Shambhala Guide Resource Manual: A Resource for Directors, S

The impulse to believe the absurd when presented with the unknowable is called religion. Whether this is wise or unwise is the domain of doctrine. Once you understand someone's doctrine, you understand their rationale for believing the absurd. At that point, it may no longer seem absurd. You can get to both sides of this conondrum from here.

Re: Shambhala Guide Resource Manual: A Resource for Director

Postby admin » Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:34 am

Detailed Experiential Overview of the Shambhala Path

1. Basic Meditation: Rediscovering Basic Goodness

The path begins with basic sitting meditation as a way to cultivate our awareness, synchronize mind and body, and discover more about who and what we already are. Our original nature, or “basic goodness,” is not just an idea; it is an experience that we can rediscover through practical training. The Shambhala approach to meditation is simple and profound. Our approach is to relax with what is, rather than begin by struggling to correct, fix, and improve our selves. We emphasize a gentle but precise relationship with meditation in which we cultivate friendship with our emotional, physical, and perceptual experience in the present. We learn to simply feel and be, as we are. Such training develops friendliness towards our selves, even in the midst of anxiety, stress, and suffering. Meditation can open up a genuine space in which the frightened and speedy mind can relax into freshness and simplicity. Bodily tightening and mental contraction can unwind and release through daily practice. This allows our sense perceptions to be more attuned and receptive. Human consciousness is naturally clear, and a more basic awareness emerges when it is allowed to.


The obstacles to this experience are the habitual mind of distraction, speed, anxiety, reactivity, and self-aggression—a constant and ongoing inner-dialogue of criticism and judgment. This makes true relaxation difficult and keeps us from feeling our present experience. We close down. Body and mind are not synchronized and we recreate our own patterns of suffering, always looking somewhere else for satisfaction. We miss our life. Therefore, during the stage of basic meditation we learn to acknowledge and work with this level of struggle. We become curious about the causes of suffering in our experience and learn to uproot them. We look directly at our own mind, our habits and fears, and invite care, mindfulness, and curiosity into our life. We train in feeling whatever arises with gentleness and nonconceptual immediacy.

Gentleness and Friendliness

The heart of this foundational stage of practice is discovering friendliness towards our own being. This is known as “placing the mind of fear in the cradle of loving kindness.” We do not have to be afraid of who we are; we do not have to live with a sense of guilt or self-loathing; and we do not have to deceive our selves or others. When many of us first hear this teaching, we may think that friendliness sounds rather simplistic or childish. However, though we may seek out the path of meditation in order to discover peace, if we approach our meditation practice by harshly judging and pushing ourselves, we may simply reproduce our own aggressive habits and the result of our practice may be more frustration. This is why the atmosphere of gentleness is so significant and practical. Therefore, the Shambhala path begins by discovering an attitude of human-hearted care. If the way we practice is gentle, the result of our practice will be peaceful. The first phase of training is learning this way of practicing. We immerse ourselves in the atmosphere of basic goodness as we sit in silence and stillness with our mind, sense perceptions, and heart soft and open. We feel our body and emotions just as they are, in their raw and direct reality. The mind of habit and fear—the ego—can melt in this pervasive space of feeling infused with care. Or, we could say that the ego mind of fear may surrender in this gentle, wakeful atmosphere. Through this simple and human training, we learn to feel and just be. We can touch the underlying openness that we call basic goodness, our original nature.

The Foundation for a Mindful Life

This discovery can be the basis of an appreciative, confident, and content human life. We train in the art of being human by mindfully engaging in every activity of our day—from the dishes to each footstep to not causing harm with our speech. Mindfulness, peace, and emotional health can already emerge in this first phase of the path. We can take this into our lives, relationships, work, art, and service to the world. When we are more friendly to ourselves, we tend to be less judgmental, more supportive, and kind to others. As we rest with the simplicity of our innate awareness, we discover that we have everything that we need—nothing is missing. Rather than constantly searching for contentment somewhere else, we rest mindfully in nowness. Appreciating our precious lives on this good earth is possible and natural.

The Foundation for the Spiritual Journey

The discovery of basic goodness can also be the ground for the complete spiritual journey. In this foundational stage, we learn how to walk the path. The very way that we meditate and explore our lives can be open, curious, and gentle so that the experience of the path itself expresses basic goodness. Through reconnecting with our natural awareness we help to create a stable and sustainable foundation to go deeper. Without a sense of friendship with our own being, it is very difficult to move forward on the path. When we are at war with our selves, it is hard to be curious about our own mind, curious about others or about reality itself, or curious about how to create enlightened society. We need to learn to be truly curious and receptive, to reawaken a sense of humility and wonder. Therefore, practicing basic meditation is like creating the most potent “vehicle” to go forward. Genuine confidence arises from friendship with our mind, and trust in our ability to skillfully work with whatever arises in our life. Our mind is no longer stolen by ordinary everyday activities nor bloated with arrogance, guilt, or self-aggression. With this good, mindful ground, we can allow a further unfolding of our own path.

Specific Courses of Training

In the Shambhala path of practice and education, Buddhist psychological and philosophical teachings, dialogues, the arts, and contemplations help to support the simplicity of consistent sitting meditation. All Shambhala centers offer weekly introductions to basic meditation as well as the core teachings of basic goodness, gentleness, and natural awareness in our introductory programs. In particular, the themes mentioned above are explored in detail in the following courses and retreats:


• Meditation in Everyday Life
• Contentment in Everyday Life
• Who Am I? The Basic Goodness of Being Human


• Learn to Meditate days
• Weekend Retreats: Shambhala Training Levels 1, 2
• Deeper Retreats: Simplicity Week (weekthun) or Month long retreat (Dathun)


• The Shambhala Vow offered at Unconditional Confidence: The Rigden weekend retreat
• For those who choose to make a connection with Buddhism, the Refuge Vow may be requested.

This foundational stage of the path can be strengthened by attending weekly meditation sessions and talks at your local Shambhala center, through online courses available through, and through introductory classes and weekend retreats at the Shambhala center. In particular, the beginning classes of the Everyday Life series: “Meditation in Everyday Life” and “Contentment in Everyday Life” are specifically focused on the themes of this first phase of the path. Shambhala Training Level 1 is also the ideal weekend retreat at this stage. Deeper retreats, such as a week-long meditation retreat called a “simplicity retreat” or “weekthün” may be offered in both city centers and land centers. A full month of meditation, called a Dathün (month-sit), is offered seasonally at our land centers around the world. These longer practice retreats are a way to immerse your self in meditation.

Main Practice: Basic meditation, Shambhala Meditation

2 Opening the Heart: Rediscovering tender-joy

Through the first phase of the path we cultivate mindfulness, friendliness, peace, and simplicity and we will continue to train in these qualities throughout the journey. Each stage is cumulative—the experiences build upon each other and are brought along with us into the next step. We never really “finish” with one of the stages. However, the complexities of our human lives require more than just the mindful calm and contentment of basic meditation. We also will need a spark of uplifted energy, open heartedness, and joy. The second stage on the Shambhala path taps into the vital, strong, and healthy energy of our human heart. Through basic meditation training we might begin to discover how much we have covered over our own heart. So we now train in opening further than we had thought was possible as we gradually step beyond the barriers of our habits and fears. We uncover our own heart, and to our surprise, we may find that the tenderness brings delight and makes us more receptive to others and our world.

Personal Energy

In the speed of our life, when there are constant demands on our energy, each day can feel too short. We can feel like we barely have enough energy to get through the day. How could we possibly have enough energy to go forward on the path of meditation? We need a pure, strong, and sustainable energy supply for the journey. In the second stage of training, we discover for ourselves the human experience of virtuous energy that is taught in many cultures and traditions. Now, in addition to the peace of mindfulness, we uncover a wind of delight that infuses our path with sustainable energy.

Joy of Discipline

One way to understand the second stage of training is to explore our growing relationship with discipline. In the first phase of the path we may run into an interesting contradiction: on the one hand we are invited to be gentle and friendly towards our selves, but on the other hand, we are asked to sit and meditate regularly and to train with some exertion. How can we do both at the same time? What does being gentle to ourselves mean if we don’t want to meditate but feel like we are supposed to? How can we walk a path of training without the path feeling heavy, guilt-ridden, and stressful? This paradox reveals the need to discover a joyous relationship with personal discipline. Discipline can be unwavering, delightful, and invigorating rather than based upon aggression, comparison, or harsh striving. This is a focus for the second phase on the path.

Uncovering the Heart

As we uncover the heart, we will likely feel more than just joy, however. We also encounter the full range of emotions from anxiety, to anger, to sadness. On this second stage we learn to work with our heart so that we can stay open, rather than close down to our life and the challenges we face on our planet. The primary challenge here is doubt in selves. We sometimes doubt whether we can open in this way or whether that is even such a wise idea. This kind of doubt can be a trap and we may find ourselves returning to old habits. In the phase of opening the heart, we explore and transform doubt so that it does not trap us. This releases more energy and our path can unfold with less obstructions.

Conventionally, opening further to our world and opening our heart to other people may seem threatening or foolish. However, from the perspective of Shambhala warriorship, being willing to be touched by our world can lead to freshness. Rather than the claustrophobia of having to maintain our habits, we can let go and cheer up. We can open our eyes and our hearts and connect with others. Although we will encounter difficult people, frightening global circumstances, and painful emotions, it is possible to let these challenges soften our heart, instead of harden our heart. In the Shambhala teachings, joy means living with an open, tender heart and open perceptions. In the second stage we train the body, mind and senses to be synchronized and completely open.

With the gentleness and acceptance of ourselves that we cultivate in the first stage of basic meditation training, we begin to let our genuine heart emerge. When we do, we find that beneath many layers, our heart is tender and full. This awake heart is called bodhichitta in the Buddhist tradition. It is a soft, open heart. It is the genuine heart of sadness. It is our innate capacity for love and empathy, our ability to feel and share the pain of another person, community, animal, or ecosystem.

This phase of the journey is divided into two traditional categories of awakened heart: The first is called “aspiring” in which we work with powerful practices to help open the heart, such as generating loving-kindness and compassion, and “sending and taking” (tonglen) practice. The second is called “entering” in which we go beyond aspiring and begin to work with real action in the world, especially the “6 transcendent actions:” generosity, discipline, patience, exertion, meditation, and knowledge.

Creating Enlightened Society

The shift in the second stage of the path comes to fruition when we recognize our complete interconnection with our world. In this stage of training, we look especially at our relationships with others and with society. We shift from reflection on our “own” personal experience of basic goodness and begin to ask, “what does basic goodness mean for others and in social experience? What does it mean for our planet?” We explore the possibility of the basic goodness of society by extending the warmth of our hearts out to others and to our whole world.

This is very practical. Many of us assume that spirituality has to do with our own mind and our private meditation practice. Then, when we get up from our meditation seat and have to face other people we may feel that things get complicated. The Shambhala teachings are about making this transition between the personal and the relational. We train in integrating our social relationships with our spiritual path. The two are inseparable. Society is not just a big abstract thing: it refers to the way two people communicate, our households, our workplaces, local school boards, our towns, cities, economies, and the everyday choices that we make collectively. Shambhala vision recognizes that there is global human wisdom that can encourage a more awakened society.

