Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexually as

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.

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Keeping Alive the Transmissions of the great Vidyadhara, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche
by Bill Karelis
copyright 2008



Since He had lost the reality of virtue, it appeared as if its semblance was become more valuable.

-- The Monk: A Romance, by Matthew Lewis

His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche clearly stated in 1990 that there is no one in our sangha at the level of realization of the great Vidyadhara, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. And how could there be—since the Vidyadhara was, indisputably, a Mahasiddha? Not only Westerners, but many of the community of Tibetan practitioners of the Dharma, including the tulkus, especially those with contact with the West, or from Kham in Tibet, believe he was greatly enlightened. His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse also said of the Vidyadhara that “the son has surpassed the father,” meaning that the Vidyadhara’s enlightenment surpassed his own. This is saying something, as His Holiness is revered among all the sanghas; he served as the supreme Head of the Nyingma lineage, educated dozens of young tulkus, and gave teachings to the 14th Dalai Lama. If the Vidyadhara was greater than he, then the Vidyadhara was very great indeed.

I was present once with Kyabje Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, whose realization was so great that the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa prostrated to him, even as Tulku Urgyen regarded the Karmapa as his own guru–when Tulku Urgyen was given a Tibetan copy of the Sadhana of Mahamudra, one of the Vidyadhara’s terma. Tulku Urgyen remarked, “The person who wrote this must have been an amazing being.”

From the discoveries of Karma Senge Rinpoche, the Vidyadhara’s nephew, in Tibet, it has recently come to light that the Vidyadhara manifested as a tertön from the age of about eight. The incredible texts and practices he discovered during that period, such as Ati yoga practices, are now being translated and transmitted.

I once heard Ato Rinpoche say that the Vidyadhara was so fearless that he used to scare the other tulkus.

My calligraphy teacher, Eiichi Okamoto, at one time remarked to me that the black in the Vidyadhara’s calligraphies is somehow “blacker” than others’. To me, and to many, the Vidyadhara’s calligraphy alone speaks volumes of great depth.

And so the reports go of the Vidyadhara’s countless manifestations. Each of us has his or her favorite stories about him, no doubt—all pointing in the direction of his inconceivable enlightenment.

Literally millions worldwide have encountered the Vidyadhara through his books–that is, through the power of the truth they convey. And those book sales continue strong year after year, after thirty years or so, with no promotion. I understand that several of them have sold about a million copies each. They will without doubt define the direction of the Dharma worldwide for hundreds of years.

But it is not, of course, the number of books sold, nor other objective standards, which tell the depth and the breadth of the story. We, the Vidyadhara’s students, most of all, know his greatness to be expressed in vastness of his vision and profound realization, appearing personally before each of his students in a different light, but always the epitome of great kindness and strength. Since we met him personally, we have no doubt. He was, and still is a second Padmasambhava–the one who opened and continues to open the West to the genuine Dharma. The extent of the impact of his teachings is impossible to measure, now or in the future.

In fact, everything about the Dharma we understand, every wakeful form we have, every breath of uplifted spirit expressed in mudra, every manifestation of enlightened society from which we benefit, is due to him. There is no one in our sangha who can say this is untrue of themselves, including those who never met him; for the newly arrived among us, all the teachers are the Vidyadhara’s students, or students of his students. If he were not what he was, if he did not do what he did, we would have no living lineage, no centers, not the upayas, nor the environment, nor the confidence, nor the view that we are so fortunate to have inherited. He is truly haunting us, in the best and most pervasive sense. We are nothing without his manifestation, example, command and transmission. This is literally true.

The words of a Mahasiddha, and his instructions, the places he inhabited, how he conducted himself, his very clothing and the relics of his body, are regarded as inviolable in the Buddhist tradition. As an example of this reverence, at a teacher’s gathering at the 1999 Vajradhatu/Shambhala Seminary, the Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche said that we should not change “one word” of the Vidyadhara’s teachings, and compared him to the omniscient Longchen Rabjam, the great expositor of the Nyingma tantras, in this regard.

The loss of blessings and wisdom associated with changing or otherwise losing the instructions and forms left behind by such a one as the great Vidyadhara, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, would be irreplaceable, and sad beyond bearing. It would be a tragedy for humankind, owing the Vidyadhara’s pioneering role in bringing Eastern wisdom to the modern world. It is our task, as his students, trusted by him to propagate his lineage, to prevent this decline in his teaching stream, and to preserve the forms he left us, as well as to carry the oral tradition in our own beings.

The confidence about which he taught so thoroughly applies most profoundly to this last point. He said that one doesn’t have basic goodness—one is basic goodness. We are that. If we feel we are not, then we have not understood. But someone must have pointed it out to us for us to know this, even though it is in our being. We also communicate this to others, whether we have a big project to do so, or whether we are just going to the grocery store.

Nonetheless, even though we may carry the teachings in our person, in order to give to others what was given to us, we need relative means. Those means are his bequest to the world. Surely we must keep intact and alive not only his spoken and written words, but also the forms and symbols he conveyed in all the realms of speech and body, which also point to his mind transmission, so that future generations, hundreds of millions of beings, may benefit from his enlightened activity. Obviously, that inheritance must be kept alive and pure, as close to its original form as possible.

Everything he created must be noted; every detail which is related to form, every literal instruction, every bit of advice, every flash of prajña he manifested, every thing he conveyed to each of us personally, must be carried on, in whatever way we are able to do so. This is for our own sake–at the very least for the sake of our self-respect–as well as for the world. And it must be done with meticulous attention to detail. Overall, this is a huge task, which no one person can accomplish; fortunately, there are many, many of us, each with our own particular piece of the puzzle. If each of us contributes that piece, that larger picture will become apparent, surely.

As he said, if we don’t do it, who will?

Some say that forms always change, and so changing the detail of our inheritance from the Vidyadhara makes no difference, if we preserve the spirit. This is a naïve view of how the genuine Dharma is actually transmitted on the relative level. In practice, it is too laissez-faire; and it misses an essential point of Dharma. There is a necessary relationship between the trangdon, or literal transmission of the Dharma, and the ngedon, the actual meaning. The trangdon is the way the Dharma is communicated on the relative plane. The real meaning depends on literal detail to be understood, unless one is capable of transmitting mind to mind, or through wordless signs and symbols—and even the sign transmission requires detail. Since most of us do not yet enjoy the higher levels of perception, or, even if someone among us does, since others in the future may not, the Vidyadhara left us means by which to convey the true meaning of his teaching stream. Thus it is that he gave specific instructions, and thus it is that he left behind specifically designated forms. His instructions and forms are precious trangdon, invaluable upayas and media for enlightened mind to move into the future, through the vehicle of the present moment. It takes a siddha to have created such amazing forms as he did, and to have evolved such instructions. It is something an ordinary being cannot do with the same power, profundity and effect. His instructions and the forms he created are special, very special, beyond special—they are priceless.

He did not do these things arbitrarily. His enlightened activity and capability were and are so accurate and far-reaching, that following the detail of his instruction carries profound implications, blessings and potential realization for the practitioners lucky enough to receive them. I am not making this point up out of hope for permanence, or a quasi-Talmudic rigor, or some kind of conservative bias—it is the traditional Buddhist view of the magnificent and profound bequest of one with such a great enlightened manifestation as the Vidyadhara. For example, to this day we practice the Four Foundations of Mindfulness as they are taught in the Satipatthana Sutta of the Buddha. If we cannot practice or do not understand that Sutta, as practitioners, we would do well not to attribute our disconnection to a fault in the Sutta itself, or to a flaw in the Buddha’s teachings generally, and especially we would do well not dismiss the original words as inapt or random. We do well to try to make the meaning evident through study and practice of the original teachings, with updated commentary. The only doorway into understanding the meaning of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness as taught by the Buddha is reverence and respect for the words of that amazing text, along with reliable commentary, which, traditionally speaking, may be composed by a realized being or a great scholar. Otherwise, we cannot absorb them fully into our being, because we are obstructed by some kind of concept, perhaps in the form of a subtle grudge or sense of competition with the teachings.

When Khenpo Tsütrim Gyamtso Rinpoche taught the higher tantras at Karmê-Chöling throughout the 1990’s and into the 2000’s, he changed a few sentences which he felt were subject to clerical error in the Tibetan text, based on his unsurpassed scholarship and realization of the meaning of the words; but, besides this enlightened editing, he did not change one iota of the original tantras and later shastras. He made comparisons to other tantras, and he contributed his own dohas [realization songs], but as far as the texts being studied, he simply commented on those incomparable works, with a very light touch. That is the genuine tradition. The ur-texts and the great commentaries by enlightened masters stand on their own. The students trust in receiving those teachings in their purest, undoctored form.

We must hope and expect that millions of sentient beings, now and in the future, have faith in and will have faith in the instructions and forms the Vidyadhara laid out. These individuals’ credulity in the guidelines depends in turn on their faith that such guidelines are being passed on to them properly—in both the letter and the spirit accompanying their original transmission.

It is worth noting, also, that a distinguishing characteristic of the Mantrayana or Vajrayana method is to follow the literal instructions of the guru. So the detail takes a great deal of significance from the Vajrayana point of view. It relates directly to the transformation of one’s relative world. For example, at the Vajrayogini Abhiseka in 1996 at Shambhala Mountain Center, the Ven. Tenga Rinpoche, who served as the Dorje Loppön of Rumtek Monastery, whom the Vidyadhara called, “one of the truly joyful ones”—and who bestowed the Abhiseka-said we should not change an iota of the Vidyadhara’s instructions regarding any aspect of Vajrayogini practice. It was not a casual remark. There is no question in my mind that Tenga Rinpoche’s direction includes doing the practice by numbers, rather than by time, as Shambhala International now permits. Also, I believe it is safe to assume that Tenga Rinpoche, would extend this admonition to Chakrasamvara practice, as well as to the Karma Kagyu Ngondro, both of which again have recently been reworked by the Shambhala International Office of Practice and Study, on the advice of some Acharyas.

The change in Chakrasamvara requirement is based, once again on the perception of some Acharyas, that the practice has been too hard. The reasoning largely relies on the demographic observation that not everyone has finished the practice. But only about 50% of the people who began Karma Kagyu ngondro within our lineage have finished it, and about 50% of the people who have taken Vajrayogini Abhiseka have finished it, and about 50% of the participants in Shambhala Training Level I go on to Level II (this is an international statistic, that holds nearly everywhere), and about 50% of the people who take Level II make it to Level V, and only about one in seven people who enter a Shambhala Center return, and about one in seven of those who return actually stay into the future, and so on. These statistics are not demonstrably founded in the quality of programming, or practice content, or sitting time required, or any other identifiable external factor. They do not at all necessarily indicate there is something wrong. Perhaps, in the end, it is better to have encountered something challenging and have met that challenge somewhat, than to have encountered something easy and to have accomplished it. In the former case, perhaps, one learns more by experiencing some kind of endlessness and frustration of expectation. Who can say? Surely the karma of encountering the genuine article is profound. Yes, programming should adapt to people’s circumstances, but we should be very careful not to project our own habits and interpretations when we are adapting the reliable forms of the proven historical tradition.

Since Chakrasamvara practice as handed down to us has led to enlightenment of many adepts from the time of Tilopa (and before) to the present, somehow making it easier to finish the recitation practice seems inadvisable. Furthermore, the people I know who have finished this practice, as given us by the Vidyadhara, noticeably carry a level of shinjang, clarity and sanity which marks the path of solid practice. Personally, while I found that doing the full Chakrasamvara retreat of approximately three-and-a-half months challenging in the extreme, mainly owing to the number of hours one needs to practice each day, I also found that such retreat reaches to a level of the psychology which cannot be reached in group practice, daily practice or by lesser exertion in seclusion. Our practice tradition, particularly on the Karma Kagyu side, is famously one of “rock meets bone in insight.” Where else will this occur if not in Chakrasamvara retreat? All in all, it seems very necessary to warn the sangha about a change like this one to the Chakrasamvara guidelines, so that people may exercise intelligence in deciding their own direction.

Another change, about which I have recently been told (but did not read myself) is that it is no longer required to complete the Four Karmas Vajrayogini Fire Offering in order to attend Chakrasamvara Abhiseka. Why not? Would it be such an inconvenience? The Four Karmas Fire Puja is one of the noteworthy markers on our path.

I am making these points about our Karma Kagyu practice stream, not to disrupt the faith of new students, who may be following Shambhala International’s recent guidelines. If someone has faith in these guidelines, because they come directly from Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, and/or his representatives, and carry the blessing of the lineage, that is a wonderful thing. As stated, following the literal instructions of the guru forms the core of our lineage tradition, and, reputedly comprises the road to enlightenment. Faith of that kind is surely only good. I wholeheartedly support the paths of these individuals and their devotion to the instructions they receive, and I truly admire them for it. I do not feel they should feel badly about, or have doubt in their decision to follow the changed guidelines.

Still, the point about the Vidaydhara’s instructions being bypassed, or otherwise amended, may be helpful for the students wishing to follow them, once they know what they are. If one does not know what they are, then one is deprived of the choice to follow them. All should understand the implications of the decisions they make, with adequate background information—ideally before they make the decision, but also, in the absence of advanced notice, at least at some point. I do not believe that adequate information has been generally available from the Shambhala International Office of Practice and Study, which seems bound by loyalty and good intention, and perhaps wisdom, to present a simple, doable version of the path to the students. Therefore, I am initiating this discussion, because perhaps the full implication of these decisions has not been made clear. There is no blame, but the full facts should be known.

Nor need there be conflict in the sangha whatsoever over such differences in practice instructions. I don’t think it is appropriate to become angry over such differences or the revelation of such differences, for example. It is a private decision in a person’s practice path whom they seek to trust, and what instructions they seek to follow. There is room for different ways. Certainly there should be accommodation in Shambhala International for the paths the Vidyadhara laid out, side by side with whatever paths the Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche is laying out, where they differ. Clearly, there are some significant changes between the Vidyadhara’s guidelines and the Sakyong’s; and so, just as clearly, there are now parallel, as well as divergent paths. So far, Shambhala International has never taken the position that the Vidyadhara’s original instructions should not be followed, and one has no reason to expect that the organization would take that step. Therefore, following the Vidyadhara’s instructions falls within Shambala International’s practice and study guidelines, and, I hope and believe, always will.

In terms of people receiving help with following the Vidyadhara’s literal Karma Kagyu path, if they choose to do so, there are hundreds if not thousands of his students, authorized instructors at every level, who can help a student upon request. I would personally be available to take such an email or phone call, and to assist in connecting any student seeking this guidance with a local instructor qualified to give it.

Another example of a change in curriculum and practice is in the realm of shamatha practice. There is new emphasis on a form of shamatha practice, which does not link easily to non-conceptual vipashyana as the Vidyadhara taught it. And the non-conceptual vipashyana the Vidyadhara taught he also presented as the basis for the Vajrayana path; in addition, he said it is that which threads the whole path from beginning to end. And, indeed, the shamatha/vipashyana instructions he left us act as a bridge to Mahamudra. A great translator, belonging to a cousin lineage, asked me a few years ago, what has happened with the Vidyadhara’s basic meditation instruction? I answered I thought there was no contradiction between it and what the Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche has taught. I have presented about twenty-three weekend seminars on the Sakyong’s shamatha presentations, so I hope I know the material a little (I have also presented seven weekends including his vipashyana instructions, which also differ from the Vidyadhara’s presentation). I have now come to the conclusion that there is no problem if the practitioner receives the instructions and the theory associated with the both Vidyadhara’s and the Sakyong’s teachings in this realm, and learns and practices them both. But if a person learns only the Sakyong’s shamatha instructions, there is a problem. The problem is the absence of a discernible bridge to non-conceptual vipashyana. This is likely show up later in one’s practice life as ignorance.

The XVIIth Karmapa said in Boulder during his June 2008 visit here that shamatha per se does not automatically lead to vipashyana experience; he did not invent this view–it is quite traditional. In other words, the basic meditation instruction from the Vidyadhara, with its emphasis on letting go, and which does naturally lead to non-conceptual vipashyana, is a far cry from what students now entering a Shambhala Center are likely to receive in an introductory program (except Shambhala Training Level I). The transmission of basic meditation from the Vidyadhara is half cut in that regard.

It is as if the continuity of the past, so carefully wrought and selected, were being supplanted, for reasons which are beyond the scope of this article to explore. The sangha should know, in my view, what we are losing. The Buddhist world is growing around us quite healthily. (To put it this point business terms, we are losing market share.) The main point is that we seem to be losing the heart of our inheritance. We seem to be tasting various practice streams, changing yidams, shrines, and lineage affiliations every few years, searching for an identity, when we already had the best possible resources and the best possible identity, from the best possible authority and judge, the Vidyadhara himself.

