It is the Shambhala view that every human being has a fundamental nature of goodness, warmth and intelligence. This nature can be cultivated through meditation, following ancient principles, and it can be further developed in daily life, so that it radiates out to family, friends, community and society.
In the course of our lives, this goodness, warmth and intelligence can easily become covered over by doubt, fear and egotism. We tend to fall into a kind of sleep or stupor, believing in the conditioning we have as the ultimate truth, and coming under the sway of fear. The journey of becoming fully human means seeing through fear and egotism, and waking up to our natural intelligence. It takes kindness—to ourselves and others—and courage, to wake up in this world.
The journey of awakening is known as the path of the warrior, as it requires the simple bravery to look directly at one’s own mind and heart. The essential tool for doing this is mindfulness meditation. As we continue on the Shambhala path, we learn many other practices, to help us break through the ancient crust of ego and awaken to the joy of fully living in this world. Awakening and opening, we discover the world to be naturally sacred—pure and full of beauty. We begin to see clearly the goodness and wisdom of others, and to feel compassion to help them in myriad ways.
Shambhala vision is rooted in the contemplative teachings of Buddhism, yet is a fresh expression of the spiritual journey for our time; it is available to practitioners of any tradition. Our lineage draws on the wisdom of the Kagyu and Nyingma schools of Tibetan Buddhism as inherited by founder of Shambhala, Chögyam Trungpa, and his son and spiritual heir, Sakyong Mipham. In the mid-1970s Chögyam Trungpa began to introduce teachings on Shambhala vision, based on his encounter with the Western world, and on the specific wisdom imparted from the Buddha to King Dawa Sangpo, the first sovereign of the legendary kingdom of Shambhala. This tradition teaches how to live in the secular world with courage and compassion.
Buddhism offers methods to clarify our mind, open our heart, and face the realities of human life, while the Shambhala teachings offer practices for rousing our life force and connecting with the natural power and energy of the phenomenal world. The combination of these wisdom traditions offers a contemporary, effective spiritual path. Following it, we can reclaim our natural birthright of wisdom and compassion, and work with others to bring about the best in human society.
Shambhala is a global community. There are more than 170 centres and groups around the world, as well as thousands of individual members. Shambhala Meditation Centres offer courses in meditation and other contemplative arts and disciplines, and also host community gatherings, celebrations, and family events. In community life, we endeavor to put into practice the principles of courage and compassion. This helps us to experience daily life as a constant opportunity for spiritual practice and social service.
At Shambhala Meditation Centres, we offer a comprehensive path of meditation practice and study. This path leads to the cultivation of personal qualities beneficial in daily life and in service to others. Our programs include in-depth study of the Buddhism, Shambhala Training, as well as a variety of contemplative arts and disciplines. Shambhala Meditation Centres also regularly host visiting teachers from the Kagyu and Nyingma schools of Tibetan Buddhism and from other Buddhist and contemplative traditions. Shambhala has rural practice centres in Colorado, Vermont, upstate New York, Nova Scotia, and France where we offer week and month-long retreats and intensives for students at all levels, as well as weekend programs.
In Shambhala, we strive to foster a welcoming atmosphere free of prejudice and to develop an inclusive and enlightened society with facilities fully accessible to all persons. Although some of our programs and events are open only to those who have fulfilled certain prerequisites, everyone is welcome at our centre regardless of religion, spiritual tradition or teachers, path of practice, opinions, class, nationality, culture, ethnicity, race, language, age, gender, sexual orientation, or physical, perceptual or mental abilities. Our Meditation Centres and Groups around the world are committed to creating a practice, study, and work environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity.