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Shambhala Congress


February 18, 2007

The Year of the Fire Pig

SHAMBHALA DAY marks the beginning of the New Year, and represents one of the most important traditions of Shambhala Buddhism. Based on the traditional Tibetan new year's celebration of Losar, the day is calculated astrologically according to the Tibetan lunar calendar, and changes every year to coincide with the annual lunar cycles. This year Shambhala Day falls on Sunday, February 18, 2007.

Shambhala Day is a time for us to express the wealth and richness of our spiritual and cultural heritage through feasting, conviviality, elegance and pomp. Accordingly, Centers are encouraged to plan activities throughout the week following the New Year's Day. As is customary, the Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche will address the worldwide Shambhala Community through a phone hook-up which will include centers and groups from 5 continents and over 25 countries around the world.

This is also the time when members of the Shambhala community are encouraged to make a financial donation to Shambhala International in order to help support the activities of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and our worldwide mandala. We ask that fundraising for Shambhala International be given a spotlight at all centers and groups.

Details regarding many of our Shambhala Day traditions are listed below. We will be adding to this site and on centertalk as more information become available.


Worldwide Shambhala Day Address

Every year the Sakyong addresses our international community through a telephone hook-up. The broadcast will originate from from Halifax, Nova Scotia at 12 pm Atlantic Standard Time. Each center will need to adjust their morning or evening schedule according to their respective time zone. (Please see Phone Hook-up and Registration below for further details.)

An operator will call every group and center, and commence with a roll call that acknowledges our centers around the world. This includes Shambhalians from five continents and over 23 countries.

Order of Events:

  • Community gathers one half hour before the broadcast to practice the Elixir of Life Sadhana
  • Phone link commences with the worldwide roll-call at 12 pm (Halifax time)
  • Opening greeting
  • President Mr. Richard Reoch will address the community
  • Chanting of the Supplication to the Shambhala Lineage, Seven-Line Supplication to Padmasambhava, The Supplication to the Takpo Kagyü (recited slowly,) the Shambhala Homage, and the Four-Line Lhasang chant
  • Address by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche
  • Broadcast ends
  • Shambhala Dedication of Merit

Buddha Fields at DDL
photo from Dorje Denma Ling, by Lyle Larson

Community Blessing Ceremony

  • Shambhala Meditation Centers should construct a simple throne with a back, the seat about 30 inches high, covered with gold or yellow satin. A brocade skirt around the throne is optional. Place the throne on the left side of the shrine where the guru chair normally sits; move the guru chair and side table further to the left. Place a framed photograph of the Vidyadhara, draped with a khata, on the throne. Shambhala Meditation Groups may use the guru chair, perhaps draped with brocade, instead of a throne.
  • Set up a lhasang at the shrine-hall door, just inside or outside, so that everyone who enters passes through its smoke. For this you will need: an incense burner filled with sand, charcoal, and powdered juniper. Ask one person to continue adding juniper to the lhasang while people are entering.
  • Place a nice tray, draped with a khata, on a table next to the throne, for people to offer their donations.
  • The Director or Coordinator bows to the throne/chair. He or she will then place a ceremonial scarf over the seat of throne or chair, in front of a photograph of the Vidyadhara and the Sakyong, and touch his or her forehead to the seat of the throne. Others line up, bow and touch their heads on the throne. The Four Dharmas of Gampopa is recited throughout the blessing.
  • Note: Others do not present a scarf. In Shambhala Meditation Groups, the coordinator and others may simply bow to the photograph of the Sakyong.

Elixir of Life Sadhana

The Sakyong has requested that beginning with the upcoming Shambhala Day, everyone throughout the sangha practice the Elixir of Life (Birthday Sadhana) together as part of the annual ritual. People are encouraged to gather approximately one half hour before the broadcast begins to practice the sadhana together.

Rinpoche suggested that we could do the purification section with a once-around of the vase. There will need to be one substitution to the text: instead of saying "Cheerful Birthday," we'll say, "Cheerful Shambhala Day."