It is not as if there is not room to grow and create within the forms and container the Vidyadhara left us. Quite the opposite! By respecting and growing those traditions, we could evolve the most mature, lovely, spacious, rich and salutary Dharma environment and teaching stream in the world. Any other practices and liturgies could be included beautifully. But by a lack of fidelity to our own inheritance, we are throwing out the old vines, the ones that produce the best wine, in favor of an experiment.

Anyone steeped in the Vidyadhara’s teaching stream will acknowledge, without question, that it is not surviving fully or even well in Shambhala International. Those who did not know him have no way to make this determination for themselves—so it is for them and for the future, really, that I am writing this article. Probably the Vidyadhara’s direct students could live out their lives peacefully, regardless of Shambhala International policy, if we had no concern for the next generation, and the one after that, and so on. So I hope the newer students will understand this motivation, and take it as it is meant. There is no intention to drive a further wedge between generations or between supporters of the Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and his non-supporters, but quite the contrary: the intention is to bind together the divergent views, by calling on the one great master who could really help us now—the Vidyadhara. Since, like Padmasambhava himself, the Vidydhara is still around, this is possible—highly possible.

Preserving the Vidyadhara’s teaching stream and keeping it alive only benefits everyone. I do not know one person who would say other than that. The Sakyong increasingly invokes the Vidyadhara in his talks, so he must feel it as well. If one were to take the view that the Sakyong should, as our current lineage holder, make the changes that seem appropriate him, in order to help beings, that is also not contradictory. Let those changes be made. Let us at the same time codify, acknowledge, venerate, practice and pass on the Vidyadhara’s teaching stream entire.

Let us not dance on the Vidyadhara’s grave in the process—as, I am sorry to say, actually occurred on July 20th, 2008, after the Speech Empowerment of the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya at Shambhala Mountain Center. We actually danced to rock music on the ground floor of the Stupa, which the person standing next to me, who has been with the Stupa since ground was first broken, and every year afterward, said to me was “a first.” This kind of action imprints one in a very negative way. The Buddhist tradition, going back to the time of the Buddha, is to circumambulate a Stupa, and practice silently at a Stupa, or to do mantras, as it represents the enlightened mind of the guru–not to dance to rock music on it. From a non-theistic point of view, the reason for not engaging this kind of action has not to do with notions of what is holy, as opposed to what is profane, but with what happens to the state of mind of the person who takes that action. It is matter of respect for the Nirmanakaya of enlightened mind; the Stupa is the teacher himself, not a monument to his memory.

The claim that remembering the Vidyadhara obstructs the fresh manifestation of our lineage has no basis. That is like saying we should cease referring to the Buddha, because we have our own living guru. The Buddha is not going to obstruct our Buddhist lineage in any way, obviously. I heard one of the Warriors of the Lodge say once that he is sick of hearing about the Vidyadhara. Perhaps he was referring to habitual patterns of some students living in the past. Perhaps fifteen years ago, there was a point to making a sharp distinction between the past and present. But that logic no longer serves the situation. It is simply not true that we, as a community, or we, as senior students, are clinging to the Vidyadhara’s memory, instead of living in the present Dharmic norm, generally speaking, although perhaps it does occur. The problem here is not clinging to the past. The problem is competing with it.

An egregious example of a change in Buddhist form is the placement of the main shrine in the Seminary tents. It is being placed on the western side. In the matter of feng shui, the Vidyadhara stated, “We have our own Karma Kagyu (feng shui) tradition.” The renowned Karma Chagme, a great Karma Kagyu adept, for one, elucidated principles of feng shui according to the Dharma, and recommended that shrines always be placed on the eastern or northern walls, as in fact they invariably are, in my experience, in India, Bhutan, Korea, and Tibet. Now we have our principal shrines being placed in the direction of the setting sun, which seems highly emblematic and ironic. Of course, from a certain point of view, it’s all arbitrary—from this same point of view, so are the colors of any mandala. But that does not mean we regard the directions and colors as random, nor the subtle dictates of our own tradition, with their universal implications. (And if we did so, then there would be no reason to put the shrine on the west wall.) It is the opposite. The subtlety of such arrangements should be left to the great Buddhist masters to determine. In this case, they all agree on the particular form—shrines to the east and north.

In the new curricula designed for the Shambhala Centers, publicized this summer (2008), the principle of the Three Yanas is largely absent. The principle of the Three Yanas provided the main format for the Vidyadhara’s Buddhist presentation; many of his books are divided according to this format, and his Seminaries also followed it—because it is the format to which our entire Kagyu/Nyingma tradition adheres, based on the Vajrayana teachings of India.

There is virtually no Abhidharma left in the Sutrayana and Vajrayana Seminaries, which now run five weeks (taken together), instead of the ten weeks they ran during the Vidyadhara’s lifetime. So the concerted preparation of the entering student before receiving Vajrayana transmission is being cut back, apparently out of concern for numbers (that is, it has been made more convenient to attend both Seminaries, on the theory that then more people will be able to attend). One now receives transmission at the beginning of Vajrayana Seminary, in other words, after two weeks of Sutrayana Seminary experience, plus a few days of Vajrayana Seminary, as opposed to the seven-nine weeks preparation required during the Vajradhatu Seminaries of the 1970’s and 1980’s.

The hallmark of careful preparation of the entering student, one of the Vidyadhara’s greatest contributions to Dharma in the West, which has purified the motivation and resolved the doubts of so many, before they entered the Vajrayana, has now been abridged. Who knows what effect this will have on the practice momentum of students later. Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche has remarked that the Vidyadhara’s students are good practitioners; this reality appears very closely related to early preparation on the path. It is definitely my experience that more preparation helps a great deal (I was a backwards student and had to do a lot of practice before being admitted to Seminary).

Ngedon School, initiated by the Vidyadhara with great deliberation, and put in the hands of Reggie Ray and Judith Simmer Brown, no longer hosts classes in person. There is an on-line version. As a result, the Ngedon School is losing its life strength. As a core faculty member of the Ngedon School who has not taught in the School for five years, it appears to me that the future of the Ngedon School is in question.

The Vidyadhara’s Seminary talks, great gems of Dharma, are barely studied any more. They are falling out of use in the core Shambhala curriculum.

In sum, our beautiful, comprehensive Vajrayana path from the Vidyadhara is being let slowly slip away by the organization he founded to perpetuate it.

That has been a summary of some of the issues on the Buddhist side of the equation, with regard to following the Vidyadhara’s instructions and the paths he laid out, and propagating the associated forms. I make this offering with the aspiration to garner, for all beings, the blessings which accrue to following the instructions of an enlightened being.

Those students who take the Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche as their guru and who find continuity, rather than discontinuity in our practice stream are very fortunate indeed. For those people, there is no contradiction. Perhaps their view is very pure. It is a great cause for celebration indeed when the devotion of the student reaches this far, so as to find no break between generations with regard to the teachers/student relationships.

For myself, having had the incredible privilege of presenting the Dharma almost ceaselessly for fifteen years in all corners of the globe, I have also discovered that we, the Vidyadhara’s students, do have a good chance of carrying on his work and to give what we know to the world. As it says in the Supplication to the Takpo Kagyu: “I hold your lineage.” Yes, we, the Vidyadhara’s students, hold his lineage. It is not that we seek to do that; we simply do. We cannot deny it any longer, if we ever did. If we feel we are too neurotic to do so properly, or if we are in fact too neurotic to do so properly, then we cannot quite yet. There is no problem in either case. It is not a matter of proclaiming ourselves; one should not do that. It is a matter of life unfolding in a way that actually helps others.

I regard my peers, the original students of the Vidyadhara, my Vajra brothers and sisters, as like a string of pearls. Each is distinct, each is lovely and deep, and together they make a breathtaking display. Of course, we become more eccentric, in a sense, the older we get, as all practitioners seem to, but we also become rounder and fatter, fuller with wisdom, humor and pzazz–and this makes the string of pearls even more lustrous, and more opulent. We may, as a group, have a lot to learn, but we also have a lot to give, and a great deal of fearlessness, knowledge and good cheer, coming from devotion and Dharma practice and study. John Roper, for example, faced his death with equanimity, at least from what I saw. (I checked this with his wife, Karen, recently, and she more or less confirmed my observation–with a wry smile such as only a spouse can convey.) Robin Kornman, who died last year, flourished the Shambhala virtues, such as lungta, with such joie de vivre, intelligence and unselfconscious generosity, I wonder who else will come along in my life with that particular brilliance. Lisa Hilliard has recently passed away; it seems to me, she held the understanding and ability to transmit Mahamudra. At my Seminary, in 1978, the Vidyadhara remarked, “There are many great teachers in this room.” How he knew that is hard to say, of course, but he did say it–and it is turning out to be true. Above all, he taught us confidence in who we really are—and thus we especially delight in being his students, and in this open secret which he always taught.

Needless to add, this view, this confidence can be passed on to the next generation, and should be passed on. No doubt the next generation is also a string of pearls in the making.

I believe that we, the senior students of the Vidyadhara, do already, all of us, in our ordinary lives, keep the Vidyadhara’s teaching stream alive. We do this simply by continuing to practice what we have already learned, simply by continuing to live as we do and to be as we are. We can’t help it in a sense. Certainly, a relationship with the mother organization is not necessary to continue to embody and propagate the Vidyadhara’s mind. And in fact, mostly that embodiment is happening in everyday circumstances, not in an organizational context.

This is both good and bad news. It is good news in the sense that we cannot really lose our understanding or our connection, no matter what Shambhala International chooses to do. It is bad news in the sense that we have become dispersed, and we have perhaps put too much faith in the organization itself to carry on the Vidyadhara’s work. We have been too naive. We need to pass on what we know. At the same time, we are all growing old. This reality gives our ability to act a certain edge. We actually don’t have much time.

The main point is that we, the senior students, to a very great extent, much greater perhaps than we would like to believe, hold the Vidyadhara’s transmissions. To preserve those transmissions in living form, we must be unafraid to manifest ourselves. What has all our training been for, if not to do this? Now is the time to make our warriorship available to the world.

We, the students of the Vidyadhara, and also the students of the Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, hold the Surmang Kagyu tradition in our very hands. If we do not perpetuate it, it will very likely not be perpetuated at all, because the Surmang Monastery may not survive is current political environment. So the Surmang practices must continue in the West. Vajrayogini and Chakrasamvara practice is dying in some or even most of the urban Shambhala Centers, owing to deëmphasis, loss of focus, loss of heart and other reversible causes. The future promises to bring more attenuation, until these practices no longer survive in the Vajradhatu/Shambhala community, unless we do something definite to change the current direction.

I offer these few words about preserving the life of the forms, words, instructions and transmissions of the great Vidyadhara, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, to his students, to the next generation of practitioners, and to society, so that all may recall his greatness and honor it. I supplicate him to continue to awaken in us the prajña to know dross from gold, the motivation to pursue the Satdharma in this life, and the compassion to show his world for all to see.

Bill Karelis []
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:25 am

Shambhala Buddhism
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 6/30/19



Keeping Alive the Transmissions of the great Vidyadhara, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche
by Bill Karelis

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The term Shambhala Buddhism was introduced by Sakyong Mipham in the year 2000 to describe his presentation of the Shambhala teachings originally conceived by Chögyam Trungpa as secular practices for achieving enlightened society, in concert with the Kagyu and Nyingma schools of Tibetan Buddhism.[1] The Shambhala Buddhist sangha considers Sakyong Mipham to be its head and the second in a lineage of Sakyongs; with his father, Chögyam Trungpa, being the first.

Distinguishing characteristics

Shambhala Buddhism partly derives from the teachings of Shambhala, as originally proclaimed by Chögyam Trungpa, which state that "there is a natural source of radiance and brilliance in the world, which is the innate wakefulness of human beings. This is the basis, in myth and inspiration, of the Kingdom of Shambhala, an enlightened society of fearlessness, dignity and compassion." Furthermore, "Shambhala vision applies to people of any faith, not just people who believe in Buddhism. The Shambhala vision does not distinguish a Buddhist from a Catholic, a Protestant, a Jew, a Moslem, a Hindu. That's why we call it the Shambhala kingdom. A kingdom should have lots of spiritual disciplines in it."[2]

The Great Eastern Sun

Shambhala and Shambhala Training

Main article: Shambhala Training

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

At the 1976 Seminary in Land O'Lakes, Wisconsin [3], Trungpa Rinpoche began giving teachings, some of which were gathered and presented as Shambhala Training,[4] inspired by his vision (see terma) of the legendary Kingdom of Shambhala. Shambhalian practices focus on using mindfulness/awareness meditation as a means of connecting with one's basic sanity and using that insight as inspiration for one's encounter with the world. The Shambhala of Chögyam Trungpa is essentially a secular approach to meditation, with roots in Buddhism as well as in other traditions, but accessible to individuals of any, or no religion. The greater social vision of Shambhala is that it is possible, moment by moment, for individuals to establish enlightened society. Trungpa's book Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior provides a concise collection of the Shambhala views.

Shambhala Training is administered worldwide by Shambhala International. Shambhala Training is presented in a series of weekend programs, the first five of which are called "The Heart of Warriorship", and the subsequent seven "The Sacred Path". The Warrior Assembly is the fruition of the Shambhala Training Sacred Path program. During Warrior Assembly, students study the Shambhala terma text, The Golden Sun of the Great East, and receive the ashé practices of stroke and lungta.

Shambhala within Shambhala Buddhism

After the year 2000, with the merging of the secular teachings of Shambhala and the Buddhist teachings of Vajradhatu into Shambhala Buddhism, completion of Shambhala Vajrayana Seminary (which itself requires taking Buddhist refuge and bodhisattva vows, as well as Buddhist vajrayana samaya vows) became a condition for receiving the highest Shambhala teachings, such as those of Werma and the Scorpion Seal Retreat. In turn, Warrior Assembly became a prerequisite for attending the Vajrayana Seminary.

The Rigden Abhisheka enters the student into the practice of the Werma Sadhana. It is open to graduates of Shambhala Vajrayana Seminary who have completed their Shambhala ngöndro and to students who have already received the Werma Sadhana and completed their Kagyü Ngöndro.

Shambhala Terma

Certain Shambhala practices derive from specific terma texts of Trungpa Rinpoche's such as Letter of the Black Ashe, Letter of the Golden Key that Fulfills Desire, Golden Sun of the Great East, and the Scorpion Seal of the Golden Sun, in long and short versions. Trungpa Rinpoche is believed by his students to have received these teachings directly from Gesar of Ling, an emanation of Padmasambhava, and the Rigden kings.[5] Their terma status was confirmed by the Nyingma master Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

The Shambhala dharma practices derived entirely or in part from these texts include those of werma, drala, Wind Horse (Tib. lungta), and meditations on four "dignities of Shambhala": tiger (Tib. tak), lion (Tib. seng), garuda (Tib. kyung) and dragon (Tib. druk). Jamgon Ju Mipham Gyatso, a great 19th century Nyingma lama and the predecessor of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, wrote about many of these practices and concepts as well. Some, such as the "stroke of Ashé", have no known precedents.

Zen Influence

Trungpa Rinpoche was deeply influenced by his friend Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, a Japanese Zen master who was one of the first accomplished teachers to present dharma to Westerners.[citation needed] As a result of this influence, certain attributes of form in Shambhala Buddhism are derived from Zen, rather than Tibetan Buddhism. The shrine rooms in Shambhala Buddhism, reflecting the Zen aesthetic of Kanso (簡素) or simplicity, tend to be sparsely furnished and decorated, whereas traditional Tibetan Buddhist shrine rooms are elaborate, ornate, and colorful. As in Zen but unlike Tibetan Buddhist practice, meditators engage in group practice of shamatha-vipashyana.

In addition, Shambhala Buddhists have adopted the practices of kyūdō, ikebana (kado), tea ceremony, oryoki, calligraphy, and other traditional Japanese arts as a means of extending the mind of calm-abiding and awareness to more active practices.

Elements of Bön, Taoism, and Confucianism

To a lesser extent, Trungpa Rinpoche incorporated other elements into Shambhala tradition that he thought would be beneficial to practitioners. From the Bön religion, the lhasang ceremony is performed; other elements of shamanism play a role. From Confucianism comes a framework of heaven, earth, and man for understanding the proper relationship between different elements of compositions of all kinds. From Taoism comes the use of feng shui and other incorporations.