This second stage culminates in a group retreat called Enlightened Society Assembly in which we train in a practice to expand the warmth and strength of our hearts called the Shambhala Sadhana. We have a chance to make a personal commitment to be of benefit. When we return home from Enlightened Society Assembly, we encourage community practice, especially of the Shambhala Sadhana. At this important step on the path, there is emphasis on practicing together with groups of friends, building a strong sense of connection. We build a community of kindness that cares for each other and work together to bring the experience of basic goodness into our households, towns, cities, and global culture. Many practitioners also begin to volunteer at their local Shambhala centers at this stage of the path, and view the Shambhala center as an experiment in creating a culture of kindness.

The softness and tenderness that comes when we uncover our heart is tremendously powerful and strong. There is a sense of having struck pure gold, or having witnessed the sunrise, something completely flawless and true. Awakened heart is so alive and pure that it is also the source of tremendous confidence. Mothers and fathers and compassionate leaders, such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., can find great strength and power through the awakened heart. Human beings can go beyond what is comfortable, or beyond what seems possible, because of the strength of the awakened heart. Through this tender but brave heart, we long to be of benefit to our world and this can become our motivation to go even further on the journey to unconditional warriorship.

Reaching this stage on the path is very full and rich. At this point, we have received enough teachings and practices to not only work with our own mind, but also to open to others. For many Shambhalians, the practices received at Enlightened Society Assembly will be sufficient for many years. Some may choose to rest with this experience, focus on family and work in the world, and helping to create enlightened society. This is a milestone on the journey.

Main Practice: Basic meditation, Shambhala Meditation, generating lovingkindness and compassion (4 Immeasurable practice), sending and taking practice (tong len). Working with the 6 transcendent actions. Volunteering at the center and in your community.

Specific Courses of Training

The themes mentioned above are explored in detail in the following courses and retreats:


• Joy in Everyday Life
• How can I help? The Basic Goodness of Society


• Weekend Retreats: Shambhala Training Level 3
• Deeper Retreat: Enlightened Society Assembly


• The Enlightened Society Vow
• For those who choose to make a connection with Mahayana Buddhism, the Bodhisattva Vow may be requested

Phase 3. Fearless Space: Rediscovering confidence

Having opened the heart and made a commitment to be of benefit to the world, the next stage of the path offers additional practical tools and trainings to cultivate the fearlessness, skill, and open-mind in order to help others. This also invites us into a more inner and profound dimension of the journey. With the gentle and mindful foundation of basic meditation, and the energy, joy, and tenderness of the open heart, the Shambhala practitioner can now open into deeper and more ultimate teachings. So far along the path we have been working with the immediacy of our experience but we have approached our self and our world within a relatively conventional perspective. In the third phase of the path, we learn to let go into a profound and vast dimension of experience that is free from the conceptual mind, and free from the duality of “self and other,” altogether. Here we integrate more and more spaciousness into our being and relax with the expansiveness of awareness itself. We train in intensifying the compassion in our hearts to become so sharp that it abruptly cuts through concepts and opens into freedom.

Metaphorically, the first two stages of the path are connected with the groundedness of the earth. In the third stage we begin to explore “heaven,” the open, space-like qualities of reality. In particular, we look explore the impermanence of all things, acknowledging the reality of change and death. As we look with curiosity and honesty, the third stage of the path invites us to recognize the groundlessness of reality.


The groundlessness or transience of all things can be frightening, and therefore the primary focus of the third stage of the Shambhala path is to learn to work with fear. Conventionally, we may think of fearlessness as “less fear” or the reduction of fear. But in the tradition of warriorship, we learn to appreciate fear as part of our humanity. Fearlessness means being brave enough to feel fear. This takes training. Now the importance of the gentle mindfulness of the first stage and the joyous discipline and open the heart of the second stage are even more apparent. With these foundations, we cultivate the skill to look at impermanence, death, and the groundlessness of ultimate reality without becoming overwhelmed or disheartened. In fact, it can lead to great freedom and ease.

This topic is at the heart of warriorship itself. The study of our own fear can be approached in a very direct, everyday, and personal way. Fear is rampant in our world. We may experience the anxiety of doubting ourselves. We experience uncertainty as to the direction of our health, our lives, our families, and our financial stability, as well as fear of those different from us, and great fear for the future of our planet and our civilization. Depending on the year, there may be tremendous swells in fear of violence and war, disease, or economic and ecological instability.

For some, fear is experienced as an everyday background of anxiety of which we may or may not be aware. For others, fear is an abstraction, something that we will face “one day.” For others still, fear is a constant, paralyzing threat. Some of us have experienced traumas in our life. Nonetheless, there is always the possibility to train our selves to have a brave and outrageous relationship with fear: We are encouraged to develop a new relationship with fear based on basic goodness. We acknowledge the tender reality of human fear and shakiness and bring this directly onto the path. The warrior learns to smile at fear. In this way, we may experience unconditional confidence.

Ultimate Reality

In addition to providing a practical exploration of fear and bravery, the third stage of the path reveals the profound, ultimate nature of reality. To explore fear is also to look directly into our fear of open space. Ultimate truth is beyond our concepts and reference points. In fact, ultimate truth is beyond all of our ideas and even our sense of self. In Buddhist teachings, this is known as “emptiness.” There is nothing solid to hold on to. Yet this emptiness is not nihilistic, depressing, or void. In this stage of the path, we study the philosophical teachings of emptiness as well as expand our meditation technique to include more and more space. We train in being free of the need to grasp and conceptualize and our practice leads to increasing carefree freedom.

We may be afraid of impermanence, change, and death. We may rather hide from such truths. Penetrating into the nature of fear will lead us to encounter a deeper sense of space. Hope and fear keep us from truly letting go—both in our understanding and in our meditation practice. Hope can also be a trap in the sense that we constantly hope for other meditative experiences, hope for something “better.” As our meditation deepens, we also need to let go of trying to manipulate our experience or hoping for something more. The most ultimate teachings of Buddhism, such as the Great Perfection (dzokchen), describe abiding in the nature of mind as beyond hope and fear. If we follow this path beyond hope and fear, it will lead us to the primordial openness of the mind itself.

Therefore, the third stage of the path works on the level of our everyday, habitual anxieties. We train in practical tools for understanding, working with, and conquering fear. At the same time, the third stage works on an absolute level. We study the vast, empty, openness of space beyond limit. We learn to be willing to experience, understand, and open to the fear of such primordial expansiveness. This deepens our experience of the basic goodness of all.

Unconditional Confidence

The third stage of training emphasizes unconditional confidence. Such confidence is understood to be our nature, part of our basic goodness. It is our birthright as humans to be confident.

Conventionally, may think that confidence will arise when everything works in our favor and we feel in control. We may even attempt to feel confident through hiding from hear. In the Shambhala teachings, confidence comes from simply being, without pretense or pretending.

It is important to understand what we mean by the confidence of the warrior. The warrior is not developing confidence in anything. In this case, the warrior has self-existing confidence. This means that s/he remains in a state of confidence free from competition and any notion of struggle. The warrior’s confidence is unconditional. In other words, because s/he is undistracted by any cowardly thoughts the warrior can rest in an unwavering and wakeful state of mind, which needs no reference points whatsoever.

—Chögyam Trungpa

Unwavering confidence is powerful. It is not only gentle and spacious, but it is sharp, vivid, and cuts through all aggression. We now train in fearlessly intensifying the gentleness and warmth of our human hearts to become a source of unconditional confidence and power. This unshakeable quality is known as Ashe, which refers to the power of basic goodness to manifest directly in our world. It is a living and active experience of unconditionality that resides in the human heart and can influence our life. Warrior Assembly is dedicated to receiving and practicing such teachings.

Specific Courses

In local Shambhala centers, we train in a series of weekend retreats called the Sacred Path that gradually introduce some of the inner Shambhala principles of warriorship, such as principles of luminosity and “windhorse” or the energy of basic goodness, and “drala” or the living and sacred quality of the world. These weekends are the preparation for the group retreat called Warrior Assembly. The third stage of training culminates in this Warrior Assembly in which we receive the potent Ashe practices to strengthen our sense of fearless, unconditional confidence. Enlightened Society Assembly softens the heart, revealing warmth and compassion. Warrior Assembly then intensifies the confidence in the heart to become strong, sharp, and powerful. We study advanced teachings on absolute reality and the confidence that resides in our human heart and learn a contemplative art practice using brush and ink to express the Ashe. The Ashe represents non-conceptual awareness, a direct experience of mind beyond thought, and the fearless, gentle, intelligence that resides in our heart. The dignity and precision of this practice helps us experience the Ashe, and we learn a simple technique to rouse this fearless strength quickly and effectively in our everyday life.

Main Practice: Expansive and spacious meditation; contemplatively exploring fear, training in inner Shambhala practices of windhorse, and the advanced “Ashe” practices introduced at Warrior Assembly.

Specific Courses of Training

The themes mentioned above are explored in detail in the following courses and retreats:


• Fearlessness in Everyday Life
• What is Real? The Basic Goodness of Reality


• Weekend Retreats: Shambhala Training Level 4
• Unconditional Confidence: Rigden weekend
• The Sacred Path weekend retreats
• Deeper Retreat: Warrior Assembly


• Warrior Assembly Oath

Phase 4. Ordinary Magic: Dancing with the natural perfection of the cosmos

Some practitioners will choose to stay with the practices of the first three stages of the path for many years, and some will never move on to the fourth stage of the path. The meditation methods and teachings established in the initial three stages are very complete in themselves. Shambhala is more than a path of practice; it is also a community and a global society. In any society, there are many different kinds of people, and not all Shambhalians choose to go deeper into the more esoteric and advanced practices contained within the fourth phase of the journey. This is part of the richness of our tradition—some of us are in a stage of life where we are more focused on school, or on raising our families, or on our work in the world, while others of us are more focused on intensive practice. The fourth phase of the journey is a clear step into more intensive practice. One can still sustain a family and career while engaging the fourth phase of the path (even the advanced Shambhala stages are designed to work in an ordinary life) but now meditation practice becomes truly essential in your life.

With the ground of 1) mindful gentleness, 2) open-hearted energy, and 3) the vast awareness free of concepts and fear, the final phase of the Shambhala path enters into the fullest expression of basic goodness: the complete sacredness of our world. The first phase of the path introduces our own basic goodness. The second phase emphasizes the basic goodness of all beings and society itself. In the third and especially the fourth phase, we explore the basic goodness of reality and the ordinary magic of perceptions. Here the meditative training in basic goodness extends beyond boundaries and we learn practices to open awareness to the living harmony, or ordinary magic, of the universe. In the vajrayana tradition of Buddhism this is called “sacred outlook,” a way of perceiving the world and oneself as intrinsically good and unconditionally free.

