Shambhala Training is a series of contemplative workshops, suited for both beginning and experienced meditators. The simple and profound technique of mindfulness and awareness is the basis of a secular path of meditation, which can benefit people of any spiritual tradition and way of life. Shambhala Training is the study and practice of Shambhala warriorship—the tradition of human bravery and leadership. This path shows how to take the challenges of daily life in our modern society as opportunities for both contemplative practice and social action.
The Shambhala Training is inspired by the ancient legend of the Kingdom of Shambhala, said to be a society which drew its gentle and fearless sense of social responsibility from the practice of meditation. The legend of the Kingdom of Shambhala has been a guiding vision for many centuries in Asian culture and has parallels in Western traditions. All aspects of our daily life and society—family, commerce, education, the arts—can be permeated with a sense of sacredness.
This sequential program is part of an integrated curriculum called the Way of Shambhala, that offers an experiential overview of meditation practices, wisdom teachings, and contemplative arts rooted in the ancient traditions of Shambhala and Tibetan vajrayana Buddhism.
This program of workshops and courses is taught by experienced Shambhala teachers. The unfolding stages of the Way of Shambhala curriculum represent the natural progression of awakening in our lives.
The Shambhala Heart of Warriorship (Levels I-V) can be practiced as an independent series of workshops.
The Heart of Warriorship
Shambhala Training is organized into five weekend workshops that include meditation training and practice, talks by senior instructors, personal interviews and group discussions. Levels I-V provide a strong foundation in mindfulness-awareness meditation practice, emphasizing the development of genuineness, confidence, humor, and dignity within the complexity of daily life. The workshops are recommended for new and experienced meditators, as well as for those looking to enrich their existing spiritual path.
Level I: The Art of Being Human
Through the practice of meditation, we glimpse unconditional goodness as the ground of our existence. Opening to ourselves with gentleness and appreciation, we begin to see our potential as genuine and compassionate human beings.
Level II: Birth of the Warrior
Having experienced a taste of basic goodness, we want to go forward. Meditation practice allows us to observe how we create a cocoon of habits to mask our fear. We begin to appreciate that there is no fundamental obstacle to experiencing basic goodness.
Level III: Warrior in the World
Developing fearlessness by examining our habitual tendencies, we are willing to experience our life without relying on the cocoon. We begin to engage the world directly and extend the attitude of fearlessness to our activities.
Level IV: Awakened Heart
With trust in basic goodness and daring to experience the sharp edge of reality, we move forward with gentleness, increased awareness, and inquisitiveness about the world, as it is. We can extend ourselves to others fully and with kindness.
Level V: Open Sky
Communicating with the world gently and fearlessly, our awareness is sharpened and we find the open clear sky of mind—a delightful source of wisdom and uplifted energy. We trust our nature enough to let go into the present moment.
The Sacred Path
The Sacred Path program, part of the Way of Shambhala II, introduces further practices of warriorship, that extend the basic meditation training. These practices are based on a societal vision and aspiration to help the world.
This level of training cultivates one's dignity and natural gifts that are able to widen one's sphere of compassionate and practical influence.
During a series of visionary experiences that took place between 1976 and 1980, Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche wrote down what became known as the Shambhala terma, a series of texts. The Sacred Path of the Warrior is based on these texts and on the extensive commentaries Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche gave on these teachings and on how to practice them in modern times.
This program is open to students who have completed the Way of Shambhala I program.
Great Eastern Sun
This weekend program teaches how to see the Great Eastern Sun, the primordial energy and brilliance that is the basis of all that exists; an introduction to membership in Shambhala—a living context for building a sane society.
One studies the text that gives the instruction for “raising windhorse,” which opens the heart and refreshes one's confidence. The practice is a way to bring about skillful and heartfelt social engagement, enabling the warrior to go forward in the midst of whatever challenges occur.
Through exploring the depth of perception, one engages the elemental and magical strength inherent in the world. The principle of drala refers to the sacred energy and power that exists when we step beyond aggression.
“The four dignities” are introduced as a path and a process, which describe a warrior's maturing and widening sphere of benevolent engagement in the world. The training in the dignities allows one to maintain awareness and delight at each stage. Meek is a study of the grounded, humble and gentle beginning stages of a warrior's journey. Here one trains to overcome arrogance—the primary obstacle to learning.
As the second of the four dignities, this level focuses on cultivating sharp, vibrant and uplifted energy through natural discipline. Overcoming the trap of doubt, the warrior of perky is able to accomplish his or her activities with a sense of nobility and ease.
Outrageous and Inscrutable
These fruitional dignities refer to the extraordinary skill of a practiced warrior. No longer afraid of making mistakes, the unconventional and visionary perspective of the outrageous warrior combines with the skill of spontaneous inscrutability to create benefit for others on a large scale.
This program is based on a Shambhala text that works with our relationship to the “material world” and our sense perceptions. It teaches the practice of enriching presence—the ability to instantly sense the inner wealth within oneself, phenomena, and the natural world.
The Warrior Assembly, the jewel of Shambhala Training and the culmination of the Sacred Path program, is a living teaching in creating enlightened society. Participants receive the transmission of advanced Shambhala warriorship practices and study the root text and commentary, The Golden Sun of the Great East. This text describes the principles and practice of Ashe, a simple and powerful practice that enables one to transform confusion and hesitation into wisdom and authenticity.
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.