Dorje Kasung

The Dorje Kasung is a group that was formed by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to support the transmission of the Shambhala teachings by helping create an appropriate environment for them to be taught in. The Dorje Kasung accomplish this by providing a gentle and uplifted presence at teaching events, providing security services, providing driving and personal assistance to the teachers, and working with any issues of conflict or health that may arise in the community.

The training and model of the Dorje Kasung is based on military forms, such as hierarchy, uniforms, and drills. The purpose of utilizing the military format is not to propagate war, but to take advantage of the discipline and energy of military forms to embody and communicate compassion.The practice of Dorje Kasungship is founded on the mahayana Buddhist principle of compassionate action, and inspired by the vajrayana Buddhist emphasis on working directly with the energy of neurosis and transforming it into wisdom. Thus, through engaging directly with military forms, they aspire to fulfill the vision expressed in their motto, "Victory Over War".[6]

Maitri and Mudra

Maitri is a therapeutic program that works with different styles of neurosis using principles of the Five Buddha Families. Mudra practice, first explored by the Mudra Theater Group, is based on traditional Tibetan monastic dance training and the teachings on mahamudra.

Shambhala Art

Shambhala Art can be seen as a process, a product, and an art-education program. As a process, it brings wakefulness and awareness to the creative and viewing processes through the integration of contemplation and meditation. As a product, it is art that wakes us up. Shambhala Art is also an international nonprofit art-education program based on the Dharma Art teachings of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, the founder of Shambhala. Its purpose is to explore, from the viewpoint of a meditative discipline, the creative process and the product called art.[citation needed]

Traditional Buddhist Practices

Shambhala Buddhism holds various meditation techniques of traditional Tibetan Buddhist lineages, including shamatha/vipashyana, zazen, madhyamaka, mahamudra and Dzogchen, tonglen, Lojong, traditional yidam practices such as Vajrayogini, Chakrasamvara, Vajrakilaya, Jambhala, Gesar, Tara, Manjushri, and Vajrasattva.


This section is in list format, but may read better as prose. You can help by converting this section, if appropriate. Editing help is available. (September 2009)

Main article: Vajradhatu

The term "Shambhala Buddhism", as used to describe the lineage and community led by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, came into use around 2000.

• In 1970, the Shambhala community had its origins with the arrival of the 11th Trungpa tülku, Trungpa Rinpoche, in North America. The first established center of his teachings was "Tail of the Tiger" in Barnet, Vermont (now Karmê Chöling).
• In 1971, a second branch of the community began to form when Rinpoche began teaching at the University of Colorado. The Rocky Mountain Dharma Center was established, now known as Shambhala Mountain Center, near Fort Collins, Colorado. In the early 1970s the community grew rapidly and attracted the involvement of such notables as Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, and many others
• In 1973, the Shambhala community was incorporated in Colorado as Vajradhatu. Vajradhatu hosted visits by the Sixteenth Karmapa (head of the Kagyu School) in 1974, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (head of the Nyingma School) in 1976, and the Fourteenth Dalai Lama in 1981.
• In 1974, Naropa Institute was founded, a contemplative studies and liberal arts college, now fully accredited as Naropa University.[7]
In 1975, Shambhala Lodge was founded, a group of students dedicated to fostering enlightened society.
• In 1975, at an October party at Snowmass Colorado Seminary, Trungpa Rinpoche ordered his Vajra guard (i.e., the Dorje Kasung) to forcibly break into the room of his guest, Dana Naone, who he then ordered to be brought before the crowd and stripped naked, with onlookers ignoring her pleas for help and for someone to call the police.[8]
• In 1976, Trungpa Rinpoche began his cycle of Shambhala teachings and, with his students, manifesting forms of Shambhala society. Kalapa Court was established in Boulder, Colorado, as Trungpa Rinpoche's residence and a cultural center for the Vajradhatu community. Thomas F. Rich was empowered as Vajra Regent Ösel Tendzin and lineage holder in the Karma Kagyü and Nyingma lineages.
• In 1977, Shambhala Training was founded to promote a secular approach to meditation practice and an appreciation of basic human goodness.[7] The Gyalwa Karmapa, the head of the Kagyü lineage, confirmed the Vajra Regent's appointment as a lineage holder. Ösel Tendzin was the first Western student to hold such a position in the Kagyü lineage.[9]
• In 1978, Trungpa Rinpoche conducted the first annual Kalapa Assembly, an intensive training program for advanced Shambhala teachings and practices.[7]
• In 1979, Trungpa Rinpoche empowered his eldest son, Ösel Rangdröl Mukpo, as his successor and heir to the Shambhala lineage.[7]
• In 1986, Trungpa moved the international headquarters of Vajradhatu to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he died the following year. A large number of his disciples emigrated from the United States to Nova Scotia along with him.
• In 1987, after Trungpa's death, Tendzin's role as spiritual head of Vajradhatu lasted until around 1989. Citing an AIDS-related infection, allegations arose that Tendzin had passed HIV to a male partner in the Colorado congregation, who in turn unknowingly infected his female partner.[10] Tendzin, who was HIV-positive, knowingly had sex with students for three years without disclosing his infection. He had a delusion that his enlightened status protected himself and others from AIDS.[11] It eventually came out that the Vajradhatu board of directors had known of the problem for more than two years and had done nothing about it.[12]
• After the death of Ösel Tendzin in 1990, Ösel Rangdröl Mukpo became spiritual head of what would become Shambhala International.
• In 1995, Ösel Rangdröl Mukpo was recognized by Penor Rinpoche as the reincarnation of Ju Mipham and enthroned as Sakyong. The Sakyong—literally "earth-protector"—is a chögyal—"dharma king"—who holds and propagates the teachings of Shambhala.[13]
• In 2000, at the Kalapa Assembly,[14] Sakyong Mipham made a proclamation[15] that started the process of enclosing the previously secular teachings of Shambhala within the container of a new buddhist lineage, Shambhala Buddhism.
• In 2001, on a visit to Tibet, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche met the 12th Trungpa tülku, Choseng Trungpa Rinpoche, an incarnation discovered by Tai SituRinpoche in 1991.
• In August 2007, The Sakyong married Khandro Tseyang Palmo with a ceremony conducted by Drupwang Penor Rinpoche during the Kalapa Festival in Halifax. Khandro Tseyang Palmo is currently the Sakyong Wangmo, a title held previously by Lady Diana Mukpo, now the Druk Sakyong Wangmo.
• In July 2018, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche stepped down from leadership after the release of a third-party investigative report extensively documenting numerous accounts of sexual misconduct involving his students.[16][17]

The Shambhala Buddhist community today

Shambhala Center, Boulder, Colorado

Today, there are over two hundred Shambhala Meditation Centers, Groups and Residential Retreat Centers around the world, mostly in the United States, Canada, Europe and South America,[18][19] the largest communities being Halifax, Nova Scotia; Boulder, Colorado; northern Vermont; and New York City.

Shambhala-inspired schools

• Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado
• The Shambhala School in Halifax, Nova Scotia
• Alaya Preschool in Boulder, Colorado

Shambhala International

The umbrella organization that encompasses many of the distinct institutions of Shambhala Buddhism is called Shambhala International. Shambhala International, which is based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, links a worldwide mandala of urban Buddhist meditation centers, retreat centers, monasteries, a university, and other ventures, founded by the Tibetan Buddhist teacher the Trungpa Rinpoche under the name Vajradhatu. Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche is the present spiritual and executive head of the organization, which he renamed and reorganized in 1990.

Spiritual teachers

• Druk Sakyong Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche (deceased)
• Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche (stepped down due to sexual misconduct with students)
• Vajra Regent Ösel Tendzin (deceased, did not step down but was forced into retreat due to disagreements on how to handle his sexual misconduct with students)

The Shambhala Buddhist sangha has teaching faculty, supporting individual study and practice with mentorship, guidance, personal meditation instruction, junior and senior teachers, and western spiritual teachers (acharyas) who support and guide the Shambhala sangha, including:

• Acharya Dale Asrael
• Acharya Emily Bower
• Acharya Christie Cashman
• Acharya Orhun Cercel
• Acharya Pema Chödrön
• Acharya Dorje Loppon Lodro Dorje
• Acharya Gaylon Ferguson
• Acharya Moh Hardin
• Acharya Arawana Hayashi
• Acharya Jeremy Hayward
• Acharya Daniel Hessey
• Acharya Samten Kobelt
• Acharya Judy Lief
• Acharya Mitchell Levy
• Kalapa Acharya Adam Lobel
• Acharya Noel McLellan
• Acharya Larry Mermelstein
• Ashe Acharya John Rockwell
• Acharya Eve Rosenthal
• Acharya Judith Simmer-Brown
• Acharya Eric Spiegel
• Acharya Richard John

Land centers

The Shambhala "land centers" are retreat centers, generally located in more rural settings around the world.

• Gampo Abbey in Pleasant Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada
• Dorje Denma Ling in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia, Canada
• Shambhala Mountain Center in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado
• Sky Lake Lodge in Rosendale, New York
• Dechen Chöling in Mas Marvent, France
• Karmê Chöling in Barnet, Vermont

Larger Shambhala Mandala

Many entities are considered part of the larger Shambhala mandala inspired by Chogyam Trungpa, although they may not be legally part of the Shambhala International organization.

• Shambhala Training
• Naropa University an accredited, private liberal arts university founded in 1974 by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche
• Shambhala Institute for Authentic Leadership
• Nalanda Translation Committee
• Ngedon School of Higher Learning
• Kalapa Ikebana a school of Japanese flower arranging founded by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche
• Miksang Photography based on the Dharma Art teachings of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche
• Maitri Space Awareness Maitri Five Wisdom Energies practice
• Konchok Foundation supporting communities in Tibet
• Shambhala Art

Choseng Trungpa, the Twelfth Trungpa Tulku, along with the other tulkus and leaders of Surmang, asked Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche to assume stewardship of Surmang Monastery and its people. Sakyong Mipham has also been asked to assume responsibility for Weyen monastery, the Gesar orphanage, and the Mipham Institute in Golok, and Khamput Monastery in Kham.

Related publications

Shambhala International has inspired or sponsors a number of publications, and others exist in some degree of relationship to the larger Shambhala International/Shambhala Buddhism mandala.

• Shambhala Media, distributor of published works and recordings of Shambhala
• Shambhala Publications was founded and is published by Acharya Samuel Bercholz, a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage, but has no legal relationship to Shambhala International
• Buddhadharma: The Practitioner's Quarterly, journal of Buddhist practice, published by the Shambhala Sun Foundation
• Lion's Roar, Buddhist-inspired bimonthly magazine of Buddhism, meditation, culture, and life, published by the Shambhala Sun Foundation
• The Shambhala Times, online community magazine

See also

• Index of Buddhism-related articles
• Secular Buddhism


1. "About Shambhala". Archived from the original on November 29, 2009.
2. Trungpa,, C. (2001). Great Eastern Sun: The Wisdom of Shambhala. Shambhala Publications. p. 133.
3. Midal 2001, pp. 233–247
4. Midal 2001, p, 220
5. Mukpo, p. 223
6. "True Command: The Teachings of the Dorje Kasung". Kalapa Publications. Retrieved November 30, 2017.
7. "11th Trungpa Chronology". Archived from the original on October 13, 2007.
8. Sanders, 1977, throughout; Miles 1989, pp. 466–470; and Clark 1980, pp. 23–25
9. Tendzin Shambhala Bio "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 11, 2009. Retrieved July 22, 2009.
10. "A Church's Turmoil". The New York Times. February 26, 1989. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
11. John Dart (March 3, 1989). "Buddhist Sect Alarmed by Reports that Leader Kept His AIDS a Secret". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on August 19, 1999.
12. Coleman, James William. The New Buddhism: The Western Transformation of an Ancient Tradition (2001) Oxford University Press. Page 170.
13. Sakyong Shambhala Bio ... raphy.html
14. Kalapa Assembly 2000 CollaborationsArchived October 20, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
15. Mipham Rinpoche, Sakyong. (2000) "Shambhala Buddhism". Published letter
16. ... to-conduct
17. ... Report.pdf
18. Diversity Resources Archived April 18, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
19. Diversity in Shambhala


• Butterfield, Stephen T. (1994). The Double Mirror: A Skeptical Journey into Buddhist Tantra. ISBN 1-55643-176-7.
• Clark, Tom (1980). The Great Naropa Poetry Wars. ISBN 0-932274-06-4.
• Midal, Fabrice (2001). Chögyam Trungpa: His Life and Vision. ISBN 1-59030-098-X.
• Mipham, Sakyong (2000) "Shambhala Buddhism". Published letter
• Miles, Barry (1989). Ginsberg: A Biography. ISBN 0-671-50713-3.
• Mukpo, Diana J (2006). Dragon Thunder. ISBN 1-59030-256-7.
• Sanders, Ed (1977). The Party: A Chronological Perspective on a Confrontation at a Buddhist Seminary.
• Trungpa, Chogyam (1999). Great Eastern Sun: The Wisdom of Shambhala. ISBN 1-57062-293-0.
• Trungpa, Chogyam (2004). The Collected Works of Chogyam Trungpa, Volume Eight. ISBN 1-59030-032-7.

External links

• Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche on Shambhala Buddhism
• Shambhala Archives
• Shambhala LGBTQ Network
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:36 am

Primordial Rigden Ngondro Group Retreat – 2 Full Days
Accessed: 6/30/19




Dorje Denma Ling Shambhala Meditation Retreat Centre Dorje Denma Ling Shambhala Meditation Retreat Centre
2280 Balmoral Road. Tatamagouche, NS
Jun 24 - 27, 2017 (4 days)
Lodge - Single Room - CAD $470.00 Lodge - Double Room - CAD $365.00 Lodge - Couple Room - CAD $365.00 Drala Cabin single occupancy - CAD $440.00 Drala Cabin double occupancy - CAD $335.00 *New* Cabin-style Tent - CAD $305.00…

About This Event

All Rigden Ngöndro practitioners are warmly invited to this practice and study retreat which will take place right before Rigden Abhisheka. The retreat is organized so that participants can fulfill the residential group component of their practice requirements. According to the Guidelines for Group Ngöndro Practice Intensives:

“The Sakyong has emphasized the importance and power of group vajrayana practice. With all of our practices, the point is not only how we do our individual practice, but how we connect to each other and live our lives altogether. Particularly with our aspiration to create enlightened society, it is important for us to gather, practice, study, work, and celebrate as a community. In addition, practicing under the guidance of senior teachers in a group setting will deepen our study and practice of the vajrayana.”

Two Day Ngondro Retreat – Arrival Sat June 24th 5pm – Departure Tue June 27th 9am

Tuition Price is $200 plus accommodation.

Accommodation fees are in the range from $25 per night double occupancy to $90 a night single occupancy. Details when you register.

Participants who wish to stay off-land pay tuition, plus a $20 per diem, for meals and use of our facilities.

For information on Travel

For information on Accommodations

For information on Financial Assistance

If you are able to pay for your program tuition at the time of registration, this will allow those who are unable to afford the program to begin to receive financial aid. If you are unable to afford the program, please apply for financial aid at the time of registration.

For the full June 19th to June 27th week retreat, register here.
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Mon Jul 01, 2019 6:05 am

That time David Bowie almost became a Buddhist monk — and what he said (and sang) about that time
by Rod Meade Sperry
January 15, 2016



Bowie, in a trade ad from 1967.

The year was 1967. Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, who had fled Tibet and would eventually move to North America, was at Samye Ling Monastery in Scotland. His star, and that of Buddhism, was already rising on that side of the Atlantic, attracting a new generation of seekers. Some of them were stars themselves. One — so the story goes — was David Bowie, who had started coming around Samye Ling at the inspiration of his friend and collaborator, Tony Visconti (who even worked on Bowie’s brilliant swansong, the just-released Blackstar), as well as that of Bowie’s girlfriend at the time, Hermione Farthingale.

“I was within a month of having my head shaved, taking my vows, and becoming a monk,” Bowie has said about that period of his life. But, he was torn and so sought the counsel of a Buddhist teacher, usually assumed to be Trungpa — though that’s now been refuted. The teacher replied to the famous young seeker that he should remain a musician, for that was how he could be of the most benefit.

“I was within a month of having my head shaved, taking my vows, and becoming a monk.”

You, of course, know the rest.