Ordinary Magic

If the third stage related metaphorically with open space, the fourth stage relates with the fullness, energy, and luminosity of experience. There is a risk that we may get very used to the open space and freedom of the third stage—it is so simple and expansive. Therefore, we are invited to work with the complexity and energetic display of our experience, so that we cannot hide. We are asked to not withdraw from the sharp points of our world, but to move towards the raw vividness, beauty, and pain of reality. You could say that we “return” to the complexities of everyday life after having glimpsed the empty-spaciousness of ultimate truth. Yet we now return to play or dance with reality. In the final stage of the path there is nothing that is rejected. Everything—every experience and every emotion—can be brought onto the path. Even anger and desire can be workable and appreciated as part of the energetic dance of the universe. Practicing in this way also increases confidence that a more awake society can be possible.

Ordinary magic refers to the real world. This is not the magic of turning water into fire, or pulling rabbits from hats. It is the magic of fire itself, water itself, space itself, and earth itself. The elemental realities of forests, oceans, deserts, mountains— even urban sprawl and landfills—have their own magic. Much of the training in the fourth stage of sacredness is learning to tune into this ordinary magic through relaxing our senses. We study the process of perception, engage in contemplative arts, and spend time in nature. We study the “drala” teachings about invoking the living quality of existence present in the everyday world. As the Sakyong writes in The Shambhala Principle, “basic goodness is not simply a human experience, or something that is experienced only in deep meditation. Rather, it is alive, humming through the universe as an elemental energy that is very ordinary.”

Vajrayana Practices and Path

Entering fully into the final phase of the Shambhala path means making a deeper commitment to meditation. In addition to basic meditation, compassion practices, and awareness methods to cut through concepts, in the fourth phase of practice we are introduced to vajrayana techniques such as visualization, sacred sound (mantra), and yogic practices that open the subtle body. All of these practices are ways to use the whole range of our human experience as part of the path. We have very powerful imaginative capacities that we learn to develop in visualization practices. We are constantly using speech and relating with sounds, so we learn how to bring sound onto the path. We have complex bodily energies, such as sexual energies, that move through our bodies. We learn practices to skillfully relate with them as part of spiritual practice. These methods are very practical and can help increase our confidence that every part of our being is workable and has its own wisdom.

Though we learn about sacredness and ordinary magic in many of our earlier programs, such as the Drala program, Sacred World Assembly is the name of the advanced group retreat in which we are officially and authentically introduced to the inner Shambhala practices. Making a more direct connection with the Sakyong as a teacher is a large part of this step on the journey, so it is helpful to try to attend teachings with the Sakyong before making this step. Before this point, we work with many teachers in the Shambhala community. But as we enter formally into inner practices, we work more closely with the Sakyong as the primary lineage holder of Shambhala.

At Sacred World Assembly we study teachings about sacredness and the various practices that help us connect with the natural world. We receive an important meditation instruction called “the nature of mind” transmission, offered only by the Sakyong. We also begin the traditional “preliminary practices” (ngöndro), which help to strengthen our commitment and gradually introduce us to various methods, such as visualization and mantra. One can complete these preliminary practices over the course of about one to three years of focused daily sessions and a week of group retreat. One of the unique aspects of the Shambhala path is group practice.

We definitely are encouraged to practice daily on our own and in solitary retreats at times, but we are also encouraged to come together, to learn, practice, and celebrate as community.

Upon completing the preliminaries, the next milestone is called Rigden Empowerment, which is a vajrayana ceremony offered by the Sakyong. Here we are introduced to the central practice of the inner Shambhala teachings, known as the Werma Sādhanā. Werma is an ancient term for the sacred display of reality and sādhanā means, “accomplishment,” or a way to deeply engage with this aspect of the universe. This meditation practice is based upon very simple but profound visualizations and inner meditations to directly experience basic goodness as the primordial ground of being. Then we learn to draw this primordial experience into our own lives and body, and especially into our society.

The Scorpion Seal

After training in the Werma Sādhanā for about a year or so, practitioners may apply to enter the Scorpion Seal path. This is the final and innermost step on the path. Here the Sakyong directly guides the most advanced practitioners into the very essence of the Shambhala teachings. Through annual retreats that last for many years, the Sakyong teaches practices that include deeper training in the vajrayana techniques, especially very subtle and simple meditation instructions on resting directly in the nature of awareness. In a sense, we return to the simplicity of basic meditation, and realize that the whole journey has been present from the beginning. These methods are quite similar to practices in the renowned Great Perfection (dzokchen) tradition, considered by many to be the highest teachings of Tibetan Buddhism. The Scorpion Seal Assemblies, and the whole Shambhala path, culminate in a month long personal retreat in which we practice these subtle methods in nature.

Creating Enlightened Society

All of these more mystical-seeming practices are very potent methods that draw upon the sophisticated “spiritual technologies” of the Shambhala lineage, stretching back for many thousands of years. Their purpose is to help us master all of the energies of our experience, and therefore be of the most benefit to our world. The ultimate Shambhala practice is creating enlightened society, in which what appeared to be meditative awareness, wisdom, and compassion emerge in our culture and the social institutions of our world. The most advanced vajrayana training is learning to make this a reality. During each phase throughout the path, we are encouraged to be “warriors in the world,” to brave and skillful as we manifest the teachings in our daily life. In this sense, there is no end to the path. We continually work to create the conditions to allow the most beautiful, wise, and compassionate human presence on this planet, and through this, to celebrate and delight in the fullest potential of our precious lives. Every practice and step on the path is in service of this possibility.

Main Practice: Effortless awareness meditation; the Ashe practices, the Preliminary Practices, Werma Sādhanā, Scorpion Seal practices.

Specific Courses of Training

The themes mentioned above are explored in detail in the following courses and retreats:


• Wisdom in Everyday Life
• What is Real? The Basic Goodness of Reality
• Entering the Vajra World


• Weekend Retreats: Shambhala Training Level 5
• Unconditional Confidence: Rigden
• The Sacred Path weekend retreats, especially Drala and Golden Key
• Deeper Retreats: Sacred World Assembly
• Rigden Empowerment
• Scorpion Seal Assemblies


• Shambhala Samaya (commitment to sacredness)

The Logic of the Assemblies

Enlightened Society Assembly begins with an exploration of the basic goodness of society. The primary practice of this Assembly is the Shambhala Sadhana, a meditation which cultivates confidence in the basic goodness of oneself, others, and society. As we train in opening our being, the experience of warmth and compassion is like a sun of goodness in our heart. We study the Enlightened Society Vow in order to make a lasting commitment to being of benefit to our world.

Warrior Assembly then strengthens and intensifies this sun-like warmth in our hearts. We learn practices to abruptly rouse our confidence and energy, helping to overcome any blockage to accessing our heart. The sun in our heart can transform into a tool or even weapon of gentleness and fearlessness to help us create enlightened society.

Sacred World Assembly introduces teachings and practices that emphasize the living quality of reality. We train in joining the warmth and confident-strength in our hearts with the magic of the whole world. With no separation, the primordial sacredness of phenomena shows itself.
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Re: Shambhala Guide Resource Manual: A Resource for Director

Postby admin » Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:38 am

Shambhala Culture

Shambhala Guides are emissaries of Shambhala culture. All cultures have their own “ceremony.” In The Shambhala Principle, the Sakyong writes:

“The power of ceremony is that through the rituals of our day, we understand who we are. In details such as what food we eat or how we use our time, we are creating self-identity and establishing value systems. However, the root principles of any particular social ceremony may not necessarily be conscious, or even understood, by the members of the society. Therefore it is important to examine the underlying assumptions that guide our social ceremonies—and to explore whether these principles are natural, genuine, and good. What are our ceremonies celebrating? We may discover that the status quo that we believe is reality was in fact created by somebody else’s game plan.

The shared ceremony of society creates the layout and design of everything from homes and businesses to cities and countries. It celebrates our collective values and priorities, which we are always projecting onto the blank canvas of space and time. There is a New York ceremony, an Amsterdam ceremony, and a Beijing ceremony.

Over the centuries, we humans have held different principles about how reality should be celebrated, reflected by the particular environment. In ancient Greece, life was a ceremony of relating to the gods, who represented forces such as war and wisdom, power and love. Large and intricate temples were built as houses for the gods and their human conduits. They also served as monuments to the ceremony of civic pride, conveying through their form the values of balance and harmony. Later, with the rise of Christianity, churches dominated the landscape, adapting the structure of the Roman civic basilica—which was conveniently shaped in the form of a cross— into the house of a single god. With the rise of humanism, the ceremony centered around philosophy and art, and the architecture melded classical concepts with evolving standards of beauty that communicated humanity as the center of the natural world. In the modern era, where materialism and commercialism dominate, skyscrapers identify our cities, their shiny minimalist forms reflecting the flat, superficial, and power-seeking ceremony of our age. What are we celebrating?

When a group of individuals decides what is real, and then bring that decision into a collective ceremony, this becomes social reality, shaping our homes, our workplaces, our towns, cities, and nations. It is based not just upon any single individual’s concept, but on a collective agreement anchored in the relationship between beliefs and daily actions.

As stated in the Shambhala Aspirations on Diversity, Accessibility, and Compassionate Conduct : “We are committed to the teachings of our lineages, to the practice of meditation and meditation-in-action, and to genuine communication, As part of our intention to create enlightened society, these also help us gain insight into others realities, appreciate diversity and work with conflict.”

In the Shambhala Principle the Sakyong writes: (pg 155)

Culture is contagious. Our association with it is like a giant self. Without having to think, we know how others feel, and we react to experiences in similar ways. Therefore encountering someone from another culture can be frightening or awkward; it is challenging to communicate. We don’t trust what we don’t know. Naturally, as human beings become threatened, they dig in deeper.

My father talked about the need for cultural curiosity and appreciating interdependence – in part, no doubt, reflecting upon what had happened in his own country. Ironically, for a Buddhist culture steeped in the principle of interdependence, Tibet’s policy toward the rest of the world was isolationist. The nation was unaware of global events, thereby becoming a victim of its own failure to see its interconnectedness with the rest of the world.

If our version of globalization is to simply promote our own culture, we are talking about imperialism, hegemony, or domination – not globalization. In this light, no culture is global, in that to be global is to accommodate diversity.

A Shambhala Guide helps to clarify and express the culture, forms, meditation-room protocols, and symbolism of the Shambhala world. What follows is an introduction to the “ceremonies” that make up the culture of a Shambhala Center and celebrate basic goodness as the underlying principle of the Shambhala vision. Shambhala Centers are not just schools of meditation and philosophy— they are cultural centers that express the heritage and vision of Shambhala. Our culture is influenced by the modern world, vajrayana symbolism, the earth-based cultures of Tibet and central Asia, the imperial courtly cultures of India and China, and the simple and profound contemplative arts of Japan, such as flower-arrangement. The way we chant, our posture, the bow entering the meditation hall, the imagery of the Rigden surrounded by the Dignities, the Yeshe Tsogyal banner, our hand gesture during walking meditation, the way we do not place chants on the floor, and the presence of Sakyong’s chair—all have meaning and can be communicated with skill, knowledge, and a sense of humor. As Guides we should be familiar with our shrines, chants, and seasonal celebrations as expressions of Shambhala Culture.

