyas, students live in a Shambhala environment, alternating periods of intensive meditation practice with classes in Shambhala Buddhist view and practice. Regular individual meditation instruction is offered.
This retreat follows Enlightened Society Assembly and provides a living teaching in creating enlightened society. This training cultivates one’s dignity and natural gifts in order to widen one’s sphere of compassionate and practical influence.
Participants receive transmission and training in advanced Shambhala practices along with a text and commentary written by Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche.
Practice of Authentic Presence
At the heart of the course is the transmission of the sadhana The Windhorse of Authentic Presence: Arousing the Confidence of Warrior-King Gesar by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche.
The bodhisattva vow is further commitment to put others before oneself and to work wholeheartedly for their benefit. The basis of this vow is the aspiration to develop friendliness, compassion, and genuine insight through the practice of the six paramitas and to undertake the view and practice of the mahayana.
Sacred World Assembly (previously Vajrayana Seminary)
The Sacred World Assembly is the gateway for entering the Shambhala lineage of vajrayana Buddhist practice and study. This practice and study program builds on the understanding and meditation practice developed in dathun and Enlightened Society Assembly and requires a deep personal commitment to the path and to meditation practice.
At the Sacred World Assembly students will receive the traditional vajrayana transmission and begin their Shambhala ngöndro – the preliminary practices for receiving the Rigden Abhisheka. The Sacred World Assembly is a complete entrance into the sacred outlook of Shambhala. Vajrayana practice and study programs are held at both urban and residential Shambhala meditation centres to support a student’s practice with teachings, group practice and guidance from acharyas and the Sakyong.