David Bowie (January 8, 1947 – January 10, 2016)

Bowie’s Buddhist history

While he didn’t become a monk, Bowie did in fact study for a short time with Tibetan Buddhist teacher Lama Chime Rinpoche, who remembers him fondly in a new video and has now refuted the Trungpa story, writing on Facebook that Bowie never visited Samye Ling, nor met Trungpa. (The authors of the biographies Starman, The Complete David Bowie, and The Man Who Sold the World: David Bowie and the 1970s disagree — as does musician Thurston Moore; more on that below. One story circulating online (but not substantiated so far as I know) even claims that it was Trungpa who gave Bowie his stage name.)

That the singer and Lama Chime Rinpoche knew and cared for each other is in no doubt.

Bowie was a young man — still known as David Jones — when the two met. From a 2001 story about Bowie’s involvement with Tibet House’s annual benefit concert that year:

Young David Jones was 13 when he developed an interest in Buddhism after reading “The Rampa Story” by T. Lobsang Rampa. Over the next four years, his interest in Buddhism and Tibet grew until he was visiting the Tibet House in London up to four times a week.

The man in the saffron robes, Chime Yong Dong Rinpoche, became Jones’ guru for several months.

A German Bowie single containing “Silly Boy Blue,” the singer’s tribute to Chime Tulku Rinpoche.

And in fact, Bowie’s 1967 song “Silly Boy Blue,” one of his first originals, was a tribute to Lama Chime Rinpoche. In the song’s intro from the ’01 Tibet House performance, Bowie recalls “stumbling into the Buddhist Society in London when I was about 17, and sitting in front of me at the desk was a Tibetan lama” who would become “my friend, and a teacher for quite some time. […] This was ’65, ’66. Right about that time, I wrote this next song. ”

Watch the intro and song here.

Lama Chime Rinpoche, I’m happy to say, is alive and active at Marpa House in the United Kingdom. One recent video is his “Message to Young People,” with a specific focus on the value of meditation for young people, here. “You don’t have to become a Buddhist,” he says, “you just have to be what you are” — and deal with your energies “in a skillful way.” In the video’s second half, Rinpoche hands off the rest of the video to members of his community to speak to their own reasons for practice. Watch it here.

Update: Lama Chime Rinpoche has now issued a video of remembrance and prayers for David Bowie. See it here.

Also: Musician Thurston Moore — of Sonic Youth, Chelsea Light Moving, and countless solo and collaborative recordings — has written an appreciation of Bowie for Pitchfork in which he recalls a special moment of kindness from the singer that “brings to mind Bowie’s early connection with Buddhist philosophy, practice and meditation, studying with Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Lama Chime Rinpoche. Legend has it that David had considered a life as a monk but his teachers saw his light was needed beyond the monastery and advised him to follow it. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, in later years, became the Buddhist teacher to Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman and so many others who employ kindness and contemplative thought as activism towards peace.” Read the whole piece here.

January 30 update: It turns out that while Bowie did not wish for there to be a funeral upon his passing, he did ask for, and get, a Buddhist death ceremony.
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Mon Jul 01, 2019 6:29 am

by Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
Accessed: 6/30/19



"Werma (ཝེར་མ་) is a Tibetan term for a kind of spirit and spirit principle. A werma is an enlightened form of drala. This term is used mostly in the context of the Shambhala terma teachings and practices that relate to those such as the Werma Sadhana....The Werma Sadhana is a sadhana meditation practice unique to the Shambhala lineage. It is based upon a Shambhala terma received by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche at Casa Werma in Mexico in 1980......Prior to 2005, students in Shambhala received this sadhana practice at a Kalapa Assembly retreat. Beginning in 2005, students receive this practice by attending a Rigden abhisheka after attending Vajrayana Seminary or the equivalent and then by completing an amount of Primordial Rigden ngöndro....

In the Shambhala Buddhist community, a Primordial Rigden Ngöndro written by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche is practiced as a preliminary to various terma-derived practices received by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Practitioners later go on to practice the Karma Kagyu ngöndro and in some cases one of the Nyingma ngöndro practices.

-- Ngöndro, by Wikipedia

(Jamgon Mipham Namgyal Gyatso).(1846-1912)..The Tibetan text: "The Lamp that Illuminates the Practice of the Miraculous Juthig of Existence": interesting and clear descriptions of the DRALA and WERMA can be found in two passages from the monumental work on the Juthig divination. The first passage describes the 'Unicorn' Drala Seu Ruchig, one of the most important manifestations among Drala and Werma. Also information on Lha, Nyen, and Lu."

WERMA......."From the inner essence of the egg a miraculous man was born with a lion's head and lynx's ears, a fierce face with an elephant's trunk, the mouth of a chusin, and tiger's fangs. His feet were swords and his wings sabres, and between the flaming horns (rwa dbal) on the great Khyung's head he had the diadem of the wish-fulfilling jewel as an ornament. He was called 'heroic' WERMA NYINYA and was the fount of four distance ritual traditions. In fact from the union of the Werma with the Lha were born the 'Werma of the Lha that Subjugate the Dud'.......from the union with the Nyen, the 'Werma of the Nyen that Subjugate Enemies'......from the union with the Khyung, the 'Werma of the Khyung that Subjugate the Lu'....from the union with the divine Lions (seng) the 'Three Werma Brothers that Subjugate Heroes'.....From these four divine manifestations, which in turn emanated armed hordes of nine hundred and ninety thousand various Werma, originated the four systems of ritual practice devoted to the class of the Werma that, as is written in the Zijid, "all arose from the Lha, descended from the Se and are similar to the Wal.....and appeared in order to subjugate all hostile entities causing obstacles and disturbances."(Drung, Deu and Bon, 1995)

WERMA THANGKA.......There is a thangka of the Warrior God .....Werma Nyi-nya..... in the Musec Guimet in Paris.....however this depiction does not have the elephant trunk.......horns of a garuda, lion's head, lynx ears, fearful face, crocodile mouth, tiger's teeth, feet and wings in the form of swords.....



"Werma Nyinya: a worldly deity arising from the Bon 'Treasure Tradition' and specifically the Chang Sen Tagdu text unearthed by Terton Ponse Khyung Gotsal (12th century). Dynamic in appearance with one face and two hands, white in colour, he has the head of a lion - snarling and gaping. The right hand holds aloft a sword ready to strike and the left stretched to the side a trident on a long shaft. Wearing a flower and jewel crown the head is topped with a green bird. Adorned with a necklace, bracelets and anklets, a pink and green scarf is worn around the shoulders and the lower body is draped in a tiger skin skirt. Sharp blue wings extend from the back as he stands in a wrathful posture atop a raging tiger above two red figures, a sun disc and multi-coloured lotus seat. Six attendants in similar appearance stand at the right and left. (Textually there are 13 retinue figures).

At the top center is a garuda bird along with the four animals of the directions at the four corners; snow lion, dragon, tiger and white yak. At the top right and left are two seated figures, peaceful in appearance, each with one face and two hands, white in colour. At the lower left a standing man holds an arrow and on the right a blacksmith hammers over an anvil. A solitary bird clutches a bat with the beak and a monkey wields an axe.

(Also...The Arrow and the Spindle, Studies in History, Myths, Rituals and Beliefs in Tibet by Samten G Karmay. Manadala Book Point: 1998. Pages 256 & 257, The Ye and the Ngam).

The 360 Werma Deities dwell in Mt Kailas.

Drung Deu and Bon: Narrations, Symbolic Languages and The Bon Tradition In Ancient Tibet... Chapter IV-The Bon of the Deities: The Protection Rites i. The importance of the deities of protection...Page 51 ii. The powerful Thugkar deities...Page 51 iii. The heroic Drala and Werma hordes...Page 54 iv. The Changseng and the Shungon...Page 56 v. The Drala Seu Ruchig and the manifestations of the Werma...Page 56 vi. The meaning of drala

"The werma deities are extremely important because they are the special protectors who always accompany and protect the masters and practitioners. From an ancient ritual text called...The General Do of Existence....

To the masters the Werma are important. The Werma whirl like snow-storms, those they escort are the practitioners, those they assist are the practitioners, those they protect are the practitioners. We proffer the well-prepared offerings and confess errors if we have mingled with evil!" (Drung, Deu and Bon....1995..... page 55)

"The Tibetans have very complicated linkages and overlappings among the protector gods of the person, the protectors gods of lineages (male, female, maternal uncle) and the different masters of the place or territory." (Blondeau: ix)...

"It is difficult to relate to enlightened energies if they have no form or ground for personal communications. One should remember that the mind that perceives the deity and the deity itself are not separate."....(Sogyal: 285)...

WERMA...Published references to the Tibetan term Werma....."Werma: martial spirits...infuse the warrior with dignity and confidence." (Nalanda:Lopez:1997) "the 360 Werma, a Zhang-zhung term" (Hoffman:1975). "There are four different classes of divine manifestations: Drala, Werma, Changseng, and Shungon." (Norbu:1995) "Werma defined as 'furious ones'. (Ekvall:pg 78) "The 360 Werma deities who dwell on Mt Kailash in western Tibet." (Powers:1995) "The origin of the powerful Werma. A clear description of drala and werma." (Norbu 1995: pps 54-56)...."God Werma...Fury Werma...Khyung Werma...Werma Hero Subduers"...( 63)...."the werma is an important class of Bon deities. The werma are the angry, ferocious and fearless ones, the dgra lha of the arrows and lances. Two main groups of werma, one of 180 and the other of 360 members." ( 334)...."Nyi Nya is the lord of the Werma" (Norbu: 245)....the Shang Shung term for king is WER RO (Tibetan: rgyal po) (Kvaerne: 1996)....senkhar (gsas mkhar): a small temple to attract the werma deities..."the Werma, almighty and fearless, are the 'road gods' (lam lha) of many warriors." (Nebesky: 334)...

The next aspect is Dorje Trolo, which came about when Padmasambhava went to Tibet. The Tibetans were not involved in foreign, that is, external, worship. They did not have the Hindu realm of the gods. They did not even know the word Brahma. What they had was yeshen, which is the equivalent word in the Pon tradition to "absoluteness." [1] Ye means "primordial"; shen means "ancestralness" or "great friend." In coming to Tibet, the buddhadharma was now encountering an entirely new angle, a new approach.

Up until that time, Padmasambhava had been dealing with Hindus, Brahmanists. What he encountered in Tibet was entirely different from that. The classical Tibetan word yeshen has a sense that is something like "ancestral" or "ancient" or even "celestial." It is similar to the Japanese word shin, which means "heaven"; or to the Chinese word ta, which means "that which is above." All three terms relate to something greater, something above. There is an upward process involved, which could be associated with dragons, thunderstorms, clouds, the sun and moon, stars, and so forth. They relate to that "above" thing, to that higher, greater cosmic pattern.

This was extremely difficult for Padmasambhava to deal with. It was impossible to deal with it through logic, because the wisdom of the Pon tradition was very profound, extremely profound. If Padmasambhava had had to challenge the Ponists with logic, the only approach he could have taken would have been to say that earth and heaven are a unity, that heaven as such does not exist because heaven and earth are interdependent. But that is very shaky logic, because everyone knows that there is earth and there is heaven, that there are mountains and stars and suns and moons. You could not challenge these people by saying that there is no earth, no mountains; there is no sun, no moon, no sky, no stars.

The basic Pon philosophy is very powerful; it is much like the American Indian, Shinto, or Taoist approach to cosmic sanity. The whole thing is an extraordinarily sane approach. But there is a problem. It is also a very anthropocentric approach. The world is created for human beings; animals are human beings' next meal or their skins are human beings' next clothes. This anthropocentic approach is actually lacking in basic sanity; it is not able to respect the basic continuity of consciousness. Consequently, the Pon religion prescribes animal sacrifice to the yeshen, or great god. Here again we find a similarity with the American Indian and Shinto outlook, with man as the center of the universe. According to that outlook, the grasses and trees, the wild animals, and the sun and the moon are there for human entertainment. The whole system is based on human existence. That is the big problem....

But Tibetans were very powerful people when Padmasambhava came. They did not believe in philosophies or any of the cunning things that pandits might say. They did not regard a pandit's cleverness as any kind of credential. The Pon tradition of Tibet was very solid and definite and sane. The Tibetans did not believe in what Padmasambhava had to say philosophically about such things as the transitoriness of ego. They would not make sense out of anything like that at all. They would regard such logical analyses as just purely a collection of riddles -- Buddhist riddles.

What the Tibetans believed was that life exists and I exist and my ongoing activities of life -- working with the dairy animals, working in the fields -- exist. The dairy farm and the fields do exist and my practical activities connected with them are my sacred activities, my sadhanas. The Pon outlook is that these things exist because I have to feed my child, I have to milk my cow, I have to grow my crops, I have to make butter and cheese. I believe those simple truths. Our Pon tradition is valid, because it believes in the sacredness of feeding life, bringing forth food from the earth in order to feed our offspring. These very simple things exist. This is religion, this is truth, as far as the Pon tradition is concerned.

This simplicity is similar to what we find in the American Indian tradition. Killing a buffalo is an act of creativity because it feeds the hungry; it also controls the growth of the buffalo herd and in that way, maintains a balance. It is that kind of ecological approach.

We find all kinds of ecological approaches of this type,which are extremely sane and solid. In fact, one might have second thoughts as to whether this country is yet ripe for the presentation of Padmasambhava's wisdom, because some people believe in those ecological philosophies and some do not. Some people are very dogmatic advocates of those ecological philosophies and some have no knowledge of them at all. On account of that, one wonders a bit how to approach this culture. But on the whole, there is a certain continuity in what is happening. There is one basic general approach in this culture: we think that everything exists for our benefit.

For instance, we think the body is extremely important, because it maintains the mind. The mind feeds the body and the body feeds the mind. We feel it is important to keep this happening in a healthy manner for our benefit, and we have come to the conclusion that the easiest way to achieve this tremendous scheme of being healthy is to start with the less complicated side of it: feed the body. Then we can wait and see what happens with the mind. If we are less hungry, then we are more likely to be psychologically jolly, and then we may feel like looking into the teachings of depth psychology or other philosophies.

This is also the approach of the Pon tradition: Let us kill a yak; that will make us spiritually higher. Our bodies will be healthier, so our minds will be higher. American Indians would say, let us kill one buffalo. It is the same logic. It is very sensible. We could not say that it is insane at all. It is extremely sane, extremely realistic, very reasonable and logical. There is a pattern there to be respected, and if you put the pattern into practice in a manner that is worthy of respect, then the pattern will continue and you will achieve your results.

We are involved in that kind of approach in this country as well. A lot of people in this country are into the Red American cult as opposed to the White American cult. As far as the Red American cult is concerned, you have your land, you build your tepee, you relate with your children and grandchildren and great-great-great grandchildren. You have dignity and character. You are not afraid of any threat -- you develop warriorlike qualities. Then you consider how to handle your children, how to teach them respect for the nation. You instruct your children properly and you become a solid citizen.

Philosophies of this type are to be found not only among the Red Americans, but also among the Celts, the pre-Christian Scandinavians, and the Greeks and Romans. Such a philosophy can be found in the past of any nation that had a pre-Christian or pre-Buddhist religion, a religion of fertility or ecology -- such as that of the Jews, the Celts, the American Indians, whatever. That approach of venerating fertility and relating with the earth still goes on, and it is very powerful and very beautiful. I appreciate it very thoroughly, and I could become a follower of such a philosophy. In fact, I am one. I am a Ponist. I believe in Pon because I am Tibetan.

-- Crazy Wisdom, by Chogyam Trungpa

ZHIDAG....."Tibetan Buddhists believe that there are countless types of beings other than humans and animals. Some are more powerful, happier, and more intelligent than humans, and others less so. Usually if there is no common karma or karmic connection, beings of different types will not encounter each other. Spirits are not necessarily births of the ancestors from a particular locality, but may have come from any kind of birth or realm." (Hidden Teachings of Tibet)

FRAVASHIS......"A class of higher intelligence that are ancient Persian guardian warrior spirits. The 19th day of every month is consecrated to them. King Phraortes' (647 BC) Persian name is derived from the term."( 235)..... "Hence Finite Time and Finite Space control man's destiny from the cradle to the grave. Yet the whole of the macrocosm is kept in being by the Fravashis (Dralas ??), the spiritual powers that are indissolubly linked with each human being and with humanity as a whole. Finite time-space, then, is not a kenoma, an empty nothingness, but a pleroma, a 'full' and vital organism...."...( 150)...