Cultural and Artistic Forms

Shambhala culture comprises a number of secular disciplines and activities that integrate art and culture with everyday life. Each of these disciplines represents a genuine contemplative path; together they bring beauty, vividness, and wisdom to our lives and culture. While every Shambhala centre does not yet have a full-fledged expression of all of these forms, you can receive information from the centre about their programs and activities.

Shambhala culture may be roughly grouped into four major categories: the arts, health, education, and business. The following are some of the disciplines or pathways included within our lineage. Some of these activities occur within structured organizations; others are pursued by individual practitioners with similar inspirations. Festivals offer a major opportunity for the expression of the Shambhala world.


• Bugaku and Gagaku
• Calligraphy
• Chanoyu (tea ceremony)
• Dance/Movement
• Shambhala Art (Chögyam Trungpa's teachings on art)
• Graphic Design
• Horsemanship, Dressage
• Ikebana (flower arranging)
• Kyudo (archery)
• Miksang (contemplative photography)
• Mudra Space Awareness
• Music
• Poetics
• Visual Art


• Amara Health Professionals
• Contemplative Psychotherapy
• Home Care
• Maitri Space Awareness
• Palliative Care
• Sarpashana (addiction) [Heart of Recovery]
• Karuna Training
• Social Identity Support Groups (eg. queer, people of color, young adult, chronic illness)


• Leadership Training
• Alia Institute



• Early Childhood Education
• Contemplative Education
• Nalanda Translation Committee
• Naropa University
• The Shambhala School in Halifax
• Education Affinity Group

Here is a brief description of a few of these activities.


Kyudo means the way of the bow and can be described as a form of standing meditation. Under the direction of teachers trained by the late Shibata Kanjuro Sensei and senior instructors, students learn an ancient form of archery using traditional Japanese bows. Kyudo is a form of meditation practice, not sport, and hitting the target is not considered important. The purpose of kyudo is to purify one's heart and mind, to awaken the natural dignity of being human, beyond the obstacles of ambition, aggression, or confusion. See also

Kalapa Ikebana

In 1982, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche formed a new school of ikebana (Japanese flower arranging) inspired by his own training and vision. Kalapa Ikebana, as this school is called, promotes the study and practice of flower arranging, often working closely with masters of other schools of ikebana.


The art of Chanoyu, preparing and serving a bowl of tea, is a synthesis of many Japanese arts such as flower arranging, calligraphy, poetry, ceramics, lacquer ware, cooking, gardening, and more. As a meditation in action, the practice of tea developed alongside the practice of Zen Buddhism and joins the ordinary aspects of daily life with spiritual practice.


The ancient dance and music of the Japanese Imperial Court, known as bugaku, is more than 1400 years old. The stately dance, performed in richly brocaded and highly stylized costumes, expresses contemplative mind in a cultural context. Several bugaku groups are active and study with master musician and dancer Togi Sensei, a Living National Treasure of Japan.

Mudra Space Awareness

This awareness practice is based on postures and movement from traditional Tibetan monastic dance. Simple yet demanding, these techniques train students in synchronizing body and mind, in relating with space, in maintaining awareness during intense activity, and in communication.

Maitri Space Awareness

This practice is based on the principles of the five buddha families, each of which expresses a particular style and attitude of openness. Maintaining a posture associated with each family in five specifically designed rooms heightens the characteristic patterns of energy of each family, so that both the neurotic and sane aspects of the student's personal style becomes apparent.

Shambhala Art

Shambhala Art is art that springs from the meditative state of mind. It is based on a collection of teachings by Chögyam Trungpa that appreciates the uniqueness of everyday sensory experience, the art of everyday life. Seeing the simplicity of things as they are provides the ground for genuine creative expression. These teachings are offered in a series of weekend programs.


Shambhala Meditation Hall

It is recommended that Shambhala centres have a shrine in the main meditation hall. NOTE: Please refer to this main hall as the “meditation hall” or “main meditation room” not the “shrine room.” This title is descriptive of what we do in the space and it has less religious connotations.

In Shambhala centres, the main hall focuses on the Rigden shrine, designed by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche to be the main public shrine in all Shambhala centres. Hanging on the wall above the shrine is a thangka (painting) of the Primordial Rigden. The Primordial Rigden thangka mirrors to viewers an image of their enlightened nature, their basic goodness.

Like all shrine imagery in the non-theistic traditions of Buddhism, the thangka aims to remind viewers of qualities inherent in themselves and their lives. The details of the iconography are highly symbolic, each one pointing to an aspect of the view, the training, or the full realization of this basic nature.

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche designed this thangka to be placed on public shrines in Shambhala centres throughout the world. In doing so, the Sakyong points out the unique spiritual inheritance of the Shambhala community—an inheritance that braids together the Tibetan Buddhist vajrayana lineages of Kagyü and Nyingma with the direct, imperial transmission of Shambhala wisdom.

The main shrine is the heart of any Shambhala centre. Shrines, in general, are meant to remind us, provoke us to wake up from our delusions. The Vidyadhara, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, said that having put energy into the creation and care for a shrine, a sense of liveliness then radiates out to the viewer, providing a mirror of their being.

Shambhala centre shrines are also an expression of who we are as a community of practitioners. The Rigden shrine and thangka highlight the Shambhala image of monarch as ruler of the phenomenal world. As well, they manifest the inseparability of the Buddhist and Shambhala teachings and express the unity of our Shambhala Buddhist community.

If there is space, permanent Shambhala and vajrayana shrines may be installed in other rooms within the centre.

The Primordial Rigden Thangka, writtten by Acharya David Schneider and available from Shambhala Media offers a detailed description of the iconography and symbolism in this thankga.

(For more details see

Shambhala Meditation Group Shrine

The style of the Shambhala meditation group shrine depends upon the membership and whether there is a permanent shrine hall. In general, the shrine set-up and design would follow as closely as possible the specifications for the Rigden shrine in a Shambhala meditation centre. Groups composed primarily of new students may have a very simple shrine; groups composed of a significant number of tantrikas should definitely follow the Shambhala centre format as much as possible. In either case, if your centre has no permanent shrine hall, you may follow a simpler format.

The main shrine box should have the same general proportions as a Shambhala centre shrine. It is similarly painted, with a sheet of glass on top for protection. Use the same thangka and/or photos suggested for the Shambhala centre shrine. On top of the shrine place:

• seven bowls of water
• two candles
• a dharma text wrapped in good fabric
• flowers (recommended but optional)
• tea offering: if your group does the protector chants and does not have a Mahakala shrine, place the tea at the rear of the shrine

Lighting and Opening Shrines

In general, we should offer water, light the shrine, offer incense (which could be a symbolic offering of unlit incense if there are people who have allergies) and bow any time we are using the meditation hall for meditation or a teaching. If the program is very public and we do not want to emphasize ritual forms, it is appropriate to light the shrine, offer, and bow, before the program begins. If a Guide, leader or teacher feels very strongly that opening the shrine will be inappropriate or offensive in a certain situation, please trust your intelligence and discuss your perspective with colleagues and come to a collective decision about what to do.

It is often appropriate to simply acknowledge that the shrine represents wakeful mind, the lineage of teachers, and good human society. Our offering and bow are ways to acknowledge such teachings and inspiration. It is a reminder and focal point for meditation rooms to help demarcate this as a space of contemplative training.

The shrine should therefore be opened for all Open Houses, Way of Shambhala classes and weekend retreats, including Shambhala Training levels.

Werma Shrine Symbolism

With the Rigden shrine as the primary shrine, centres with one meditation hall and shrine would add the items needed for particular practices, in this case for Werma Sadhana. Shambhala centres with more space may have a dedicated Werma shrine.

Ashe / Warrior’s heart, stroke of primordial confidence.

Brush / Warrior’s weapon—awakeness, fearlessness, gentleness (cuts aggression).

Ink / Warrior’s heart’s blood—tenderness and loyalty to lineage of warriors.

Tea Offering / Cutting conceptual mind, discursive thought.

Sake Offering / Intoxication of emotionalism with Great Eastern Sun vision.

Outer Offerings / Sense perceptions, sacred world. Mirror (sight), cymbals or shell (sound), saffron water (smell), food (taste), red ribbon (touch).

Candles and Incense / Warrior’s discipline, constant awareness.

Teacher’s Chair and Side Table

A teacher’s chair and side table of good quality are placed to the left side of the main shrine. A large khata is draped across the arms of the chair, but there is no photograph. On the side table a candle is placed, representing the continual presence of the guru. This candle is always lit during group practice or a talk. A flower arrangement and/or a Japanese fan may also be placed on the table.

The Sakyong is the only person who teaches from this chair, if he is not teaching from a throne. In general, he will use the teacher’s chair itself; if it is awkward to sit on, however, he may request a different chair. In this case, replace the teacher’s chair with a suitable chair. Move the teacher’s chair to the left side of the shrine; it should remain somewhat elevated. The teacher’s candle should be lit as usual.

If another lineage holder is teaching and chooses not to sit on a throne, move the teacher’s chair aside and arrange another chair in its place, as above. For teachers who are not lineage holders, such as acharyas or other senior students, arrange a chair and side table in front of the shrine in whatever way seems aesthetically most appropriate.


If Tibetan lineage holders visit your centre, you may need to provide a throne for them. Consult the Shambhala Office of International Affairs in Halifax to find out what is appropriate. They can also give you instructions on building and covering the throne. In order to furnish the throne properly, you may need to borrow brocades and cushions from a larger centre. Consult the Shambhala Visit Manual for further details on throne set-up. If your centre’s shrine room has a throne and matching throne table, you could place the guru candle on the throne’s side table rather than on the teacher’s chair side table.

Practice Instruments

Shambhala centres should have the following instruments for practice.

1. Drum. Used for chanting the Heart Sutra and the protector chants. A suitable tom-tom drum and strikers can be purchased at a music store. Paint a coil-ofjoy in the centre of the skin on both sides. Large drums in the Tibetan style, such as the ones used at Seminary and at Shambhala centres, can be specially ordered from Michael Reshetnik (Boulder, CO).

2. Drum stand. Mount the drum so that it is very stable. Position it at a height where it can be struck easily while kneeling next to it. In the absence of a proper mounting, the drum could rest on a zabuton.

3. Gong. Used for beginning and ending practice sessions; also for leading chants.

4. Rin. A small Japanese gong used for dismissing people at the end of a practice session; also used for oryoki.

5. Gandi. The wooden striker used to signal the end of walking meditation; also used for oryoki.

Umdze's Seat

For leading practice, the umdze sits to one side of the main shrine, with or without a platform. In centres where the shrines are on different walls, the umdze platform is placed next to whichever shrine is being used for practice. If an umdze platform is built, it should be lower than the shrine platform, and just large enough to fit everything that will be placed on it. It is painted with orange or black enamel, possibly trimmed with gold-colored molding, and covered with carpet.