Copies of the sadhana will be made available to center directors for shrineroom distribution. Members are encouraged to bring a copy of their sadhana to this event, or purchase a copy through the Shambhala Office of Media and Communications. Centers and groups who wish to sell the Sadhana to their members will be offered a 20% discount. Write to shop@shambhala.org to place an order.

Center Directors click here to download the document.

Sunrise Ceremony

The Vidyadhara began the tradition of celebrating Shambhala Day with a sunrise ceremony that includes traditional morning chants, the Sadhana of Mahamudra, and various Shambhala practices such as stroke practice and the Werma Sadhana. A continental breakfast can be offered sometime during this occasion. This ceremony could include the Sakyong's address, depending on the center's time zone. The broadcast will originate this year in Halifax, Nova Scotia, beginning at 12:00 noon Atlantic Time.


Sadhana Of Mahamudra

Shambhala Day always falls on the day following the new moon-- it is customary to practice the Sadhana of Mahamudra at this time.


End of Year Ritual--Mamo Chants (February 7-16, 2007)

Shambhala Day marks the end of one year's cycle and the beginning of a new one. To dispel the karmic accumulation of personal, social, and environmental chaos at the year's end, all students are encouraged to practice as much as possible in the period just before Shambhala Day. In particular, students are encouraged to recite the mamo chants together beginning eleven days before Shambhala Day (February 7-16, 2007). The mamo chant is an elaborate protector offering traditionally recited from the twentieth through the twenty-ninth days of the last lunar month of the Tibetan year. By reciting the chant, we tune into the protector principle of awareness and reconnect with sacred outlook. The day before Shambhala Day is considered neutral and is a traditional time to clean and refresh one's home and shrines in preparation for the coming year.

Read "Protector Principle" by Dorje Loppön Lodrö Dorje to find out more.

Banquets and Feasts

Centers are encouraged to plan banquets, elaborate feasts, dances, and other community and family celebrations. It is customary to extend activities throughout the week or two following Shambhala Day.


Fundraising Campaign

To help the Development Office at Shambhala International coordinate the annual fund, we ask Shambhala Center Directors and Shambhala Meditation Group Coordinators to let us know the name of someone in your community-it need not be the Director-who will be responsible for coordinating the raising, collecting, collating and sending back of Shambhala Day gifts from your community. This person could act as both the Shambhala Day representative and contact for the Shambhala Development Office.

We will be sending several emails as well as a packet of pledge cards with detailed instructions. If you haven't already done so, please let us know as soon as possible who your Shambhala Day representative will be. Please email Varina Sammurtok at the Shambhala International Development Office at:

To those of you who are not members of a center or group, we encourage you to make a financial contribution to Shambhala International on Shambhala Day. Your contribution will help support the activities of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, help develop and support international programs, and fuel development of our web-based resources and services.

Here's how you can send a donation:
* Send a check to Shambhala International at:

    Shambhala International Development Office
    1084 Tower Road
    Halifax, NS B3H 2Y5

* Become a monthly donor to Shambhala International by mailing a voided check or credit card information with instructions on how much you would like us to debit from your account each month.

* Send an email to donations@shambhala.org for one time donations and/or other methods of payment.


Practice Books and Phone Hook-up - How to Register

Shambhala Day is on February  18th.  To ensure arrival of Practice Books before Shambhala Day,  centers need to place their order by Friday, January 12th, 2007. The  practice book will be same style as last year. The size is 7" x 6 3/4" with  a month-at-a-glance format.  Please note: prices listed below include  Air Mail shipping. (10% discount for orders of 150+ copies, 20% orders on  300+copies)

This  is also your opportunity to register for the Shambhala Day  phone  hook-up.  We will send hook-up instructions by email to the contact  person you provide a few weeks in advance of the event.  (If you need  help or have had problems with a hook-up in the past, please contact Gordon  Kidd @ (902) 420 1118 ext 21).

The phone hook up fee:
US Centers:    $50 US
CDN and International Centers: $50 CDN

US  Meditation/Study Groups: $35 US
CDN and International Meditation/Study  Groups: $35 CDN

Shambhala Day is  the traditional occasion to welcome new members and present them with their  membership pin.

The Year in Review DVD
A look back  at the Year of the Fire Dog, with footage from throughout the mandala.  

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