"We are working with iconography as a journey, rather than as entertainment or excitement or cultural fascination. We are talking about personal experience, how we actually see this world. There is a basic iconographic pattern in the universe, like the existence of the seasons and the elements, but how we react to that is individual.""....(Trungpa: Dharma 94)

"Mount Kailash is referred to as the 'center of the universe' and is considered to be the resting place of Gods. Tibet's Mount Kailash is a sacred place to four religions: Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism, Bon Po (a native Tibetan religion prior to Buddhism), and Ayyavazhi religions. According to Hindu tradition, Kailash is the home of the deity Shiva. Some sects hold that Kailash is paradise and the final destination of all souls in the world. In Hindu religion, Mount Kailash also plays an important role in Rama's journey in the ancient Sanskrit epic, Ramayana. Buddhists hold that Kailash is the home of Samvara, a guardian deity, and a representation of Buddha. Buddhists believe that Mount Kailash has supernatural powers that are able to clean the sins of a lifetime of any person. Followers of Jainism believe that Kailash is the site where the founder of Jainism reached enlightenment. Bon Po teaches that Kailash is the home of a wind goddess....(

"In Bon, the pre-Buddhist religion of Tibet, Kailash is a giant protector deity that holds the soul of the nation, ensuring its continuance. As the place where Shanrab, the mythical founder of Bon descended from heaven, it was the centre of the ancient Bon empire, Zhang Zhung. Buddhist cosmology views Kailash as the manifestation of Mount Meru, ‘navel of the world’, the exact centre of the universe. A powerful image is that of Kailash as ‘world pillar’ around which the entire created world revolves. ..Mount Of Myths by Swati Chopra

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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

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Chögyam Trungpa
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 6/30/19



They kept pouring in, their numbers rising from thirty thousand [30,000] to seventy thousand [70,000].....

At one point during this stage of her life she had an inexplicable insight. Freda "saw" that Tibetan Buddhism would not only travel to the West but would take root there. And the ones who would bring it about would be the tulkus, Tibet's recognized reincarnated high lamas and spiritual masters, who held the essence of the teachings.....

In the early 1960s, Buddhism was still virtually unknown in the West, outside of a very small handful of scholars ... In the eyes of the intellectual Buddhist scholars, Tibetan Buddhism was regarded as degenerate -- shrouded in the magic and mystery fostered by those shamans of the Bon religion that existed in Tibet before Buddhism took root. There was too much ritual, too much Tantra, too much mumbo jumbo....

There was also the matter of reincarnation itself, which in the predominantly Christian West was still regarded as heretical. People had been burned at the stake and been killed en masse (such as the Cathars) for believing such anathema. In the 1960s and 1970s reincarnation was still a taboo subject. The Tibetans, however, not only completely accepted reincarnation as a given fact of life, they went farther than any other Buddhist country by devising a system to find specific rebirths of accomplished spiritual masters who had forsaken higher states of consciousness after death in order to be reborn in an earthly body solely to continue to teach others how to reach the same exalted state they had achieved. The voluntary return to this vale of tears was seen as the highest mark of altruism, brave and noble beyond measure. These were the tulkus, titled rinpoches, or "Precious Ones." They were the cream of Tibetan society, revered, feted, and sometimes unwittingly used as pawns in others' games of corruption. These were the people Freda was now planning to bring to the West to plant the seeds of the Buddha's teachings into American, European, and Australian soil for the first time.

Finding the right candidates, however, posed an enormous problem. The entire community of Tibetan refugees was in total disarray, with lamas, yogis, householders, carpenters, tailors, and others, mingling together in a homogenized, indistinguishable mass formerly unheard of in the conservative, strictly hierarchical society of old Tibet, where Tulkus were kept apart from the hoi polloi for fear of contamination ....

Undeterred by, or unaware of, these seeming obstacles Freda forged ahead with her dream. She had seen for herself what she thought were exceptional, special qualities in the handful of tulkus she had come across amid the mayhem of the camps. To her eyes they exuded an unmistakable refinement, wisdom, maturity, and dignity way beyond their years, which she was convinced would be as attractive to Westerners as it was to her....

Trungpa was installed as the principal of the Young Lamas Home School, and Akong was its manager. When all was complete, Freda had an audience with Nehru to thank him profusely for his help. Nehru smiled and said in a low, quiet voice, "It was not for you I did it." Nevertheless Freda had single-handedly planned and brought into being the Young Lamas Home School. She had succeeded in her pioneering task to bring the tulkus into the twentieth century, and she was on her way to realizing the next stage of her vision -- to bring them to the West.....

The tulkus were learning English and their lessons on the modern world with varying degrees of success. Freda's star student, Trungpa Rinpoche, however, was making exceptional progress, and Freda's aspirations for him became increasingly ambitious. He had a natural aptitude for English and had taken to reading the poets that Freda presented him with, especially T.S. Eliot. He was keen on history and geography too. Freda decided that he was ready to try to get into Oxford, her own university, where he would receive the finest education the West had to offer. With such credentials he would be perfectly equipped and have the clout to bring the sacred Buddhist teachings to the outside world in a language it could understand.

With the help of John Driver, an Englishman who was also tutoring Trungpa, Freda set about getting a Spalding Scholarship for Trungpa, and succeeded. In early 1963 Trungpa set sail for England accompanied by Akong Rinpoche, to enter into the arcane, privileged, and hallowed halls of Oxford University. It was another epic journey into the unknown, heralding as many adventures, pitfalls, and triumphs as they had met in their escape from Tibet.

-- The Revolutionary Life of Freda Bedi, by Vicki Mackenzie

On January 17, 1960, they crossed the border into India.

Rinpoche spent nearly four years in India, where he encountered a world vastly different from Tibet. He had grown up in an essentially medieval culture, and a very unusual one at that. It was one of the very few places on earth, at least in the twentieth century, where spirituality was uppermost in the minds and hearts of almost the entire population. Tibet was certainly not an idyllic society. Rinpoche often said that there was it great deal of corruption in Tibet, and that this was a contributing factor in its occupation by the communist Chinese. At the same time, he loved the land and the people, and he was completely immersed in a Buddhist world there.

In Tibet, he had been a very special and privileged person. In India, the Tibetans were refugees and were not generally treated very well, although kindness was extended to them by the Indian government and many individuals living in India. However, Rinpoche was no longer a person of high status, as he had been. He told me that, not long after arriving in India, he was invited to an English garden party. The hostess was passing around a tray of cucumber sandwiches, which she offered first to Rinpoche. He took the whole tray, thinking that she had made a nice lunch for him. Later, he was quite embarrassed by this.

Many of the Tibetan refugees ended up in camps. He stayed in the camps for a short time, but then he was able to relocate to Kalimpong, which was close to the seat that His Holiness the Karmapa established in Sikkim after escaping from Tibet. While he was in Kalimpong, Rinpoche studied thangka painting, and he produced beautiful paintings of Padmasambhava and his consort Yeshe Tsogyal, as well as other subjects. Later, he was able to bring these paintings with him to the West, and one of them hangs in my house today. He became friends with Tendzin Rongae, a wonderful thangka painter who had also recently arrived from Tibet and helped Rinpoche with his painting. Rinpoche became close to the entire Rongae family. While in Kalimpong, he learned that Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche had also recently entered India and was living a few miles away, about an hour away by foot. Rinpoche used to walk over to see Khyentse Rinpoche and to receive teachings from him. Dilgo Khyentse was over six feet tall, very unusual for a Tibetan, and he had enormous warmth and presence. During this time, Rinpoche became friends with Khyentse Rinpoche's nephew Ato Rinpoche.

India is a significant place for Tibetans because it was the home of the Buddha and of many of the great teachers whose works are studied in Tibet. One could say that India is for Tibetans what the Middle East is for Jews, Muslims, and Christians. There are many Buddhist pilgrimage sites in India. Rinpoche was able to visit Bodhgaya, where the Buddha attained enlightenment, and other important sites.

In India, Rinpoche was also exposed to many non-Buddhist cultures for the first time. He came to love Indian food and to appreciate many things about the Indian culture. He encountered people from all over the world there. In particular, he met several English Buddhists who were extremely kind and helpful to him. Freda Bedi was one of these. She was an Englishwoman who had married an Indian, Baba Bedi. She worked for the Central Social Welfare Board of the Indian government helping Tibetan refugees, and she was so affected by her involvement with the Tibetans that she became a Buddhist herself. After her husband's death, she was one of the first Westerners to become a Tibetan Buddhist nun.

Rinpoche met her at the refugee camp in Bir, and she formed an immediate bond with him. From the earliest contacts he had with Westerners, he shone out like a light or a beacon to them. Lama Govinda, a Westerner and an early writer about Tibetan Buddhism, reported this quality. Lama Govinda met Rinpoche in northern India, just after Rinpoche's escape from Tibet. Many Tibetan refugees stayed at Lama Govinda's house in the Himalayas on their way south, and he said that Trungpa Rinpoche was the brightest of them all.

Freda Bedi helped Rinpoche resettle in Kalimpong, and later she asked him to help her establish a school to train young Tibetan monks, the Young Lamas Home School, in New Delhi, which moved to Dalhousie after about a year. He was delighted to do this, and with the blessings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Rinpoche became the spiritual advisor to the young monks at the school.

This was the first time that Rinpoche had ever lived in a secular society, and although at first he found it quite strange, he soon took to it. He went to meetings of a British women's club so that he could hear the poetry of T.S. Eliot read, and he used to go to the cinema in New Delhi. On his way out of Tibet, close to the border with India, he was exposed to alcoholic beverages for the first time. In one of the villages where they stopped, you couldn't drink the water, and everyone drank a kind of Tibetan beer. He had been hesitant to imbibe any alcohol since it was a violation of his monastic vows, but once he gave in, he enjoyed the experience, an din India he started to drink occasionally, though not openly. Tendzin Rongae and Rinpoche liked to get together and drink from time to time.

On the way out of Tibet, Rinpoche had fallen in love with a young Tibetan nun, Konchok Paldron, who was part of the escape party. He became clandestinely involved with her while he was in India. She was living in the refugee camp in Bir. She visited him at the Young Lamas Home School, and they took a mattress up on the roof of the building, where they spent the night together. She became pregnant and gave birth to Rinpoche's eldest son, Osel Rangdrol Mukpo, a short time before Rinpoche left for England. When she was pregnant, she made a pilgrimage to Bodhgaya, and their son was born there. She could no longer be a nun, so after Osel was born, she worked as a road laborer to support herself for some time. Later, she married and had another child.

Around this time, Rinpoche received a Spaulding [Spalding] Scholarship to attend Oxford University. This had come through the intercession of Freda Bedi and John Driver, an Englishman who tutored Rinpoche in the English language in India and helped him with his studies later at Oxford. The Tibet Society in the United Kingdom had also helped him to get the scholarship. To go to England, Rinpoche needed the permission of the Dalai Lama's government. They would never have have allowed him to leave if they had known about his sexual indiscretion, nor do I think it would have gone over very well with the Tibet Society or his English friends in New Delhi. He and Konchok Paldron kept their relationship a secret, and it was a long time before anyone knew that Rinpoche was the father of her child. This caused him a great deal of pain, although I also think that he hadn't yet entirely faced up to the implications of the direction he was going in his relationships with women. At that time, in spite of the inconsistencies in his behavior, he still seemed to think that he could make life work for himself as a monk. Rinpoche continued to stay in touch with Konchok Paldron and his son Osel, and a few years later, he returned to see them and to make arrangements for his son to come to England.

Rinpoche sailed from Bombay for England early in 1963, on the P&O Line, accompanied by his close friend Akong, who was to be a helper and companion to him at Oxford. Rinpoche had been working very hard on his English, but when he left India, he was still struggling with the language, speaking what would be called a form of pidgin English. When Rinpoche and Akong docked in England, they were welcomed by members of the Tibet Society, and before his studies started at Oxford in the fall, Rinpoche spent time in London, where he met many of the most prominent members of the English Buddhist community. He was invited to give several talks at the Buddhist Society, and he attended a kind of summer camp they sponsored each year, where he gave a number of lectures.

Remembering High Leigh SUMMER SCHOOLS

The Buddhist Lodge (now The Buddhist Society, London) ...

-- The 90th Anniversary of The Buddhist Society 1924–2014, by The Buddhist Society

... When he went up to Oxford, he had quite a challenge trying to bring his English up to speed so that he could understand the lectures and the books he was given to read. Rinpoche wanted to learn as much as he could about English history, philosophy, religion, and politics, but it was pretty tough going for him at the beginning. John Driver, who he had met in India and who had been instrumental in bringing him to England, returned to England and helped Rinpoche a great deal with his lessons, and Rinpoche never forgot this kindness. In the evenings, Rinpoche attended classes in the town of Oxford to improve his English. Years later, he still remembered how his teacher had made the class say words over and over, to improve their elocution, such as "policeman, policeman, policeman." Rinpoche proved himself a brilliant student of the English language. By the time he left England for America, his English vocabulary exceeded that of many of his students.

At Oxford Rinpoche was befriended by the Jesuits, who thought that his tremendous enthusiasm for learning about the Christian religion made him a good candidate for conversion. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth, but Rinpoche enjoyed their company and felt that here at least he had found Westerners who had some understanding of a wisdom tradition, even though it was not his own.

-- Dragon Thunder: My Life with Chogyam Trungpa, by Diana J. Mukpo, Carolyn Rose Gimian

David Chadwick: [Trungpa] Rinpoche said that until he met Little Joe, the Peyote Road Man, Suzuki Roshi was the only sane man he'd met in America. Rinpoche said that after he left Tibet he never heard of his teacher again and he felt so sad and alone and then when he met Roshi he felt that he had a friend. He said that all the people supporting him in England were only making things worse -- the whole Christmas Humphreys crowd.

-- Interviews: Bob Halpern cuke page, by Crooked Cucumber: The Life and Zen Teaching of Shunryu Suzuki, by David Chadwick

Chögyam Trungpa before 1959
Title Tulku
Born March 5, 1939
Nangchen, Kham region, Tibet
Died April 4, 1987 (aged 48)
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Cause of death Myocardial infarction and Liver cirrhosis[1]
Religion Buddhism
Nationality Tibetan
Spouse Lady Diana Mukpo
Children Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Tagtrug (Taggie) Mukpo, Gesar Mukpo
School Vajrayana
Lineage Kagyu and Nyingma
Senior posting
Teacher Jamgon Kongtrul of Sechen
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
Khenpo Gangshar
Predecessor Chökyi Nyinche
Successor Choseng Trungpa
Reincarnation Trungpa Tulku

Chögyam Trungpa (Wylie: Chos rgyam Drung pa; March 5, 1939 – April 4, 1987) was a Buddhist meditation master and holder of both the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages, the eleventh Trungpa tülku, a tertön, supreme abbot of the Surmang monasteries, scholar, teacher, poet, artist, and originator of a radical re-presentation of Shambhala vision.

Recognized both by Tibetan Buddhists and by other spiritual practitioners and scholars[2][3] as a preeminent teacher of Tibetan Buddhism, he was a major figure in the dissemination of Buddhism to the West,[4] founding Vajradhatu and Naropa University and establishing the Shambhala Training method.

Among his contributions are the translation of numerous Tibetan texts,[5] the introduction of the Vajrayana teachings to the West, and a presentation of the Buddhadharma largely devoid of ethnic trappings. Trungpa coined the term crazy wisdom.[6] Some of his teaching methods and actions were the topic of controversy during his lifetime and afterwards.


Early years

Khenpo Gangshar (left) and Chögyam Trungpa

Born in the Nangchen region of Tibet in March 1939, Chögyam Trungpa was eleventh in the line of Trungpa tülkus, important figures in the Kagyu lineage, one of the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Among his three main teachers were Jamgon Kongtrul of Sechen, HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, and Khenpo Gangshar.

The name Chögyam is a contraction of Chökyi Gyamtso (Tibetan: ཆོས་ཀྱི་རྒྱ་མཚོ་, Wylie: Chos-kyi Rgya-mtsho), which means "ocean of dharma". Trungpa (Tibetan: དྲུང་པ་, Wylie: Drung-pa) means "attendant". He was deeply trained in the Kagyu tradition and received his khenpo degree at the same time as Thrangu Rinpoche; they continued to be very close in later years. Chögyam Trungpa was also trained in the Nyingma tradition, the oldest of the four schools, and was an adherent of the ri-mé ("nonsectarian") ecumenical movement within Tibetan Buddhism, which aspired to bring together and make available all the valuable teachings of the different schools, free of sectarian rivalry.

At the time of his escape from Tibet,[7] Trungpa was head of the Surmang group of monasteries.