At the umdze's seat and table arrange:

• a zabuton, gomden, and support cushion (optional)
• gong and striker
• gandi and striker
• rin and striker
• a notebook containing annotated copies of the daily chants done at your centre
• a microphone stand (if used)

All these items would be arranged on the platform. A small table is useful for supporting the chant book when the umdze is leading chants. It can be set to the side of umdze's seat, on or off the platform, when not in use.

Drummer's Seat

The drummer should be positioned near, or at least within good view of, the umdze. A zabuton, gomden, and annotated copy of the chants should be arranged next to the drum. The drummer does not have a platform.

Yeshe Tsogyal Banner…


[Excerpted from a letter by the Rupa Acharya, Suzann Duquette]


Chanting in the morning and evening helps to provide a sense of twenty-four-hour practice. The events of the day and the night are sandwiched between periods of practice. In the morning, the chants provide the first spark of connection to the lineage, the teachings, and to our discipline. In the evening, they can provide a sense of summing up and recalling the entire day in the context of dharmic activity.

Chanting should be considered as a practice in itself. It is important to be present and mindful of what one is doing. We can cultivate awareness of the words we are chanting as well as an awareness of their meaning. Chanting is a proclamation of the teachings themselves. We are not mouthing meaningless words; we can have a sense of their meaning. In this way, hearing, contemplating, and meditating can occur.

Chanting is a proclamation of the dharma. This proclamation touches and informs us as we deepen our practice of meditation. Shambhala Buddhist chants cover the entire expanse of the teachings, and are a profound teaching and practice in and of themselves. By introducing chants progressively, from the newest practitioner to the most advanced, we contemplate teachings that are relevant and guide our practice. Through a clear relationship and resonance with chants and chanting, contemplating the dharma through speech, our minds and hearts harmonize more readily with the meaning of the chants as we gently turn toward the dharma.

The three levels of chant books follow:

I. Shambhala Chant Book

II. Warrior Chant Book

III. Collected Vajra Liturgies

A. Vajrayana Liturgies

I. Shambhala Chant Book

The Shambhala Chant Book is for sangha-wide use. It reflects the vision and intention of the lineage of Sakyongs, which emphasize the significance of basic goodness and the Shambhala teachings for this time. The selection of chants also is in direct response to supplications that have been made to the Sakyong over many years, asking for daily chants that are more accessible to greater numbers of people. The Sakyong has written three new chants for this purpose (“Proclamation of Goodness,” “Shambhala Protector Chant,” and the “Aspiration of Shambhala: Fulfilling the Wishes of the Dorje Dradül”). The intention of the daily chant book is to provide chants that are meaningful and accessible.

The Shambhala Chant Book is the daily chant book for Shambhala Meditation Centres and Meditation Groups. These chants can also be used for opening and closing meditation sessions at home. However, practitioners are welcome to choose whichever chants they have been introduced to for home use.

This chant book includes the following chants:

Morning Chants

• Proclamation of Basic Goodness
• Supplication to the Shambhala Lineage
• Homage

Morning chants provide the first spark of connection to the lineage, the teachings and our discipline. They wake us up from our morning fog! Morning chants are done at a relatively perky pace except for the first chant, “Proclamation of Goodness,” which the umdze proclaims alone – slowly and with feeling – after ringing the gong three times and deadening.

Evening Chants

• Protector Chant
• Shambhala Protector Chant

It is said that around dusk is an in-between time, things are shifting and the practitioner can lose his or her awareness. The protector chants, in particular, are designed to help cut through obstacles and obscurations. These chants are about protecting something precious, our mind of dharma, and protecting from something – our hesitation, doubt and fears. This allows our wisdom to emerge. In doing the protector chants, we are reminded that it is possible to wear our fear or anxiety as adornment or ornament.

The Sakyong has written a protector chant, the “Shambhala Protector Chant,” a general protector chant that replaces other protector chants for Centres. This is the protector chant to be recited at Centres for the evening chants. Other protector chants may be chanted at home, on certain occasions – such as vajrayana or international programs, at Land Centres, and as appropriate to particular programs or levels of practice. The “Shambhala Protector Chant,” as with other protector chants, is done briskly.

The tea offering with this chant is made with the following lines. Hold up the tea offering at the line: “Guardians of Mukpo Dong, do not forget your commitment…” and bow/offer the tea at “dispel outer, inner, and secret obstacles.”

Closing Chants

• Supplication for the Longevity of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche
• Invocation
• Aspiration of Shambhala: Fulfilling the Wishes of the Dorje Dradül
• Shambhala Dedication of Merit

At night, the closing chants help us to recall and sum up our day of practice. Once again, they wake us up. In the closing chants, we acknowledge the lineage, aspire for the long lives of teachers and their vision and aspirations. The Sakyong composed the, “Aspiration of Shambhala: Fulfilling the Wishes of the Dorje Dradül.” These closing chants and aspirations are chanted at a moderate pace, a little more fluid.

Shambhala Centres and Meditation Groups are encouraged to begin using the above chants at daily or weekly chant sessions, including nyintüns, as of the Shambhala Lineage Festival. In addition to offering evening sessions that include chants, Centres and groups are welcome to continue to offer selected evening sessions for the public that do not include chants.

II. Warrior Chant Book

This second-level chant book is available to those attending Warrior Assembly.

III. Collected Vajra Liturgies

The Collected Vajra Liturgies, available to graduates of Sacred World Assembly, includes many additional Shambhala Buddhist chants. This is a large collection of Shambhala and Buddhist chant liturgies. They are available to Centres to draw upon for selected programs and Centre events, as appropriate. For example, if a Centre offers a program on the Vajrakilaya Sadhana, the morning and evening chants might include relevant Nyingma chants. Or, for a Primordial Rigden, Kagyü, and Nyingma ngöndro week, the morning and evening chants could include the Kagyü and Nyingma chants. Or, for a program focusing on the mahayana teachings, the morning chants could include the “Sutra of the Heart of Transcendent Knowledge,” and so on.

These three levels of chant books and their harmonious proclamation awaken us to our basic goodness. The “Shambhala Chant Book” is intended for all levels of practitioners. It is offered to further the Shambhala teachings for this time and to make chants and chanting more accessible. All of the Shambhala Buddhist chants support a culture of basic goodness and the inherent goodness in society.

Seasonal Observances at Shambhala Centres

The following events are listed in chronological order, beginning with Shambhala Day. Shambhala follows the Tibetan calendar issued from Dharamsala, rather than the Tsurphu/Rumtek calendar.

● Shambhala Day: Same day as the Tibetan new year (losar). This not a celebration of the Tibetan new year, but a Shambhala cultural event that celebrates the Shambhala new year.

● Spring nyida day (equinox): circa March 21,

● Parinirvana of the eleventh Trungpa Tulku: April 4.

● Vaishakha Day: 15th day (full moon) of the 4th month of the Tibetan lunar calendar; often falls on the full-moon day of May.

● Midsummer Day: summer nyida day (solstice), circa June 21.

● The Harvest of Peace is celebrated on the fall nyida day, circa September 21. ● Birthday celebration for Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche: November 15.

● Children's Day: winter nyida day (solstice), circa December 21.

● Mamo chants: End of the Tibetan year, beginning eleven days before Shambhala Day and lasting for ten days. The chants are not done on the day just before Shambhala Day.

● The Rites of Passage for eight-year-olds is celebrated on either the fall or the spring nyida day (equinox).

Lhasang: Example of an Important Shambhala Ritual

A lhasang is a traditional ceremony performed to dispel neurosis, to purify the environment, and to bring down the blessings of the divine upon the participants and place. In performing a lhasang one's neurosis may be dispelled, one's lungta raised, and an appreciation of sacred world can occur. A lhasang should be included as a part of Shambhala Day and nyida day celebrations, including Midsummer Day and Children's Day. A lhasang is customarily performed at the beginning of Warrior Assembly, Sacred World Asembly, and Magyal Pomra Encampment.

“Lha” in this context means “divine”; “sang” means “to purify.” Therefore, a lhasang is an invocation of the principle of heaven. The lhasang smoke purifies the environment and empowers the space, the objects, and the beings within the space by inviting the awakened energy of drala and the principle of lha to descend. A simple lhasang may be used to purify a new home, apartment, or office.

The ceremony begins with the burning of juniper, creating smoke as a pathway for drala to descend. Juniper is regarded as the lha tree, whose smoke invites the principle of heaven, or drala. Chanting and carrying flags also invite drala and the energy of windhorse. Various offerings, such as tea and saké, may be made to the drala principle.

The instructions in this section are intended to reflect the way that the Vidyadhara performed the lhasang ceremony. Other Tibetan teachers have introduced their own style of conducting lhasangs. At Gampo Abbey, for example, Thrangu Rinpoche introduced the Tibetan custom of everyone tossing barley flour into the air at the end of the ceremony.
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Re: Shambhala Guide Resource Manual: A Resource for Director

Postby admin » Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:41 am

Shambhala Care & Conduct

Intimate Relationships with Participants

It is the responsibility of directors, assistant directors, meditation instructors, and staff to establish and maintain the formality of the teaching relationship. Given the experiences of genuine open heart that take place along the path, feelings of tenderness, or even sexual attraction, might arise in either the instructor or the participant. It is common and natural to be struck by the brilliance and beauty of people, to feel affection and love for them. Both instructor and student may feel emotionally and physically open, vulnerable, and alive, or alternatively, fearful and needy.

Such feelings must not be acted upon, however, if the integrity of the teaching relationship is to be preserved. The essence of decorum in such a situation is to provide a dignified and decent environment in which powerful emotions can be present without triggering the reflexes of our habitual patterns. Without denying the sexual dimensions of our being, the instructor should keep present in his or her mind the purpose of the instructor-participant relationship, which is to guide, encourage, and protect the participant’s engagement with meditation practice and the teachings.

The responsibilities and expectations that accompany the instructor role are not compatible with those that accompany a casual friend. Thus, the instructor must refrain from any sexualizing gestures, inappropriate touching, verbal innuendo, invasive personal questioning, scheduling of dates, or intimate self-disclosures.

This directive is no different from the professional code of conduct for a doctor, therapist, teacher, manager, or anyone else who can be seen to be in a position of authority or power relative to a participant. No matter how equal two people may feel, no matter how much the participant or student may want or even initiate the sexual nature of the contact, the decision to sexualize the relationship almost invariably means the loss of any ability to properly fulfil the situation's original purpose, and it can cause deep harm to the participant.

Practical Suggestions to Preserve a Helpful Formality in Relation to Students

1. Do not invite students to personal social gatherings, and hold instruction meetings at the local centre, rather than in a home, café, or empty office.

2. Be clear about the time frame of a given meeting before you begin.

3. Within the context of a program, if you feel that a relationship to a participant is becoming sexualized or casual, consult with the director of the program. In such a case, the student should be reassigned to a new instructor.

