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Vajradhatu Crest


The Vajradhatu Seminary was initiated in 1973 by the Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche as a means for entering his students into the study and practices of vajrayana as well as to train them deeply and thoroughly in the buddhadharma. He took great delight in the fact that this could be initiated for his students in the West and felt it to be one of his greatest achievements.

While the essential components and view of the Seminary remain unchanged, the format is being re-designed. The Sakyong and Acharyas feel that this is a crucial next step in developing a more flexible system for training students in the path of buddhadharma. It will make it possible for more people to participate because the financial and time commitments can be spread over several years. Most importantly, it will allow people to process these teachings on a deep level over time. In the summer of 2001, in a step to implement this approach, we will initiate a two part Seminary track as described below.

The Sutrayana Seminary

The Vajrayana Seminary

Schedule and Application Procedure



The Sutrayana Seminary (hinayana/mahayana) is a one-month program that will be led by an Acharya and other senior teachers. Students will study and practice the hinayana and mahayana within a Shambhala Buddhist container. There will be classes, discussion groups, oryoki meals, and personal meditation instruction.


Students who have completed a dathün and an intermediate level of buddhist study in the Shambhala Centers can apply for the program. This will be defined as completion of foundation-level courses. In centers where the new curriculum is being introduced, students are encouraged to take whatever courses are being offered. All students should study the 1999 Sutrayana Seminary transcripts (study guides can be found in the study manual, in the members section of this web site) and prepare for the Gateway exam, given at the beginning of Sutrayana Seminary (this exam is also in the study manual). As always, we can be flexible about these pre-requisites, particularly for those that live in remote areas or are with smaller centers.



This program is the gateway for entering the Kagyü/Nyingma lineage stream of vajrayana buddhist practice and study as transmitted through the Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and his lineage heir, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. This program requires a deep and personal commitment to Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and the Shambhala buddhist mandala.

It will be a four-week program consisting of teachings by Mipham Rinpoche and other senior Shambhala teachers. Following the vajrayana transmission students will begin the special preliminary practices of ngondro under Rinpoche's personal guidance.


Students must complete a Sutrayana Seminary program and the pre-Vajrayana Seminary course, Entering the Vajra World. It is highly recommended that students complete Shambhala Training through Golden Key. A seven to ten day shamatha retreat is also highly recommended.


Sutrayana Seminary

There are Sutrayana Seminaries scheduled at RMSC, Dechen Chöling and Karmê Chöling and Dorje Denma Ling over the next year. Applications for Sutrayana Seminary  will be available through the host Practice Center. 

Vajrayana Seminary

The next Vajrayana Seminary is scheduled for the summer of 2003 at Dechen Choling in France.. Applications for any Vajrayana Seminary will be available through the Vajradhatu Office of Practice & Study.


There will be a scholarship fund available for students who need financial assistance. If you feel that you cannot afford a program please do not hesitate to request assistance. Shambhala is committed to making every effort to giving everyone the opportunity to attend these programs. If you are in a position to donate to a scholarship endowment fund, that would be extremely welcome.

General Information

For general information about these programs you can contact the Office of Practice and Study at Shambhala International, vajradhatu-p&s@shambhala.org, or write to 1084 Tower Rd., Halifax, NS, B3H2Y5, 902 425 4275.