Escape from Tibet

On April 23, 1959, twenty-year-old Trungpa set out on an epic nine-month escape from his homeland.[8][9] Masked in his account in Born in Tibet to protect those left behind,[10] the first, preparatory stage of his escape had begun a year earlier, when he fled his home monastery after its occupation by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA).[11] After spending the winter in hiding, he decided definitively to escape after learning that his monastery had been destroyed.[12] Trungpa started with Akong Rinpoche and a small party of monastics, but as they traveled people asked to join until the party eventually numbered 300 refugees, from the elderly to mothers with babies – additions which greatly slowed and complicated the journey. Forced to abandon their animals, over half the journey was on foot as the refugees journeyed through an untracked mountain wilderness to avoid the PLA. Sometimes lost, sometimes traveling at night, after three months’ trek they reached the Brahmaputra River. Trungpa, the monastics and about 70 refugees managed to cross the river under heavy gunfire,[13] then, eating their leather belts and bags to survive, they climbed 19,000 feet over the Himalayas before reaching the safety of Pema Ko.[14] After reaching India, on January 24, 1960 the party was flown to a refugee camp.[15][16]

Between 2006 and 2010, independent Canadian and French researchers using satellite imagery tracked and confirmed Trungpa’s escape route.[17] In 2012, five survivors of the escape in Nepal, Scotland and the U.S. confirmed details of the journey and supplied their personal accounts.[18] More recent analysis has shown the journey to be directly comparable to such sagas as Shackleton’s 1914/17 Antarctic Expedition.[19] In 2016 accumulated research and survivors’ stories were published in a full retelling of the story,[20] and later in the year preliminary talks began on the funding and production of a movie.

Early teachings in the West

In exile in India, Trungpa began his study of English. In collaboration with Freda Bedi, who had initiated the project,[21] Trungpa and Akong Tulku founded the Young Lamas Home School and, after seeking endorsement from the Dalai Lama, were appointed its spiritual head and administrator respectively.[22]

In 1963, with the assistance of sympathetic Westerners, Trungpa received a Spalding sponsorship to study comparative religion at St Antony's College, Oxford University.[23][24] In 1967, upon the departure of the western Theravadan monk Anandabodhi, Trungpa and Akong Rinpoche were invited by the Johnstone House Trust in Scotland to take over a meditation center, which then became Samye Ling, the first Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the West (future actor and musician David Bowie[25] was one of Trungpa's meditation pupils there). In 1970, after a break with Akong, Trungpa moved to the United States at the invitation of several students.

Shortly after his move to Scotland, a variety of experiences, including a car accident that left him partially paralyzed on the left side of his body, led Trungpa to give up his monastic vows and work as a lay teacher.[26] He made that decision principally to mitigate students' becoming distracted by exotic cultures and dress and to undercut their preconceptions of how a guru should behave.[26] He drank, smoked, slept with students, and often kept students waiting for hours before giving teachings. Much of his behavior has been construed as deliberately provocative and sparked controversy. In one account, he encouraged students to give up smoking marijuana, claiming that the smoking was not of benefit to their spiritual progress and that it exaggerated neurosis. Students were often angered, unnerved and intimidated by him, but many remained fiercely loyal, committed, and devoted.

Upon moving to the United States in 1970, Trungpa traveled around North America, gaining renown for his ability to present the essence of the highest Buddhist teachings in a form readily understandable to Western students. During this period, he conducted 13 Vajradhatu Seminaries, three-month residential programs at which he presented a vast body of Buddhist teachings in an atmosphere of intensive meditation practice. The seminaries also had the important function of training his students to become teachers themselves.[27]

Introduction of the Vajrayana

Trungpa was one of the first teachers to introduce the esoteric practice of the Vajrayana to the West. According to Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso, "The one who mainly spread the Vajrayana in the West was Trungpa Rinpoche."[28] In contrast to its traditional presentation in Tibet, where the esoteric practices are largely the domain of the monastic sangha, in the US Trungpa introduced the Vajrayana to the lay sangha.[29]

The presentation of these teachings gave rise to some criticism. According to Trungpa's former student Stephen Butterfield, "Trungpa told us that if we ever tried to leave the Vajrayana, we would suffer unbearable, subtle, continuous anguish, and disasters would pursue us like furies".[30] Other Vajrayana teachers also warn their students about the dangers of the esoteric path.

Butterfield noted "disquieting resemblances" to cults, and "to be part of Trungpa's inner circle, you had to take a vow never to reveal or even discuss some of the things he did." But Butterfield also notes that "This personal secrecy is common with gurus, especially in Vajrayana Buddhism,"[31] and acknowledges that Trungpa's organization is anything but a cult: "a mere cult leaves you disgusted and disillusioned, wondering how you could have been a fool. I did not feel that charlatans had hoodwinked me into giving up my powers to enhance theirs. On the contrary, mine were unveiled."[32]

Meditation and education centers

The purkhang at Karmê Chöling

In 1973, Trungpa established Vajradhatu, encompassing all his North American institutions, headquartered in Boulder, Colorado. Trungpa also founded more than 100 meditation centers throughout the world. Originally known as Dharmadhatus, these centers, now more than 150 in number, are known as Shambhala Meditation Centers. He also founded retreat centers for intensive meditation practice, including Shambhala Mountain Center in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado, Karmê Chöling in Barnet, Vermont and Gampo Abbey in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

In 1974, Trungpa founded the Naropa Institute, which later became Naropa University, in Boulder, Colorado. Naropa was the first accredited Buddhist university in North America. Trungpa hired Allen Ginsberg to teach poetry and William Burroughs to teach literature.

Trungpa had a number of notable students, among whom were Pema Chödrön, Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, Anne Waldman, Diane di Prima, Peter Lieberson, John Steinbeck IV, José Argüelles, David Nichtern, Ken Wilber, David Deida, Francisco Varela, and Joni Mitchell, who portrayed Trungpa in the song "Refuge of the Roads" on her 1976 album Hejira.[33] Ginsberg, Waldman, and di Prima also taught at Naropa University, and in the 1980s Marianne Faithfull taught songwriting workshops. Lesser-known students Trungpa taught in England and the US include Alf Vial, Rigdzin Shikpo (né Michael Hookham), Jigme Rinzen (né P. Howard Useche), Ezequiel Hernandez Urdaneta (known as Keun-Tshen Goba after setting up his first meditation center in Venezuela), Miguel Otaola (aka Dorje Khandro), Francisco Salas Roche, and Francesca Fremantle. Rigdzin Shikpo promulgated Trungpa's teachings from a primarily Nyingma rather than Kagyü point of view at the Longchen Foundation.[34][35]

Shambhala vision

In 1976, Trungpa began giving a series of secular teachings, some of which were gathered and presented as the Shambhala Training,[36][37] inspired by his vision (see terma) of the legendary Kingdom of Shambhala. Trungpa had actually started writing about Shambhala before his 1959 escape from Tibet to India, but most of those writings were lost during the escape.[38]

In his view not only was individual enlightenment not mythical, but the Shambhala Kingdom, an enlightened society, could in fact be actualized. The practice of Shambhala vision is to use mindfulness/awareness meditation as a way to connect with one's basic goodness and confidence. It is presented as a path that "brings dignity, confidence, and wisdom to every facet of life." Trungpa proposed to lead the Kingdom as sakyong (Tib. earth protector) with his wife as queen-consort or sakyong wangmo.

Shambhala vision is described as a nonreligious approach rooted in meditation and accessible to individuals of any, or no, religion. In Shambhala terms, it is possible, moment by moment, for individuals to establish enlightened society. His book, Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior, provides a concise collection of the Shambhala views. According to Trungpa, it was his intention to propagate the kingdom of Shambala that provided the necessary inspiration to leave his homeland and make the arduous journey to India and the West.[39]

Work with arts and sciences

From the beginning of his time in the US, Trungpa encouraged his students to integrate a contemplative approach into their everyday activities. In addition to making a variety of traditional contemplative practices available to the community, he incorporated his students' already existing interests (especially anything relating to Japanese culture), evolving specialized teachings on a meditative approach to these various disciplines. These included kyūdō (Japanese archery), calligraphy, ikebana (flower arranging), Sadō (Japanese tea ceremony), dance, theater, film, poetry, health care, and psychotherapy. His aim was, in his own words, to bring "art to everyday life." He founded the Nalanda Foundation in 1974 as an umbrella organization for these activities.[citation needed]


Trungpa visited Nova Scotia for the first time in 1977. In 1983 he established Gampo Abbey, a Karma Kagyü monastery in Cape Breton. The following year, 1984–85, he observed a yearlong retreat at Mill Village and in 1986 he moved his home and Vajradhatu's international headquarters to Halifax.

By then he was in failing health due to the auto accident in his youth and years of heavy alcohol use. On September 28, 1986, he suffered cardiac arrest,[40] after which his condition deteriorated, requiring intensive care at the hospital, then at his home and finally, in mid-March 1987, back at the hospital, where he died on April 4, 1987.

In 2006 his wife, Diana Mukpo, wrote, "Although he had many of the classic health problems that develop from heavy drinking, it was in fact more likely the diabetes and high blood pressure that led to abnormal blood sugar levels and then the cardiac arrest".[41] But in a November 2008 interview, when asked "What was he ill with? What did he die of?," Trungpa's doctor, Mitchell Levy, replied, "He had chronic liver disease related to his alcohol intake over many years."[42] One of Trungpa's nursing attendants reported that he suffered in his last months from classic symptoms of terminal alcoholism and cirrhosis,[43] yet continued drinking heavily. She added, "At the same time there was a power about him and an equanimity to his presence that was phenomenal, that I don't know how to explain."[44]

Trungpa is reported to have remained in a state of samādhi for five days after his death, his body not immediately decaying and his heart remaining warm.[45] His body was packed in salt, laid in a wooden box, and conveyed to Karmê Chöling. A number of observers have reported that his cremation there on May 26, 1987, was accompanied by various atmospheric effects and other signs traditionally viewed as marks of enlightenment. These included the appearance of rainbows, circling eagles,[46][47] and a cloud in the shape of an Ashe.[48][49]

Continuation of the Shambhala lineage

Upon Trungpa's death, the leadership of Vajradhatu was first carried on by his American disciple, appointed regent and Dharma heir, Ösel Tendzin (Thomas Rich), and then by Trungpa's eldest son and Shambhala heir, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche.

The next Trungpa tülku, Chokyi Sengay, was recognized in 1991 by Tai Situ Rinpoche.


Major lineage holders of Trungpa's Tibetan Buddhist traditions and many other Buddhist teachers supported his work.

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

In 1974, Trungpa invited the 16th Karmapa, head of the Karma Kagyu lineage, to come to the West and offer teachings. Based on this visit, the Karmapa proclaimed Trungpa one of the principal Kagyu lineage holders in the west:

The ancient and renowned lineage of the Trungpas, since the great siddha Trungmase Chökyi Gyamtso Lodrö, possessor of only holy activity, has in every generation given rise to great beings. Awakened by the vision of these predecessors in the lineage, this my present lineage holder, Chökyi Gyamtso Trungpa Rinpoche, supreme incarnate being, has magnificently carried out the vajra holders' discipline in the land of America, bringing about the liberation of students and ripening them in the dharma. This wonderful truth is clearly manifest.

Accordingly, I empower Chögyam Trungpa Vajra Holder and Possessor of the Victory Banner of the Practice Lineage of the Karma Kagyu. Let this be recognized by all people of both elevated and ordinary station.[50]

In 1981, Trungpa and his students hosted the 14th Dalai Lama in his visit to Boulder, Colorado. Of Trungpa, the Dalai Lama later wrote, "Exceptional as one of the first Tibetan lamas to become fully assimilated into Western culture, he made a powerful contribution to revealing the Tibetan approach to inner peace in the West."[51]

Trungpa also received support from one of his own main teachers, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, head of the Nyingma lineage. In addition to numerous sadhanas and poems dedicated to Trungpa, Khyentse Rinpoche wrote a supplication after Trungpa's death specifically naming him a mahasiddha.[52][53][54] Among other Tibetan lamas to name Trungpa a mahasiddha are the Sixteenth Karmapa, Thrangu Rinpoche, Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche and Tai Situpa.[55]

The Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche said, "As taught in the Buddhist scriptures, there are nine qualities of a perfect master of buddhadharma. The eleventh Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche possessed all nine of these."[56]

Suzuki Roshi, founder of the San Francisco Zen Center and Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, and another important exponent of Buddhism to western students, described Trungpa in the context of a talk about emptiness:

The way you can struggle with this is to be supported by something, something you don't know. As we are human beings, there must be that kind of feeling. You must feel it in this city or building or community. So whatever community it may be, it is necessary for it to have this kind of spiritual support.

That is why I respect Trungpa Rinpoche. He is supporting us. You may criticize him because he drinks alcohol like I drink water, but that is a minor problem. He trusts you completely. He knows that if he is always supporting you in a true sense you will not criticize him, whatever he does. And he doesn't mind whatever you say. That is not the point, you know. This kind of big spirit, without clinging to some special religion or form of practice, is necessary for human beings.[57]

Gehlek Rinpoche, who lived with Trungpa when they were young monks in India and later visited and taught with him in the U.S., remarked:

He was a great Tibetan yogi, a friend, and a master. The more I deal with Western Dharma students, the more I appreciate how he presented the dharma and the activities that he taught. Whenever I meet with difficulties, I begin to understand – sometimes before solving the problem, sometimes afterward – why Trungpa Rinpoche did some unconventional things. I do consider him to be the father of Tibetan Buddhism in the United States. In my opinion, he left very early – too early. His death was a great loss. Everything he did is significant.[58]

Diana Mukpo, his wife, stated:

First, Rinpoche always wanted feedback. He very, very much encouraged his students’ critical intelligence. One of the reasons that people were in his circle was that they were willing to be honest and direct with him. He definitely was not one of those teachers who asked for obedience and wanted their students not to think for themselves. He thrived, he lived, on the intelligence of his students. That is how he built his entire teaching situation.

From my perspective, I could always be pretty direct with him. Maybe I was not hesitant to do that because I really trusted the unconditional nature of our relationship. I felt there was really nothing to lose by being absolutely direct with him, and he appreciated that.[59]


[Trungpa] caused more trouble, and did more good, than anyone I'll ever know.

—Rick Fields, historian of Buddhism in America[60][61]

Among the forebears formally acknowledged by the Trungpa lineage, and referred to by Trungpa, were the Indian mahasiddha Ḍombipa[62] (also known as Ḍombi Heruka; his name may have stemmed from his consorting with Dhombis, outcast women)[63] and Drukpa Künlek (also Kunley), the Mad Yogi of Bhutan, who converted Bhutan to Buddhism and was famous for his fondness for beer and women.[64][65] Both were recognized for their powerful but unorthodox teaching styles.

Trungpa's own teaching style was often unconventional. In his own words, "When we talk about compassion, we talk in terms of being kind. But compassion is not so much being kind; it is being creative to wake a person up."[66] He did not encourage his students to imitate his own behavior, and was troubled by those who felt empowered by his example to do whatever they wanted and manipulate people. As the third Jamgön Kongtrül explained to Trungpa's students, "You shouldn't imitate or judge the behavior of your teacher, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, unless you can imitate his mind."[67]

Trungpa's sexuality has been one of the sources of controversy, as he cultivated relations with a number of his female students. Tenzin Palmo, who met him in 1962 while he was still at Oxford, did not become one of his consorts, refusing his advances because he had presented himself as "a pure monk." But Palmo stated that had she known Trungpa had been having sexual relations with women since he was 13, she would not have declined.[68] Trungpa formally renounced his monastic vows in 1969.[69]

Trungpa was also known for smoking tobacco and liberally using alcohol;[70] many who knew him characterized him as an alcoholic.[71][72] He began drinking occasionally shortly after arriving in India.[73] Before coming to the US, Trungpa drove a sports car into a joke shop in Dumfries, Scotland.[74] While his companion was not seriously injured,[75] Trungpa was left partially paralyzed. Later, he described this event as a pivotal moment that inspired the course of his teachings. Some accounts ascribe the accident to drinking.[76][77] Others suggest he may have had a stroke.[78][79] According to Trungpa himself, he blacked out.[80]

Trungpa often combined drinking with teaching. David Chadwick recounts:[81]

Suzuki [Roshi] asked Trungpa to give a talk to the students in the zendo the next night. Trungpa walked in tipsy and sat on the edge of the altar platform with his feet dangling. But he delivered a crystal-clear talk, which some felt had a quality – like Suzuki's talks – of not only being about the dharma but being itself the dharma.