4. After a program has concluded and conditions are less highly charged, if feelings of sexual attraction continue to arise and are mutual, it would not be unreasonable if one wished to explore these, but at such a time it would be important to make sure that the teacher-student relationship is concluded and that the student has a new instructor. It is obviously inappropriate for a formal teaching relationship to be mixed with a personal one.

Shambhala Care and Conduct

Conducting ourselves and caring for each other.

(Available on the Shambhala website.)


The Shambhala mandala is committed to creating enlightened society. This commitment involves devoting ourselves to personal transformation, helping to develop a compassionate community of practitioners, and contributing to the creation of enlightened society in the world at large. This document is based on work done at various levels of the mandala in the recent period, and the practical experience of working over the past year with the procedure described in it. The paper sets out four aspects of relating to the care of people within our own community, and dealing with disputes and complaints:

1. Commitment to enlightened society

2. Conflicts within the community

3. Complaints against practitioners

4. Misconduct by Shambhala office holders

1. Commitment to Enlightened Society

The Shambhala mandala is committed to creating enlightened society. This commitment involves devoting ourselves to personal transformation, helping to develop a compassionate community of practitioners, and contributing to the creation of enlightened society in the world at large.

In the teachings of the Shambhala and Buddhist traditions, specific practices and instructions are provided to guide us in this three-fold commitment. These include: The Shambhala Edicts on Wholesome Human Conduct, The Five Precepts, The Four Immeasurables, and The Six Paramitas, among others. These should be regarded as useful reference points for discussion of the issues that follow.

Compassionate Transformation

The meditation and other practices given to our community have the ability to heighten and purify intense emotions and behaviors that can otherwise be harmful to ourselves and others. Each person experiences and expresses this process in their own distinctive way. It is natural therefore that we should experience various displays of troubled personal and social behavior, which each individual has to work with as part of his or her path. Difficulties may arise though ignorance and confusion that can tend to make us unaware of the effect of our behavior on others. The forms and disciplines of the Shambhala Buddhist path create a container in which this process can unfold and in which our teachers, the teachings, and all practitioners can be protected as this heightening and purification take place.

At the same time, the path of the bodhisattva warrior involves the cultivation of personal and group discipline. This training takes place, for example, during formal meditation, oryoki practice, the contemplative arts, kasung practice, and meditation in action. This discipline is essential for two reasons. First, it is part of the process of learning to work skillfully with intense human energy on the path of warriorship and the journey to enlightenment. Second, personal discipline is essential on the part of everyone in a community that seeks to provide environments conducive to teaching, practice, and study.

Although each individual is part of what it takes to provide a safe and uplifted environment for teaching, practice, and study, overall responsibility rests with the leadership of Shambhala centres and groups—as well as the overall responsibility that is held by the Sakyong and the bodies that govern the mandala as a whole. Teachers, program directors and coordinators, meditation instructors and other office holders are expected to make every reasonable effort to ensure that such an environment is maintained. The practice of authentic leadership requires us to find ways of helping each other without aggression: provoking each other’s innate wisdom and intelligence rather than imposing opinions or personal views on others. This responsibility includes working with individuals who may be experiencing personal difficulties that lead them to disrupt the practice of others or make it impossible to provide an appropriate contemplative environment.

The Vidyadhara created certain forms, such as the Deleg system and the Desung Corps, so that the community would have tools to work with each other as individuals on a common path. Not all Shambhala centres and groups have Delegs or local members of the Desung Corps. One of our goals is to extend these forms more widely through the mandala. The role of the Desung Corps (“Bliss Protectors”) is to assist in situations where the well-being of individuals, groups, and the community as a whole is disturbed. The role of the Desung is to endeavor as far as possible to help resolve conflicts, and to enable practitioners to bring manifestations of neurotic behavior to the path of personal and social transformation. Where possible, every effort is made to resolve issues within a compassionate framework of mutual understanding and respect. This framework may involve the Desung as well as other leaders in the community, using a variety of methods for individual and group healing.

The Desung Corps may be contacted at any time through the Rusung or the Director of a Shambhala centre or group. However, it is expected that most difficulties and complaints within the community can be resolved by the skillful means of our local leadership, with assistance from the Desung Corps if needed.

In all instances of conflict, complaint, or allegations of misconduct, it is essential to remember that a number of causes and conditions have come together. The result is suffering on the part of all involved. In the case of a person who feels they have been harmed in some way, it is part of our responsibility to offer care and support. Often what is needed immediately is spontaneous listening and unconditional attention. If the person is experiencing distress, we need to ensure that they are provided with an environment that supports them in stabilizing their mind and dealing with the situation. Formal procedures that may be appropriate can follow after that.

Codes of Conduct

The general principles of Shambhala conduct are broadly outlined in the Shambhala Edicts on Wholesome Human Conduct and the various instructions and practices of the Buddhist path. They are not comprehensive and, rather than relying on detailed injunctions, practitioners are invited to act in accordance with their understanding of the view of enlightened society. Those who have taken specific vows are, of course, expected to comply with not only the literal wording but also the profound view and motivation that is improcit in taking such vows.

At major events and programs within the mandala, it is increasingly common for participants to be asked to sign a Code of Conduct specifically drawn up for the occasion. These are helpful to all involved as they establish a common framework, the relevant laws of the local jurisdiction, and the procedure to be followed in the event of participants not complying with the code.

2. Conflicts within the Community

Conflicts arise naturally in human communities. Ours is no different. However, we are endeavoring to deal with and to learn from conflicts in ways that are beneficial to those directly involved and to the Shambhala community as a whole.

Conflict and disharmony, even between two people, can affect the whole community. Sometimes we may not want to look at this because it is easier to ignore it than to face it. But working with the raw materials of conflict and harmony is the practice given to us by our lineage.

Conflicts between individuals are often resolved informally between the people involved. However, it is sometimes necessary for the leadership of a Shambhala centre or group to create the conditions that enable the individuals to work together on their differences. Normally, a senior member of the Shambhala centre or group is asked or offers to bring the individuals together in a non-judgmental environment that empowers the people to sit in meditation together, then listen to each other and explore ways of resolving their differences. In most instances it is not the role of the convenor to act as an arbitrator. His or her role is similar to that of a meditation instructor—providing a container of wakeful energy, listening deeply, allowing as much space, silence, and intuitive insight to arise as possible, and manifesting as a protector for the integrity and dignity of both beings. Several such meetings may be needed. In some instances, the individuals may wish to be accompanied by a friend or other companion. In other instances, it may be helpful for the individuals to meet in the stronger container of a group of practitioners. In all cases, however, everyone must understand and agree that they are joining a circle of confidentiality. This provides a container in which individuals may feel freer to talk openly about deep-seated personal issues. Everyone else in the circle is a protector for that openheartedness and the arising of basic goodness. They have a sacred obligation to respect the privacy of the circle.

When creating a group of people to form such a circle, attention should be paid to the importance of diversity among the individuals. As far as possible, the group should not, for example, be comprised solely of people of the same gender, the same level of practice, or the same professional background. The greater the diversity of the group, the greater the range of perspectives and resonance available for the collective listening and compassionate practice that the group will undertake together with the individuals in conflict.

The possibility of reviving the former Upaya Councils, regionally and internationally, is being explored, along with the training of individuals to serve on such bodies. At the present time, however, attempting to resolve conflicts remains the responsibility of the local leadership at centres and groups. If specialist advice or assistance is needed, the Director of the Shambhala centre or leader of the group, may seek guidance and support from the Desung Corps.

3. Complaints Against Practitioners

Each Shambhala Centre and Group should notify its members and participants in its programs to whom complaints should be made if the behavior of any practitioner is distressing or harmful to others, or illegal. In the event of a complaint being made about the behavior of a practitioner (other than someone acting at the time in their capacity as a teacher, meditation instructor, program director or coordinator, or other office holder), it is the responsibility of the leadership of each centre or group to ensure that the complaint is promptly dealt with. The complaint will need to be looked into in such a way that the inherent dignity of all involved in the matter is respected. If the complaint is well founded, it is the responsibility of the leadership of the centre or group to ensure that appropriate action is taken. In most instances, bringing the individuals together in a circle of confidentiality, as is done for resolving conflicts, is recommended as the first step. The majority of complaints will resolve themselves through that process.

In the event of an extremely serious allegation being made about the behavior of an individual practitioner (other than someone acting at the time in their capacity as a teacher, program director or coordinator, meditation instructor, or other office holder), the centre or group may wish to adapt the Misconduct Procedure described below as a basis for dealing with the matter. However, only where there is no possibility of the centre or group dealing with the issue locally, and the leadership of the local centre or group specifically requests the intervention of the central bodies of the Shambhala mandala, will the matter be accepted under the Misconduct Procedure.

However, if the complaint is about the behavior of someone acting at the time in their capacity as a teacher, meditation instructor, program director or coordinator, or other office holder, the leadership of the Shambhala centre or group should refer the matter to the Misconduct Procedure described below.

4. Misconduct by Shambhala Office Holders

The Board of Shambhala International, at its meeting of July 2002, adopted a resolution on Shambhala Buddhist Conduct. It states:

Shambhala International is committed to a practice, study, and work environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. In addition to being bound individually and as a community to basic Shambhala and Buddhist standards of conduct, we are also citizens of the larger communities in which our centres are located worldwide and, therefore, must abide by public laws. These include but are not limited to laws pertaining to alcohol, drugs, and sexual conduct. Each individual has the right to practice, study, and work in an atmosphere that is free from discrimination.

In the event of individuals wishing to make complaints about situations or actions that may involve misconduct on the part of staff and others holding office within the Shambhala mandala, the following Misconduct Procedure is now in the process of being developed.

This process is not intended to be, nor should it be confused with, the legal processes of society at large. This process aims to provide a mechanism within our own community for ensuring that individuals who, for whatever reason, wish to make a complaint about the way in which they have been treated by staff, office holders, or leaders of the community may do so. It aims to offer appropriate procedures for such complaints to be investigated, assessed, and acted upon in the best interests of all those involved and for the benefit of the community as a whole.

This process inevitably has aspects that resemble the investigative and judicial mechanisms we are familiar with within society, but the foundation upon which we are proceeding differs in several significant ways. As a contemplative community, we endeavor to bring all activity of body, speech, and mind to the path of meditation, compassion, and wisdom. Behaviors that may be harmful to ourselves and others are regarded as karmic obstacles to be acknowledged, examined, and worked with on the basis that the innate nature of all beings is profound, brilliant sanity.

The basis of the process is not punitive, but restorative: to enable individuals to identify and correct harmful behaviors, to support all those who may have been harmed, and to assist development of mature community life. The nature of this work may involve the individual, those associated with their unfolding karma, as well as the community as a whole or its representatives, all of whom share a deep commitment to the well-being of each other.

The Basis for Invoking the Procedure

This procedure aims to address allegations of misconduct on the part of teachers, meditation instructors, program directors and coordinators, staff, and other office holders in the Shambhala community. It also aims to work with the distress involved in relation to any such allegations. It may be invoked in response to:

• Allegations about behavior that could possibly be unlawful;

• Allegations about actions that appear to violate specific vows taken by teachers, meditation instructors, program directors and coordinators, staff and other office holders in the Shambhala community;

• Allegations that point to a possible pattern of behavior that may have harmfully affected a range of individuals;

• Allegations that cause a level of disturbance within the community that require a formal response.

