The Shambhala community is organized as a mandala, a
circular framework that connects the teachers and
teachings with the community of practitioners. The
legendary kingdom of Shambhala is traditionally
painted as a mandala with the ruler at the centre, and
the households radiating from and around that centre.
The authority of such a mandala, combining sacred and
secular roles of teacher and leader, is known in
Tibetan as the tridzin, or "throne holder". In the
Shambhala tradition, this has been a family heritage,
passed from one generation to the next.
The Throne Holder
The first throne holder of the contemporary Shambhala
Mandala was Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, who served as the first
Sakyong (meaning "earth protector"). The current
throne holder is his son and spiritual heir, Sakyong
The Vajra Regent
In 1976 Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche empowered Thomas F. Rich, one of his American students, as his Vajra Regent, Ösel Tendzin. He served as head of the organizations founded by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche from 1987 until his death in 1990. His teachings are preserved both in the Shambhala Archives as well as by Satdharma, the organization established to propagate the teachings the Vajra Regent received from Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, and in the Vajra Regent Library & Archives. For a biography of the Vajra Regent and information on his collected teachings, please visit: www.vrot.org.
Calligraphies by the Vajra Regent
Acharya is a Sanskrit word that means "teacher." It refers to individuals that Sakyong
Mipham Rinpoche has empowered to represent him and the Kagyu, Nyingma, and Shambhala lineages he holds.
Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche chose these individuals because of their knowledge, wisdom, and commitment to
the confluence of teachings found in Shambhala.
Acharyas travel to Shambhala Meditation Centers to lead
dharma programs and perform Refuge and Bodhisattva Vow ceremonies for those who would like to commit themselves to the Buddhist
path. Some have selected certain teachings to be their main focus (such a Maitri, Death & Dying,
Current Combined Acharya Schedules
Acharya Protocol is being updated. Please check back later for this document.
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Write to Lin Waters to get additional information on the acharyas and their schedules.
In 2010, the Sakyong empowered a group of about 60 teachers in the Shambhala mandala to the new role of shastri. In Sanskrit, shastri literally means "teacher learned in the texts and commentaries". The shastris have been selected from our dedicated senior teachers, as well as from newer, youger teachers and will serve a term of three years. Additional shastris will be appointed in future years, as the needs of our local and regional centres become more clarified.
The shastris role is to bring the current understanding of the Shambhala Buddhist vision and teachings to their centres, to be a reference point for questions about the path, and in particular to help establish The Way of Shambhala curriculum as the core path. A major role of the shastri is to personally mentor and strengthen the local teaching mandala.
Shastris will also support the leadership in Shambhala centres in building comunity and strengthening the vision of enlightened society.
View a list of the first group of shastris.
Teachers and Teacher Training
Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, the founder of the Shambhala Mandala, had the profound
conviction that the teachings he held could be transmitted to students in
other cultures and that they, in turn, could be empowered to teach and lead
others. Thus, within the Shambhala Mandala, there is a strong emphasis on
cultivating different levels of teachers and leaders.
There are programs to
train Shambhala Guides. Meditation Instructors, Buddhist teachers and Directors and
Assistant Directors of Shambhala Training.
In addition to the acharyas
listed above, there are hundreds of meditation instructors and teachers worldwide,
working with students at local centres and leading weekly classes and major programs. The teachers leading
programs are normally featured in conjunction with the specific programs
they are teaching, which can be found on Find a Program.