In some instances Trungpa was too drunk to walk and had to be carried.[77] Also, according to his student John Steinbeck IV and his wife, on a couple of occasions Trungpa's speech was unintelligible.[82] One woman reported serving him "big glasses of gin first thing in the morning."[43]

The Steinbecks wrote The Other Side of Eden, a sharply critical memoir of their lives with Trungpa in which they claim that, in addition to alcohol, he spent $40,000 a year on cocaine, and used Seconal to come down from the cocaine. The Steinbecks said the cocaine use was kept secret from the wider Vajradhatu community.[83]

An incident that became a cause célèbre among some poets and artists was the Halloween party at Snowmass Colorado Seminary in 1975, held during a 3-month period of intensive meditation and study of the Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana vehicles of Tibetan Buddhism. The poet W. S. Merwin had arrived at the Naropa Institute that summer and been told by Allen Ginsberg that he ought to attend the seminary. Although he had not gone through the several years' worth of study and preparatory mind training required, Merwin insisted on attending and Trungpa eventually granted his request – along with Merwin's girlfriend. At seminary the couple kept to themselves. At the Halloween party, after many, including Trungpa himself, had taken off their clothes, Merwin was asked to join the event but refused. On Trungpa's orders, his Vajra Guard forced entry into the poet's locked and barricaded room; brought him and his girlfriend, Dana Naone, against their will, to the party; and eventually stripped them of all their clothes, with onlookers ignoring Naone's pleas for help and for someone to call the police.[84] The next day Trungpa asked Merwin and Naone to remain at the Seminary as either students or guests. They agreed to stay for several more weeks to hear the Vajrayana teachings, with Trungpa's promise that "there would be no more incidents" and Merwin's that there would be "no guarantees of obedience, trust, or personal devotion to him."[85] They left immediately after the last talk. In a 1977 letter to members of a Naropa class investigating the incident, Merwin concluded,

My feelings about Trungpa have been mixed from the start. Admiration, throughout, for his remarkable gifts; and reservations, which developed into profound misgivings, concerning some of his uses of them. I imagine, at least, that I've learned some things from him (though maybe not all of them were the things I was "supposed" to learn) and some through him, and I'm grateful to him for those. I wouldn't encourage anyone to become a student of his. I wish him well.[86]

The incident became known to a wider public when Tom Clark published "The Great Naropa Poetry Wars". The Naropa Institute later asked Ed Sanders and his class to conduct an internal investigation, resulting in a lengthy report.[87][88][89][90][91]

Eliot Weinberger commented on the incident in a critique aimed at Trungpa and Allen Ginsberg published in The Nation on April 19, 1980. He complained that the fascination of some of the best minds of his generation with Trungpa's presentation of Tibetan Buddhism and Tibetan theocracy created a dangerous exclusivity and elitism.[92]

Author Jeffery Paine commented on this incident that "[s]eeing Merwin out of step with the rest, Trungpa could have asked him to leave, but decided it was kinder to shock him out of his aloofness."[93] Paine also noted the outrage felt in particular by poets such as Robert Bly and Kenneth Rexroth, who began calling Trungpa a fascist.[94]

Trungpa's choice of Westerner Ösel Tendzin as his dharma heir was controversial, as Tendzin was the first Western Tibetan Buddhist lineage holder and Vajra Regent. This was exacerbated by Tendzin's own behavior as lineage holder. While knowingly HIV-positive, Tendzin was sexually involved with students, one of whom became infected and died.[95]


1940: Born in Kham, Eastern Tibet. Enthroned as eleventh Trungpa Tulku, Supreme Abbot of Surmang Monasteries, and Governor of Surmang District. Some put his birth in 1939.[96]

1944–59: Studies traditional monastic disciplines, meditation, and philosophy, as well as calligraphy, thangka painting, and monastic dance.

1947: Ordained as a shramanera (novice monk).

1958: Receives degrees of Kyorpön (Master of Studies) and Khenpo (Doctor of Divinity). Ordained as a bhikshu (full monk).

1959–60: Follows the Dalai Lama to India during the 1959 Tibetan uprising, which failed to overthrow the Chinese government.

1960–63: By appointment of the 14th Dalai Lama, serves as spiritual advisor to the Young Lamas' Home School in Dalhousie, India.

1962: Fathers first son, Ösel Rangdröl (Mukpo), by a nun later referred to as Lady Kunchok Palden (or Lady Konchok Palden).[97]

1963–67: Attends Oxford University on a Spaulding scholarship, studying comparative religion, philosophy, and fine arts. Receives instructor's degree of the Sogetsu School of ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement).[98]

1967: Co-founds, with Akong Rinpoche, Kagyu Samyé Ling Monastery and Tibetan Centre, in Dumfriesshire, Scotland.[98]

1969: Travels to Bhutan and goes on solitary retreat.[98]

1969: Receives The Sadhana of Mahamudra terma text while on retreat in Paro Taktsang, a sacred cliffside monastery in Bhutan.[99]

1969: Becomes the first Tibetan British subject. Injured in a car accident, leaving him partially paralyzed.[100]

1970: After the accident Chögyam Trungpa renounces his monastic vows.[100] He claims that the dharma needs to be free of cultural trappings to take root.[98]

1970: Marries wealthy sixteen-year-old English student Diana Judith Pybus.[101]

1970: Arrives in North America. Establishes Tail of the Tiger, a Buddhist meditation and study center in Vermont, now known as Karmê Chöling. Establishes Karma Dzong, a Buddhist community in Boulder, Colorado.[102]

1971: Begins teaching at University of Colorado. Establishes Rocky Mountain Dharma Center, now known as Shambhala Mountain Center, near Fort Collins, Colorado.

1972: Initiates Maitri, a therapeutic program that works with different styles of neurosis using principles of the five buddha families. Conducts the Milarepa Film Workshop, a program which analyzes the aesthetics of film, on Lookout Mountain, Colorado.

1973: Founds Mudra Theater Group, which stages original plays and practices theater exercises, based on traditional Tibetan dance.[103] Incorporates Vajradhatu, an international association of Buddhist meditation and study centers, now known as Shambhala International. Establishes Dorje Khyung Dzong, a retreat facility in southern Colorado.[104] Conducts first annual Vajradhatu Seminary, a three-month advanced practice and study program.

1974: Incorporates Nalanda Foundation, a nonprofit, nonsectarian educational organization to encourage and organize programs in the fields of education, psychology, and the arts. Hosts the first North American visit of The Sixteenth Gyalwang Karmapa, head of the Karma Kagyü lineage. Founds The Naropa Institute, a contemplative studies and liberal arts college, now fully accredited as Naropa University. Forms the organization that will become the Dorje Kasung, a service group entrusted with the protection of the buddhist teachings and the welfare of the community.

1975: Forms the organization that will become the Shambhala Lodge, a group of students dedicated to fostering enlightened society. Founds the Nalanda Translation Committee for the translation of Buddhist texts from Tibetan and Sanskrit. Establishes Ashoka Credit Union.

1976: Hosts the first North American visit of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, revered meditation master and scholar of the Nyingma lineage. Hosts a visit of Dudjom Rinpoche, head of the Nyingma lineage. Empowers Thomas F. Rich as his dharma heir, known thereafter as Vajra Regent Ösel Tendzin. Establishes the Kalapa Court in Boulder, Colorado, as his residence and a cultural center for the Vajradhatu community. Receives the first of several Shambhala terma texts (see termas). These comprise the literary source for the Shambhala teachings. Founds Alaya Preschool in Boulder, Colorado.

1977: Bestows the Vajrayogini abhisheka for the first time in the West for students who have completed ngöndro practice. Establishes the celebration of Shambhala Day. Observes a year-long retreat in Charlemont, Massachusetts. Founds Shambhala Training to promote a secular approach to meditation practice and an appreciation of basic human goodness. Visits Nova Scotia for the first time.

1978: Conducts the first annual Magyal Pomra Encampment, an advanced training program for members of the Dorje Kasung. Conducts the first annual Kalapa Assembly, an intensive training program for advanced Shambhala teachings and practices. Conducts the first Dharma Art seminar. Forms Amara, an association of health professionals. Forms the Upaya Council, a mediation council providing a forum for resolving disputes. Establishes the Midsummer's Day festival and Children's Day.

1979: Empowers his eldest son, Ösel Rangdröl Mukpo, as his successor and heir to the Shambhala lineage. Founds the Shambhala School of Dressage, an equestrian school under the direction of his wife, Lady Diana Mukpo. Founds Vidya Elementary School in Boulder, Colorado.

1980–83: Presents a series of environmental installations and flower arranging exhibitions at art galleries in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, and Boulder.

1980: Forms Kalapa Cha to promote the practice of traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony. With the Nalanda Translation Committee, completes the first English translation of The Rain of Wisdom.

1981: Hosts the visit of the 14th Dalai Lama to Boulder, Colorado. Conducts the first annual Buddhist-Christian Conference in Boulder, Colorado, exploring the common ground between Buddhist and Christian contemplative traditions. Forms Ryuko Kyūdōjō to promote the practice of Kyūdō under the direction of Shibata Kanjuro Sensei, bow maker to the Emperor of Japan. Directs a film, Discovering Elegance, using footage of his environmental installation and flower arranging exhibitions.

1982: Forms Kalapa Ikebana to promote the study and practice of Japanese flower arranging.

1983: Establishes Gampo Abbey, a Karma Kagyü monastery located in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, for Western students wishing to enter into traditional monastic discipline. Creates a series of elocution exercises to promote precision and mindfulness of speech.

1984–85: Observes a year-long retreat in Mill Village, Nova Scotia.

1986: Moves his home and the international headquarters of Vajradhatu to Halifax, Nova Scotia.

1987: Dies in Halifax; cremated May 26 at Karmê Chöling. (His followers have constructed a chorten or stupa, The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya, located near Red Feather Lakes, Colorado, for his remains.)

1989: The child recognized as his reincarnation, Chokyi Sengay, is born in Derge, Tibet; recognized two years later by Tai Situ Rinpoche.
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:44 am

Part 2 of 2


• Born in Tibet (1966), autobiography, story of escaping from Tibet.
• Meditation in Action (1969)
• Mudra (1972)
• Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism (1973)
• The Dawn of Tantra, by Herbert V. Guenther and Chögyam Trungpa (1975)
• Glimpses of Abhidharma (1975)
• The Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Great Liberation through Hearing in the Bardo, translated with commentary by Francesca Fremantle and Chögyam Trungpa (1975)
• Visual Dharma: The Buddhist Art of Tibet (1975)
• The Myth of Freedom and the Way of Meditation (1976)
• The Rain of Wisdom (1980)
• Journey without Goal: The Tantric Wisdom of the Buddha (1981)
• The Life of Marpa the Translator (1982)
• First Thought Best Thought: 108 Poems (1983)
• Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior (1984)
• Crazy Wisdom (1991)
• The Heart of the Buddha (1991)
• Orderly Chaos: The Mandala Principle (1991)
• Secret Beyond Thought: The Five Chakras and the Four Karmas (1991)
• The Lion's Roar: An Introduction to Tantra (1992)
• Transcending Madness: The Experience of the Six Bardos (1992)
• Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving Kindness (1993)
• Glimpses of Shunyata (1993)
• The Art of Calligraphy: Joining Heaven and Earth (1994)
• Illusion's Game: The Life and Teaching of Naropa (1994)
• The Path Is the Goal: A Basic Handbook of Buddhist Meditation (1995)
• Dharma Art (1996)
• Timely Rain: Selected Poetry of Chögyam Trungpa (1998)
• Great Eastern Sun: The Wisdom of Shambhala (1999)
• Glimpses of Space: The Feminine Principle and Evam (1999)
• The Essential Chögyam Trungpa (2000)
• Glimpses of Mahayana (2001)
• Glimpses of Realization (2003)
• The Collected Works of Chögyam Trungpa, Volumes One through Eight (2003)
• True Command: The Teachings of the Dorje Kasung, Volume I, The Town Talks (2004)
• The Sanity We Are Born With: A Buddhist Approach to Psychology (2005)
• The Teacup & the Skullcup: Chogyam Trungpa on Zen and Tantra (2007)
• The Mishap Lineage: Transforming Confusion into Wisdom (2009)
• Smile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery (2010)
• The Truth of Suffering and the Path of Liberation (2010)
• Work, Sex, Money. Real Life on the Path of Mindfulness (2011)
• The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma (2013)
• The Path of Individual Liberation (volume 1) (2013)
• The Bodhisattava Path of Wisdom and Compassion (volume 2) (2013)
• The Tantric Path of Indestructible Wakefulness (volume 3) (2013)
• Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness (2013)
• Devotion and Crazy Wisdom: Teachings on the Sadhana of Mahamudra (2015)
• Glimpses of the Profound: Four Short Works (2016)
• Mindfulness in Action: Making Friends with Yourself through Meditation and Everyday Awareness (2016)
• Milarepa: Lessons from the Life and Songs of Tibet's Great Yogi (2017)
• The Future Is Open: Good Karma, Bad Karma, and Beyond Karma (2018)

See also

• Buddhism in the United States
• Shambhala Buddhism
• Tulku (documentary film by Trungpa's son Gesar Mukpo)
• Celtic Buddhism
• Ken Keyes, Jr.
• Miksang (contemplative photography)
• Reginald Ray
• Samaya
• Charles H, Percy