Misconduct can be understood as, but not necessarily limited to:

• Aggression: aggressive behavior of body, speech, or mind;

• Passion: inappropriate sexual behavior, misuse or misreporting of funds, etc.;

• Ignorance: not fulfilling one's duty in a way that causes harm to others.

The Misconduct Procedure can be invoked at any level of the Shambhala mandala. Any individual may seek to have the process invoked by contacting any office holder of the Shambhala mandala, who will refer the matter either to the President or Desung General. If there is sufficient basis to invoke the procedure, the President initiates the process in consultation with the Desung General. If, on the basis of a preliminary examination, it becomes clear that there is not a sufficient basis on which to apply this particular procedure, the person bringing the complaint will be notified, and also informed if there is any other way in which the Shambhala community can assist them with the difficulty they are having.

The Assessment Panels

The complaint is referred to an Assessment Panel. At the international level, there is an Assessment Panel chaired by the Desung General that includes a representative of the Office of the Sakyong and an Acharya. This panel is empowered to establish regional panels throughout the mandala.

The role of the international and regional assessment panels is to:

a) provide a container in which the individuals involved can express their grievances and respond to each other in a way that provides the ground for basic goodness to arise;

b) assist the parties in determining if there has been a violation of the principles that form the basis of our community, and the harm that has been caused by this;

c) assist the parties in discussing any action that needs to be taken to make amends for any such violation, and the steps that need to be taken to prevent such behavior in the future;

d) recommend any measure to be taken by any or all parts of the Shambhala mandala that could help lessen the likelihood of any such violation occurring in the future.

Normally the regional panels consist of three senior members of the sangha. They determine their own working methods depending on the situation in each case. Attention is paid to creating panels that have people of diverse characteristics. The panels are normally not comprised of people of the same gender, professional background, and so on; although the panel members normally are selected on the basis of their experience in dealing with this type of matter, their integrity, good judgment, and openheartedness.

Depending on the nature of the allegations being made, the matter may need to be investigated by a regional representative of the Desung Corps or may involve investigation and assessment at the international level—or a combination of both. The President, Desung General, and the other members of the assessment panels consult regularly to monitor the unfolding of this process and make whatever adjustments are needed in the interests of all involved.

If a person wishes to object to the presence of an individual on an assessment panel, they may do so in writing to the Desung General, who will be responsible for deciding the merits of the objection. If the objection is to the presence of the Desung General on the panel in a particular case, the decision will be left to the Acharya on the international assessment panel. If there is a complaint against the President, s/he will recuse himself from all matters to do with that particular complaint, and his/her role at all stages will normally be played by the Chair of the Council of the Makkyi Rabjam.

Stage One: Assessment

There is a need to assess the facts and, if possible, bring the parties together. Normally, a regional assessment panel will be established for this purpose. The regional assessment panel will take all necessary steps to contact the parties, assess the facts and bring the parties together in a circle of confidentiality. More than one meeting may be needed. It is not the role of the regional assessment panel to act either as judges or arbitrators. They provide a container of wakefulness, creating the ground in which basic goodness may arise. At an appropriate stage, they find it helpful to ask questions or to explore possible avenues for dealing with the complaint.

If it becomes clear that the complaint is well founded, a number of options may be explored. These might include the following possibilities, which may arise naturally from good communication within the circle of confidentiality. There may be a written or oral statement of apology. That statement would include a commitment to specific ways in which the individual agrees to work on him/herself during the ensuing months/years. The individual may agree to work on him/herself in some or all of the following ways:

• Stop all teaching and meeting with meditation students for a period of six months to a year (or longer) depending on the severity of the case.

• Meet with an addictions specialist for an assessment. Engage in sessions of therapy if his/her inappropriate activity is deemed to be chronic or habitual.

• Go into meditation retreats for 4-6 weeks during the next year. Relate to a mentor/senior teacher at regular intervals.

• More severe measures might be needed, possibly to protect the community, depending on the nature of the inappropriate behavior. (See below for the possible criteria of an outcome.)

Circumstances may require the Desung General to assign a representative to take a detailed statement from the individual(s) making the allegation. This needs to be completed as soon as possible. This may take the form of a signed statement, but if that is not possible or clearly not in the best interests of the individual, any other form of recording the individual’s complaint that can be reliably worked with can be used for establishing a reasonable basis on which to proceed.

The complaint then needs to be presented to the person(s) against whom the allegation has been made so that s/he can respond. This will normally take place in a manner determined by the regional assessment panel, which will then work with the individuals in the best interests of all concerned.

A teacher, meditation instructor, program director or coordinator, staff member, or other office holder who unreasonably refuses to participate in this process may in their absence be deemed unfit, on the grounds of a lack of confidence, to hold a particular office, and be suspended or have their participation in the community limited in some way until they address the issue at hand.

Stage Two: Outcome

The Regional Panel conducts its work and reports a provisional outcome to the International Assessment Panel. There will normally be a consultation between the panels in the interests of ensuring a reasonable level of consistency throughout the community and to establish if further investigation or discussion is needed before the Regional Panel concludes its work. Further investigation may be needed at this point.

The purpose of this process is not to administer punishment. It is to establish the truth (or truths) of the situation, enable amends to be made for any harm done, to correct the behavior pattern that caused the harm and identify possible ways in which others can be protected from such harm in future. Therefore, if the complaint is well founded, a suitable outcome will likely consist of some or all of the following components: (1) an acknowledgment by the individual that their behavior caused harm; (2) an apology for the harm done; (3) making amends for the harm caused; (4) an agreement not to repeat the behavior and, as needed, a commitment to undertake practice and/or therapy aimed at changing recurrent behavior; (5) a period that protects the community from such behavior while the change is taking place; (6) an acceptance of periodic monitoring or supervision as needed.

If the parties fail to agree on an outcome within the framework provided by the Regional Assessment Panel, or agree on a provisional outcome with which the Regional Assessment Panel disagrees, the Regional Assessment Panel has the authority to recommend its own provisional outcome to the International Assessment Panel, based on its own view of what may be in the best interests of the individuals involved and the larger interests of the community as a whole.

The aim is to achieve consensus between the Regional and International Assessment Panels, but if that is not possible, a majority view will be sufficient. The Desung General is empowered to make a final decision if necessary, including a finding that there was insufficient basis on which to reach an outcome.

The final outcome is reported in writing by the Regional Assessment Panel to the Desung General. This report is communicated to all those directly involved in the complaint.

All such reports are kept under secure file through arrangements made by the Desung General. Where the outcome requires that a person’s name be kept on a register for a period of time, that process is conducted under the supervision of the Desung General.

The Desung General will let Centre Directors, Resident Directors, and Dharmadhatu Directors know that the individual is suspended from particular responsibilities for a specified period of time while s/he is working on him/herself.

If, on examination by the Regional Assessment Panel or the appointed representative of the Desung General, it becomes clear that the complaint has been deliberately made on false grounds and constitutes an act of harm, the Regional Assessment Panel will work with the individuals involved to establish the most effective way in which amends can be made and, as needed, protection given to the reputation of the person against whom the false complaint was brought.

Stage Three: Appeal

Anyone involved in the case may make a written appeal to the President of Shambhala. This must be received within thirty days from the time that everyone has received the written report from the Regional Assessment Panel. The President will take such action as is necessary to process the appeal. The decision of the President will be final.

Counseling and Conciliation

At all stages of this process, the Regional Assessment Panel is also responsible for ensuring that the individuals involved in this process have access to whatever counseling, conciliation advice, or other appropriate assistance they need. The panel may seek the support of the Desung Corps or other members of the community. The purpose is to enable the individuals involved to deal with the unfolding of the karma of the situation in a way that deepens their understanding and compassion, both towards themselves and others.

A party to the case may be accompanied or advised by a friend or representative at any point in the process, including in any meetings with the assessment panel and so on, up to and including the appeal.


It is important to ensure that no one involved in the process is subjected to unsubstantiated and harmful gossip, and to create a dignified and concentrated container. This is important both for the person(s) bringing the complaint and for the person(s) against whom the complaint is made. In either instance, false perceptions and possible stigmatization associated with such accusations may inhibit the parties from confiding in anyone, which can have harmful consequences. Therefore, the principle of confidentiality is applied up to and including the conclusion of Stage Three, and allowing for the thirty-day period during which an appeal may be lodged with the President. This principle means that the matter is not discussed with people who are not involved in the process, but may include discussions by the parties with counselors or close confidants, to whom the principle of confidentiality also applies. This is to protect the interests of all parties concerned and to ensure that all communications are undertaken in a spirit of resolving and healing whatever conflicts have arisen or may yet arise in relation to the complaint. This principle should be explained to all those involved and an undertaking to respect confidentiality be obtained from each person prior to their making oral or written statements.

This principle is applied by the President, Desung General, and the assessment panels, taking into account the need for essential information to be disclosed as part of this process, while at the same time safeguarding the well being of the individuals involved.

Reporting to the Shambhala Mandala

The President is responsible for ensuring that an appropriate statement on these issues is made for the benefit of the Shambhala community. This need not involve the citing of individual names, but will be done in a manner that enables the community to understand the issues involved, the outcome, and the lessons to be learned. This may take the form of periodic reports on Care and Conduct, highlighting particular themes that have emerged in working with these issues.

Six Points of Mindful Speech

• Speak Slowly
• Enunciate Clearly
• Be Concise
• Listen to Yourself
• Listen to Others
• Use Silence as a Part of Speech

Shambhala Aspirations on Diversity, Accessibility and Compassionate Conduct

The teachings held by the Shambhala mandala challenge us as individuals to recognize and dissolve barriers that separate us from others. As a community of practitioners, we strongly encourage understanding of and respect for the basic goodness inherent in all individuals, social groups and cultures.

At this centre, we are committed to the teachings of our lineages, to the practice of meditation and meditation-in-action, and to genuine communication, As part of our intention to create enlightened society, these also help us gain insight into others' realities, appreciate diversity and work with conflict.

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 centre is committed to creating a practice, study, and work environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. In addition to being bound individually and as a community to basic Shambhala and Buddhist standards of conduct, we are also citizens of the larger societies in which our centres are located worldwide and, therefore, must abide by public laws. These include, but are not limited to, laws pertaining to alcohol, drugs and sexual conduct. Each individual has the right to practice, study and work in an atmosphere that is free from discrimination.

As with all intentions, personal or collective, these aspirations chart our way forward, and it is our mutual responsibility to work together with each other to respect them. If any individual wishes to make recommendations to Shambhala, or is concerned that the actions of a member of Shambala, including any of its office-holders, may not have been in accordance with these aspirations, please contact the Director of this Centre, the Rusung of the Dorje Kasung, or any appropriate person in the local leadership. Concerns about the behaviour of office-holders will be handled in accordance with the procedures set down in Shambhala Care and Conduct, a copy of which is available at this centre.

Ten Commitments of a Meditation Instructor

Active meditation instructors are expected to make a commitment to the following standards. Periodically, the Director of Practice and Education, shasrti, or acharya needs to remind MIs of these standards and to put them into practice through skillful administrative policies.

1. Confidentiality. An important aspect of instruction is creating and maintaining a feeling of trust between the student and the instructor. Confidentiality is key to fostering trust. Unless an instructor feels that the well-being of a student or of another person is truly at stake, what is discussed or revealed in a meditation interview should never be discussed with anyone.

2. Personal relationship / intimacy with students. There should never be sexual intimacy with a meditation student. If an intimate, personal relationship develops between a student and an instructor, the student should be assigned a new instructor, before one acts upon this relationship. It is obviously inappropriate for a formal teaching relationship to be mixed with a personal one.

3. Frequency of interviews. It is recommended that instructors meet with students every two months on average. When working with new students, more frequent interviews are recommended. There may be periods when a student needs or wants more time with the instructor, and obviously one should respond to that.

4. The recommended frequency of interviews at different practice levels is:

• New students. The second interview is very important and can be scheduled for two to three weeks after the first interview. Invite the new student to make the appointment at the conclusion of the first interview. This saves a call back, gets around the issue of handing out phone numbers, and is simple and straightforward. It is an invitation to the new practitioner to come back and talk about what has been happening as they begin to practice the technique. This should be regarded as an act of generosity and compassion, not as an act of being too pushy or invasive.

• Shamatha students. It is best to give instruction within a formal context rather than within an informal social setting. Ideally, the instructor could see students during nyinthüns.

• Ngöndro students. Ngöndro instruction should also be given in a formal context, ideally during group practice situations, such as nyinthüns or Vajra Assembly weekends. Sometimes group instruction can be scheduled with a few students doing the same ngöndro practice guided by a senior student. Although this format is useful to discuss many general issues, it is not a substitute for individual instruction.

• Werma Sadhana students. Although sadhakas are advanced students, it is recommended that instructors take an interest in the progress of their students and make contact with them on an ongoing basis. Sadhakas can receive much valuable instruction within the context of group discussion.

5. Distribution of students. It is recommended that instructors at all levels have some shamatha students. Vajrayana instructors are strongly urged to continue to participate at nyinthüns and give initial instruction, although in some cases this may be unrealistic.

6. Responsibility for staffing. Whenever possible, instructors should assist in staffing practice events at the centre. This could take any number of forms, depending on the individual instructor's inspiration: being umdze at a nyinthün, leading a practice intensive, helping with the tantra group, and so forth.

7. Practice continuity. Instructors should maintain a personal meditation practice of at least 20 hours a month, including feast practice.

8. Continuing education. Instructors should periodically complete one advanced meditation instructor training, such as lojong training, when offered by the local or major regional centre. Individual study such as Ngedön School is strongly recommended.

9. Meditation guidance. Instructors are urged to seek periodic guidance and instruction pertaining to their own practice.

10. Inactive status. Instructors who cannot meet these goals and commitments should discuss with the Practice Department Head whether or not they should become inactive. A decision to become inactive does not imply a penalty or a stigma. Their students will be transferred to other instructors. They may have to meet some qualification requirements to become active again.
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Re: Shambhala Guide Resource Manual: A Resource for Director

Postby admin » Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:42 am

Study Questions for Guide Training

Following is a list of study questions for you to consider in preparation for the Shambhala Guide Training Program. The questions cover topics organized into Lineage, Meditation Practice, Path, and Culture. Most questions are accompanied by reading references. For some of them you will need to draw upon your own personal understanding and do research into how your centre works.

During the training weekend there will be an oral group wisdom exchange based on the topics listed below. A general understanding of the themes is sufficient. Please do not feel a need to memorize foreign terms, dates, and names. Instead, consider questions that a new student might ask about Shambhala vision, our history and teachers, our approach to practice, our path, and why we use certain forms.

Main Sources

• SGRM: Shambhala Guide Resource Manual
• The Shambhala Principle by Sakyong Mipham
• Turning the Mind Into An Ally by Sakyong Mipham
• Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior by Chögyam Trungpa
• Great Eastern Sun by Chögyam Trungpa
• The Heart of the Buddha by Chögyam Trungpa

I. Lineage

1. What is Shambhala?

• Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior
• The Shambhala Principle

2. What happens at a Shambhala centre?

• Brochures at centre
• Independent research

3. What are 5 historical sources and wisdom traditions that flow into Shambhala?


4. Please describe the meaning of this sentence: “The Shambhala lineage is the host and protector of a number of different wisdom traditions while still being a specific lineage with its own identity, symbols, and leadership.”


5. What is the Shambhala terma?


6. What is Buddhism? Name the two Tibetan Buddhist lineages that most directly influence Shambhala?


7. How are Shambhala and Buddhism the same, different, and inseparable?

• Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior, pp. 18–32
• SGRM: Shambhala Buddhism

8. Who are the 4 Ancestral sovereigns? Why are they relevant today?


9. Who is Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and what is a Sakyong?


9. Who is Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche?


10. What is enlightened society?

• Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior, pp. 25–34
• The Shambhala Principle
• The Enlightened Society Treatise

11. How do we develop “cultural humility?


12. What is the Shambhala Aspiration on Diversity, Accessiblity, and Compassionate Conduct? (see appendix)

II. Meditation Practice

13. Why do we meditate?

• Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior, “Discovering Basic Goodness”
• Turning the Mind Into An Ally, “Peaceful Abiding”
• Dathun Letter

14. Describe the basic meditation instruction given to a newcomer in an open house, MIEL, and other introductory courses. What is the view? The instructions for posture, breathing, and mind/heart? Is this a “beginner” technique?


15. Describe basic goodness as ground, as path, and as fruition in meditation practice.


16. Describe the meditation instruction given in Level I of Shambhala Training. How and why is this technique slightly different from the open house instruction?

• Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior, pp. 35–31
• SGRM: “Dathün Letter” and “Open, Precise, and Beyond”

17. Describe the precise, open, and beyond meditation techniques. Which techniques correspond to each of the Shambhala Training Levels?

• SGRM: “Precise, Open and Beyond”

16. What is shamatha?

• Turning the Mind Into An Ally, “Peaceful Abiding,” p. 24
• Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, pp. 98, 153–7 18.

Describe concentric circles of meditation. How might these be applied?

• Turning the Mind Into An Ally, “How to Gather the Scattered Mind,” p. 58

19. Give a definition of mindfulness (trenpa) and awareness (sheshin).

• Turning the Mind Into An Ally, “Mindfulness and Awareness,” p.49

20. What is vipashyana?

• Turning the Mind Into An Ally
• The Heart of the Buddha

21. What is Shambhala Meditation? How does it influence our basic instruction?


III. Path

22. What are the four experiential stages of the Shambhala path?


23. What is the Way of Shambhala?


24. What is the Everyday Life Series?


24. What is Shambhala Training? What is the purpose of Levels I-V?


25. What is the Basic Goodness series?


26. What are some of the characteristics of the Shambhala Buddhist approach to the path?


27. Describe the role of simplicity retreats, weekthuns and dathuns on the path?


28. Describe how Enlightened Society Assembly is the ground for Warrior Assembly and how Warrior Assembly leads to Sacred World Assembly?


29. What are the three yanas of Buddhism? How are these presented on the path?

• Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, Introduction
• Hinayana: 203, 224, 98, 155–7, 167, 193–4, 231
• Mahayana: 158, 99, 168–9, 208, 218–9
• Bodhisattva : 99, 102–3 170–8
• Vajrayana or Tantra: 47, 217–43

30. What is basic goodness?

• Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior, pp. 29–33, 35–45, 51, 59, 66, 70, 71, 75, 80–85, 95, 154, 157 (unconditional)
• The Shambhala Principle

III. Culture

31. What does it mean to say that Shambhala is a culture? Relate this to the word, “ceremony.”

• The Shambhala Principle
• SGRM 3

2. What some of the contemplative arts essential for Shambhala?


33. Why is the Rigden in the center of our shrine?


34. Why do we have a chair for the Sakyong in our Shambhala Centers?


35. What do we chant?


36. What do we mean when we talk about creating Shambhala container, or creating sacred space? Be prepared to talk about the shrines, banners, images, bowing, the use of ikebana, and so forth.

• SGRM: Shrines
• Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior, pp. 110–111, 125–133, 109–115 (drala)

37. In the Shambhala culture we have several holidays, and often use celebratory rituals (such as on Shambhala Day) to create community. What might you say to a newcomer about Shambhala Day, including the meaning of some of the ceremonial aspects, such as lhasang and the monthly practice of the Shambhala Sadhana?

• SGRM: Annual Observances

38. How does a Shambhala Guide, meditation instructor, or leader in the Shambhala community handle intimate relationships during programs?

• SGRM: Intimate Relationships

39. What is the Shambhala Care and Conduct document? Please state the procedure in your own words. What is the purpose of this procedure?

• SGRM: Care and Conduct

40. What are some of the basic principles of Shambhalian speech and communication skills to be cultivated?

• Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior, “Letting Go,” pp. 77–84
• Myth of Freedom, “Love,” “Working with People,” pp. 86–92
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Re: Shambhala Guide Resource Manual: A Resource for Director

Postby admin » Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:43 am

Shambhala Guide Vow

May the three jewels, the dralas of Shambhala, and the ancient lineages of male and female warriors guide me and inspire me.

I, (Shambhala name or given name), as a Shambhala Guide, aspire to arouse the sanity of human society and of the Shambhala community in particular, in accordance with the guidance and instructions of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche.

I will maintain my own discipline in the sitting practice of meditation and cultivate mindfulness and awareness in my daily life. I will feel my own basic goodness.

Further, I will train my mind in the vast and profound way of the Shambhala warrior, and, as a Shambhala Guide, I will dedicate myself to the well-being and training of those who aspire to begin the practice of meditation and enter into the glorious culture of Shambhala. I will listen deeply, skillfully transmit the profound practice of meditation, and accurately represent the lineage, culture, and path of Shambhala.

I promise to work under the guidance of senior students and with my fellow Shambhala Guides in ensuring genuine and accurate communication throughout the community. At the same time, I promise to respect the confidentiality of all that might be confided to me during the performance of my role as a Shambhala Guide.

I pledge to faithfully represent the teachings of Shambhala and to encourage harmony within the sangha. I will be part of creating enlightened society.

On the whole, I commit myself to be genuine and good and extraordinarily sane in relating with myself and my fellow warriors in the Shambhala community. If I violate these pledges, I request that I may be removed from my role of Shambhala Guide, while remaining as a practitioner and student, and that I may, when it shall be appropriate, apply for reinstatement as a guide.

In making this vow, I express my loyalty and dedication to the glorious lineage of Shambhala.

May I be genuine, gentle, and fearless.
May I be of benefit to others.
May all beings enjoy profound, brilliant glory!
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