1. ... rmont.html
2. Midal, 2005
3. Luminous passage: the practice and study of Buddhism in America By Charles S. Prebish; p44
4. "Exceptional as one of the first Tibetan lamas to become fully assimilated into Western culture, he made a powerful contribution in revealing the Tibetan approach to inner peace in the West." The Dalai Lama, "A message from his Holiness, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama" in Recalling Chogyam Trungpa Ed. Fabrice Midal; pp ix–x
5. Chögyam The Translator Archived 2008-08-29 at the Wayback Machine
6. Divalerio, David (2015). The Holy Madmen of Tibet. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 239.
7. MacLean, Grant (2016). From Lion's Jaws - Chögyam Trungpa's Epic Escape To The West (1 ed.). Mountain. ISBN 978-0-9950293-0-9.
8. Trungpa, Chögyam (1966). Born in Tibet.164
9. MacLean, Grant (2016). From Lion's Jaws: Chögyam Trungpa's Epic Escape To The West
10. Trungpa, Chögyam (1966). Born in Tibet.
11. From Lion's Jaws, 65-69.
12. Born in Tibet. 164
13. Born in Tibet.230
14. Born in Tibet.239
15. Born in Tibet.248
16. From Lion's Jaws.270
17. "Finding the Escape Route". Retrieved December 5, 2016.
18. From Lion's Jaws.10-12.
19. "Place in History". Retrieved December 5, 2016.
20. "From Lion's Jaws". Retrieved December 5, 2016.
21. Palmo., Tenzin (2014). The Life and Accomplishments of Freda Bedi, in Karma Lekshe Tsomo, editor. Eminent Buddhist Women. New York: SUNY. ISBN 143845130X.
22. From Lion's Jaws.284
23. Trungpa, Chogyam (2000). Born in Tibet (4 ed.). Boston: Shambhala Publications. p. 252. ISBN 1-57062-116-0.
24. The Buddhist Handbook: A Complete Guide to Buddhist Teaching and Practice at Google Books
25. "Bringing Chogyam Trungpa's "Crazy Wisdom" to the screen "
26. Born in Tibet, 1977 edition, Epilogue
27. last paragraph is exact quote from
28. Interview with Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche; 17 September 2003 [1], after [2]
29. Dead but not lost: grief narratives in religious traditions By Robert Goss, Dennis Klass; p74
30. Butterfield 11
31. Butterfield 12, 100
32. Butterfield 239
33. "What Kind of Buddhist was Steve Jobs, Really?". Retrieved 2015-10-26.
34. Longchen Foundation Archived 2012-01-28 at the Wayback Machine
35. Rigdzin Shikpo 2007
36. Midal 2001, pp 233–247
37. Trungpa 2004, Introduction to Volume 8
38. Midal 2005, pp 363–364
39. Chogyam The Translator, see p. 4 Archived 2008-08-29 at the Wayback Machine
40. Hayward, 2008, p 367
41. Mukpo, 2006, p. 382
42. Chronicles Radio Presents. November 1st, 2008.[3]
43. Butler, Katy. Encountering the Shadow in Buddhist America in Common Boundary May/June 1990. pg. 17
44. Zweig 1991, p. 142
45. Hayward, 2008, p. 371
46. Miles, 1989, pp. 526–528
47. Hayward, 2008, p. 373
48. "Collective identity and the post-charismatic fate of Shambhala International" by Eldershaw, Lynn P., Ph.D. thesis, University of Waterloo, 2004. pg 222
49. "Everyone who stayed long enough at Trungpa's cremation saw the rainbows." Stephen Butterfield, in The new Buddhism: the western transformation of an ancient tradition By James William Coleman; p77
50. "Proclamation to all Those Who Dwell Under the Sun Upholding the Tradition of the Spiritual and Temporal Orders", The Gyalwang Karmapa, 1974, in Garuda IV, 1976, pp 86–87, ISBN 0-87773-086-5.
51. Midal, 2005. p. x
52. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Light of Blessings
53. Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, Reflections on Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche
54. The Vajracarya Trungpa Rinpoche Archived December 5, 2008, at the Wayback Machine: "The 1st Trungpa Rinpoche ... was an incarnation of the Indian Mahasiddha Dombipa"
55. Warrior-King of Shambhala: Remembering Chogyam Trungpa By Jeremy Hayward; p274
56. Midal, 2005. p. 16
57. Midal, 2005. p. 381
58. Midal, 2005. p. 418
59. [4]
60. Fields 1992
61. Fields 1988, poem "CTR, April 4, 1987" in Fuck You Cancer and Other Poems, p. 9. Crooked Cloud Projects (1999)
62. Born in Tibet. p. 33.
63. "Mahasiddha Dombhipa… Dombipa / Dombipāda (dom bhi he ru ka): "He of the Washer Folk"/"The Tiger Rider"". Retrieved 12 December 2016.
64. Chogyam Trungpa: His Life and Vision. p. 154.
65. Dowman, Keith (2014). The Divine Madman: The Sublime Life and Songs of Drukpa Kunley. Createspace. ISBN 1495379833.
66. The Collected Works of Chögyam Trungpa, Volume Six, p. 541
67. Midal 2001, p. 160
68. Cave in the Snow: Tendzin Palmo's quest for enlightenment by Vicki MacKenzie. Bloomsbury: 1998 ISBN 1-58234-004-8. pg 31
69. The Collected Works of Chogyam Trungpa, Volume 1. Shambhala Publications: 2004 ISBN 1-59030-025-4 pg xxix
70. Lojong and Tonglen Community Site. Biography of Chogyam TrungpaArchived 2006-05-14 at the Wayback Machine
71. Coleman 2001, pg. 74
72. Das 1997, pg. 251
73. Mukpo 72
74. Das 1997, pg. 199
75. The new Buddhism: the western transformation of an ancient tradition By James William Coleman; p75
76. The American occupation of Tibetan Buddhism: Tibetans and their American ... By Eve Mullen; p56
77. Zweig 1991, p.141
78. "Following a stroke which left him partially paralyzed, Trungpa renounced his monastic vows" The A to Z of Buddhism – Page 258 by Charles S. Prebish
79. The Dharma Fellowship
80. Warrior-King of Shambhala: Remembering Chogyam Trungpa By Jeremy Hayward; p10
81. Chadwick 1999, p. 374
82. Steinbeck 2001, pp. 176, 248
83. Steinbeck 2001, pp. 32, 41, 266
84. Sanders, 1977, throughout; Miles 1989, pp. 466–470; and Clark 1980, pp. 23–25
85. Sanders, 1977, pp. 56, 88
86. Sanders, 1977, pg. 89
87. Clark (1980)
88. Marin (1979) p43-58
89. Sanders (1977)
90. Kashner (2004) p. 278ff
91. Weinberger (1986) pp 30-33
92. "Cadmus Editions on Clark's publication".
93. Paine (2004) pp. 106–107
94. Paine (2004) pg. 102
95. Fields 1992, p. 365
96. Shambhala Teachers – Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa RinpocheArchived 2005-05-31 at the Wayback Machine
97. Eldershaw 2007, p. 83
98. Trungpa, Chögyam (1996). Judith L. Lief (ed.). True Perception: The Path of Dharma Art. Shambhala. p. 133. ISBN 1-57062-136-5.
99. Sadhana of Mahamudra
100. The Collected Works of Chogyam Trungpa, Volume 1, p. xxvii, at Google Books
101. Weinberger, 1986, p. 29
102. Karma Dzong
103. "Mudra Theater Group". Archived from the original on 2008-04-09. Retrieved 2008-03-25.
104. Dorje Khyung Dzong


• Butterfield, Stephen T. The Double Mirror: A Skeptical Journey into Buddhist Tantra. North Atlantic Books, 1994. ISBN 1-55643-176-7
• Chadwick, David (1999). Crooked Cucumber: The Life and Zen Teachings of Shunryu Suzuki. ISBN 0-7679-0104-5
• Clark, Tom (1980). The Great Naropa Poetry Wars. ISBN 0-932274-06-4
• Coleman, James William. The New Buddhism: The Western Transformation of an Ancient Tradition (2001) Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-513162-2
• Das, Bhagavan (1997). It's Here Now (Are You?) Broadway. ISBN 0-7679-0008-1
• Eldershaw, Lynn P. "Collective identity and the post-charismatic fate of Shambhala International" 2004 Ph.D. thesis, University of Waterloo; an article drawn from this thesis was published in Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions, (2007) Vol. 10 No. 4, pp. 72–102, ISSN 1092-6690
• Fields, Rick (3rd ed., 1992). How the Swans Came to the Lake: A Narrative History of Buddhism in America. ISBN 0-87773-631-6
• Hayward, Jeremy (2008). Warrior-King of Shambhala: Remembering Chögyam Trungpa. ISBN 0-86171-546-2
• Kashner, Sam. When I Was Cool: My Life at the Jack Kerouac School. HarperCollins, 2004. ISBN 0-06-000566-1.
• Mackenzie, Vicki (1999). Cave in the Snow: Tenzin Palmo's Quest for Enlightenment. ISBN 978-1-58234-045-6
• MacLean, Grant (2016). "From Lion's Jaws: Chögyam Trungpa's Epic Escape To The West". ISBN 978-0-9950293-0-9
• Marin, Peter. "Spiritual Obedience: The Transcendental Game of Follow the Leader." In Harpers Magazine. February 1979.
• Midal, Fabrice (2001). Chögyam Trungpa: His Life and Vision. ISBN 1-59030-098-X
• Midal, Fabrice (2005). Recalling Chögyam Trungpa. ISBN 1-59030-207-9
• Miles, Barry (1989). Ginsberg: A Biography. ISBN 0-671-50713-3
• Paine, Jeffery (2004) Re-Enchantment: Tibetan Buddhism Comes to the West ISBN 0-393-01968-3
• Rigdzin Shikpo (2007). Never Turn Away. ISBN 0-86171-488-1
• Sanders, Ed (ed.) (1977). The Party: A Chronological Perspective on a Confrontation at a Buddhist Seminary. (no ISBN)
• Steinbeck, John Steinbeck IV and Nancy (2001). The Other Side of Eden: Life with John Steinbeck Prometheus Books. ISBN 1-57392-858-5
• Trungpa, Chogyam (2004). "The Collected Works of Chogyam Trungpa, Volume Eight". ISBN 1-59030-032-7
• Weinberger, Eliot (1986). Works on Paper. ISBN 0-8112-1001-4
• Zweig, Connie; Jeremiah Abrams (eds.) (1991). Meeting the Shadow. ISBN 0-87477-618-X
Further reading[edit]
• Feuerstein, Georg. Holy Madness: The Shock Tactics and Radical Teachings of Crazy-Wise Adepts, Holy Fools, and Rascal Gurus. Paragon House, 1991. ISBN 1-55778-250-4
• Feuerstein, Georg. Holy Madness: Spirituality, Crazy-Wise Teachers, And Enlightenment (revised and expanded edition of Feuerstein, 1991). Hohm Press, 2006. ISBN 1-890772-54-2
• Marin, Peter. "Spiritual Obedience" in Freedom & Its Discontents, Steerforth Press, 1995, ISBN 1-883642-24-8
• Midal, Fabrice. Chögyam Trungpa: His Life and Vision. Shambhala, 2004. ISBN 1-59030-098-X
• Mukpo, Diana J. Dragon Thunder: My Life with Chögyam Trungpa. Shambhala, 2006. ISBN 1-59030-256-7
• Perks, John. The Mahasiddha and His Idiot Servant. Crazy Heart Publishers. ISBN 9780975383605
• Chögyam Trungpa/Dorje Dradül of Mukpo: Great Eastern Sun: The Wisdom of Shambhala (1999), 2nd edition 2001, [5], Shambhala Root Text.
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:46 am

Buddhist official tells police alleged abuse victim was exploring her sexuality
by Joshua Eaton
Religion News Service
July 1, 2019



(RNS) — An official in the Buddhist group Shambhala International told police in May that a young woman was “exploring her own sexuality” when she was sexually assaulted more than a decade ago at age 13 by another man in the group and that her “exploration” fed the man’s addiction to pornography, according to a police incident report.

The official, Dennis L. Southward, 70, also told police that the woman “could do a lot of damage” to an important member of the community if she pressed charges against her alleged abuser, 54-year-old Michael Smith.

“Southward also pointed out that this incident occurred several years ago and that Smith is a business owner who is still involved in the Shambhala community within Colorado,” the police report says.

Southward went on to say that police needed to tell Smith’s accuser about the counseling he received after allegedly assaulting her.

The comments come as Shambhala International faces a wave of criticism after the advocacy group Buddhist Project Sunshine published a series of four reports detailing allegations of sexual assault by its leader, Sakyong Mipham, and other senior members.

Mipham and Shambhala International have denied parts of those reports.

Southward held a senior rank in the Dorje Kasung, a group within Shambhala International that acts as an internal security force. He has also taught courses at several local Shambhala centers.

Reached by phone Sunday afternoon, Southward declined to comment on his statements to police. He did not respond to detailed follow-up questions sent by text message and email.

Shambhala International’s interim board suspended Southward from his leadership roles Sunday (June 30) “pending further investigation.”

“The views expressed by Mr. Southward in the incident case report do not reflect the opinion of the Shambhala organization nor its leaders,” the board said in a statement. “We remain committed to creating safe environments for families and children and stand firmly against child abuse.”

“Shambhala leadership has and will continue to cooperate and assist authorities in investigating reports of sexual assault of any kind, and encourage anyone with information about such incidents to report it to local authorities,” the statement continued.

The local Shambhala center in Boulder, Colorado, did not return a request for comment Sunday.

Michael Smith. Photo courtesy of Boulder County Sheriff’s Office

Southward made the remarks while police were interviewing him as part of their investigation into Smith after the woman came forward in February to report the abuse to police.

Smith turned himself in to the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office early Friday (June 28) after Boulder city police issued a warrant for his arrest on one charge of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust as a pattern of sexual abuse.

Smith posted bond Friday night and was released from custody. He is expected back in court on Tuesday (July 2) for filing of charges.

Police say Smith sexually assaulted the woman several times beginning in 1997, when she was about 13 years old, at her home while he was renting a room there from her parents, whom he had met through the Boulder Shambhala Center.

Smith, who has not entered a plea, declined requests for comment.

The woman told one of her school teachers and a close friend of her mother about the abuse in late 1998, according to the police report. The teacher reported the incidents to police, but the family decided not to pursue criminal charges and instead called Southward, who was a leader in the Boulder Shambhala community.

“(Southward’s) role in the Shambhala community was the person who deals with family conflicts or domestic violence issues within families,” the accuser’s father told police, according to a summary of his interview with police that is contained in the incident report.

“(The woman’s father) described Dennis Southward as ‘the rock’ and the one you would call for situations like the one they were dealing with,” the interview summary continued.

Another person interviewed by police described Southward as “having a health and well being role within the Shambhala Buddhist community.” Southward himself told police that “he is known throughout the Shambhala Community (sic) as someone who will address issues.”

Southward made Smith move out of the young woman’s home and helped negotiate an arrangement by which Smith would pay for the woman’s counseling and would seek counseling himself, according to the report. He also set “boundaries” for Smith’s contact with children at Shambhala events, according to the report.

The woman’s father spoke favorably of Southward in his interview with police, calling him a “good friend.”

But not everyone was pleased with the arrangements Southward made.

The family friend to whom the young woman reported the abuse at the time told police that she “became ‘incredibly irritated’ because Mike Smith was a Buddhist at the time, and everyone wanted to keep it in the Buddhist community.”

Boulder police say they also have been contacted by another woman, who alleged that Smith sexually assaulted her when she was 11 years old at Karme Choling, a meditation center that Shambhala International operates in rural Caledonia County, Vermont. Authorities in Vermont are investigating that allegation.

In a statement, Shambhala International’s interim board said that neither the board nor the organization’s Care and Conduct Panel, which handles allegations of sexual misconduct, was aware of the allegations against Smith before his arrest on Friday.

Police said the two survivors do not know each other and that the women came forward after police in Boulder arrested former Shambhala teacher William L. Karelis, 71, in February for allegedly assaulting a 13-year-old girl he met through the Buddhist group.

Karelis has denied the charges and pleaded not guilty. His case is pending trial.
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:59 am

Letter to Shambhala Community re Michael Smith Arrest
by The Interim Board
July 1, 2019



On Friday, former Shambhala member Michael Smith was arrested pending allegations of child sexual abuse, making him the second former member arrested this year. We are writing to provide you with further information about this incident, and encourage any current or former members with information about criminal activity to report it to local authorities.

Neither the Shambhala Interim Board nor the International Care and Conduct Panel were aware of any incidents involving Michael Smith prior to his arrest on June 28, 2019.

Immediately after learning about the arrest, the Interim Board began a process of information discovery related to these allegations. During this process, questions arose related to the handling of this case internally by Shambhala leaders in the 1990s. The Interim Board has decided to formally investigate this case by hiring a third-party investigator. We will provide the Shambhala community with further details about this process once an investigator is hired and a scope of work is confirmed. As of yesterday, June 30, we have suspended a leader from all teaching and leadership authorizations who was involved in handling this incident pending the third-party investigation.

As we announced in our June update, the Interim Board has prioritized hiring a full-time Care and Conduct Officer in Shambhala. As this case further reveals, building on what we have learned from the number of reports that have been released, Shambhala officials, teachers, and office holders, as well as general members, need significantly more training on proper reporting of misconduct. As well, Shambhala should never attempt to handle crimes such as sexual [sic] assult and child abuse internally. These incidents should be reported appropriately to the police. Specifically, the organization commits to seeking out specialized training in mandated reporting procedures.

We remain committed to creating safe environments for families and children and stand firmly against child abuse. Shambhala leadership has and will continue to cooperate and assist authorities in investigating reports of sexual assault of any kind.

We encourage anyone with information about criminal activity to report it to local authorities in the jurisdiction where it occurred. For cases in Boulder, please contact Detective Ross Richert of the Boulder Police Department at 303-441-1833.


The Interim Board
Veronika Bauer
Mark Blumenfeld
Martin Bouey
John Cobb
Jen Crow
Sara Lewis
Susan Ryan
Paulina Varas
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:41 pm

September 5, 2013



The Halifax Shambhala Centre is pleased to announce that it has received a grant of $10,000 to complete the long awaited replacement of our shrine room windows. This donation is among a number of ‘going out of business’ donations that will liquidate the remaining resources of the International Council of Warriors (COW) and the Halifax Kalapa Shambhala Society (HKSS), all announced at the conclusion of the recent Scorpion Seal retreats at Dorje Denma Ling. The other donations include $7000 to Dorje Denma Ling for the construction of a central Drala Court, $2000 to the Kalapa Court for Yun Enhancements and $8000 towards completion of the Sakyong’s Kalapa Valley Scorpion Seal Retreat Cabin. These funds were gathered from proceeds of Kalapa Assemblies and HKSS dues and were stewarded and invested in seed projects serving their organizational missions to advance Shambhala vision, practice and action.

The Council of Warriors and its Warrior General Martin Janowitz were empowered by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche in 1997 with the mission of re-energizing Shambhala’s world-wide commitment to realize enlightened societies in Nova Scotia and beyond and to promote the essential practices of Shambhala. The Halifax Kalapa Shambhala Society was initially formed as the Shambhala Lodge during the epoch of the Druk Sakyong, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. The Society included all Halifax practitioners who had received the authorizations to attend Kalapa Assemblies and to practice the Werma Sadhana and most recently was led by Warriors of the Centre Bob Vogler and Marguerite Drescher. As part of the transition to Shambhala’s current pattern of governance the Council of Warriors, worldwide ‘Lodges’ and Warriors of Centers were retired.
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