The Way of Shambhala: Sacred Path of the Warrior
“Our life is an endless journey; it is like a broad highway that extends
infinitely into the distance. The practice of meditation provides a vehicle to
travel on that road. Our journey consists of constant ups and downs, hope
and fear, but it is a good journey. The practice of meditation allows us to
experience all the textures of the roadway, which is what the journey is all
about. Through the practice of meditation, we begin to find that within
ourselves, there is no fundamental complaint about anything or anyone at
— Chögyam Trungpa, Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior
Through the practice of meditation we can awaken to our inherent potential.
The human tradition of enlightenment manifests continually as an expression of
this potential, our basic goodness or primordial purity. This is our inherent
nature when we strip away all the layers that obscure the sun of our brilliance.
Our experience of life alternates between struggle and collapse, hope and
depression, grandiosity and self hatred. The Way of Shambhala is a pathway
out of this self-centred suffering into the light of unconditional confidence that
can be discovered through gentleness and genuineness. By facing the reality
of our lives we come to discover that we can live life meaningfully with joy,
dignity and an open heart. Daily life then is our spiritual journey, and every
moment is an opportunity for further exploration and celebration.
At the heart
of the Shambhala warrior tradition is the understanding that we possess the
earthy wisdom to live fully and compassionately, and that we have the
capacity to help solve the problems that our world faces. When we face
ourselves honestly on the meditation cushion we see we have divided
ourselves into many parts through fear, aggression and misunderstanding.
Through learning to let these divisions dissolve with gentleness and
understanding we discover that we can relate to others and our whole world
through gentleness and understanding rather than through fear and
The Way of Shambhala offers a structured path of meditation and a complete
introduction to the foundations of Shambhala Buddhism. It is suitable for
both beginning and experienced meditators, and open to people of any
spiritual tradition. This series of weekends and classes provides a strong
foundation in mindfulness-awareness meditation practice, wisdom teachings,
and physical practices rooted in the ancient traditions of Shambhala and
Students will be introduced to contemplative practices
that make the journey experiential – touching our emotions, our intelligence,
our creativity, and the practical details of daily life in modern society. The
programmes are presented by experienced Shambhala teachers under the guidance of
the Shamabhala lineage-holder, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche.
Level I: The Art of Being Human
This explores the origin of the Shambhala teachings which immediately
introduce us to our fundamental primordial nature. Meditation practice
is introduced experientially and through this we discover that there is an
alternative to being trapped in the world of our habitual patterns, this breath of
fresh air ignites a journey of healing into our true nature – a calm awake mind
and a tender courageous heart.
Meditation in Everyday Life
This series of five classes follows, or precedes, the level one weekend. Here
we deepen the experience and understanding of meditation, with practical
means of establishing sitting practice in the midst of our speedy lives. Each
class allows for open discussion of the challenges that we face when we
are confronted by the habitual nature of many of our daily activities. We
start to see why the path of gentleness and genuineness, of meditation and
is connected to the bravery and courage of warrior training, and
how the fundamental battle to help ourselves and our world is connected to
victory over our own aggression.
Level II: Birth of the Warrior
After discovering our basic tenderness and intelligence that arises through
contacting our basic goodness we also discover why we close down to our
fundamental nature. Afraid of our brilliance, afraid of our own fear, we create
a cocoon of habitual tendencies and interpretations that keeps us distracted.
At the root, fear means the fear of death which means simply the death
of “me”. Ego is the name for all the ideas, images, and feelings we have
about who we are or want to be. It is also the root of fear. Stepping out of
the cocoon of “me” is a slow process of learning about fear. Through relating
properly and thoroughly to fear we discover that the way out is through the
Contentment in Everyday Life
Here, in this series of five classes, our meditation experience is developed
through the cultivation of contentment and simplicity. We explore the
foundational views of the hinayana Buddhist teachings and meditation in
action in daily life. Through understanding the painful conditions that keep
us trapped in habitual patterns, we can open to our inherent goodness and
express the qualities of our nature that we call “Tiger” – the gentleness,
appreciation and steadiness that knows what to accept and what to reject.
Level III: Warrior in the World
When we step out of the cocoon we begin to discover a larger vision, we are
taking the first step beyond mindfulness towards awareness. We discover we
can enter this world in a sane and gentle way rather than from the aggression
and separateness of “me”. By having the daring to be true and genuine and
by being willing to experience the sharp edges of reality we can be free from
the bondage of poverty mentality or need for the protection of arrogance.
Joy in Everyday Life
This series of five classes expands the meditation experience by cultivating
the noble heart of the Mahayana teachings, opening the path to the virtue
and celebration of compassion. Through practical methods we further
develop kindness towards ourselves and others. We experience the joy
and invigoration that comes from discipline. We call this aspect of our true
nature “Lion” which represents the qualities of cheerfulness, health, and
freedom from doubt.
Level IV: Awakened Heart
Having entered the world we become inquisitive, we become really interested
in what our actual experience really is. We discover how we constantly
interpret our perceptions at every moment. We see that what we had taken
for communication was just our interpretation of our experience. The problem
is not that we interpret, that is natural, but the problem is how, even without
realising it , we believe in our interpretations. By being free of any ground to
defend we can open up to the purity of our perceptions and live our lives with
humour and equanimity.
Fearlessness in Everyday Life
Here we mix meditation with the vastness of space beyond concept. These
five classes explore the Buddhist teachings on emptiness and clear seeing,
the meditation opens to the groundlessness, uncertainty and creativity of
the world as it is. By exploring the entrapping emotions of hope and fear,
we learn to soar fearlessly like the mythical bird known as the Garuda.
Level V: Open Sky
Letting go is having the courage to fully manifest and give up our reservations,
hesitations and logics. Having made friends with ourselves through the
practice of meditation we can relax and live our sensitivity and tenderness.
Through this we discover the joy of discipline, living each moment fully awake.
This naturally connects us to others and caring for our world. The sun of
goodness shines in the vast open sky of freedom from fixed mind.
Wisdom in Everyday Life
These classes look at the qualities of an accomplished warrior whose
vastness of mind and skills in enriching the world are fully manifest. Here
the practitioner is introduced to the vajrayana teachings of Buddhism, which
reveal the sacredness of the phenomenal world. Students will receive
essential instructions for transforming confused emotions and situations into
wisdom as they arise. The accomplished warrior is no longer deterred or
depressed by obstacles, but with tremendous forward vision and strength and
fully manifesting the aspect of our true nature called “Dragon” we can playfully
include everything that arises as path. In this way the warrior is able to skilfully
benefit the world.
Level VI: The Rigden Weekend
The Way of Shambhala part one culminates in the “Rigden Weekend”. The
Rigden is a representation of our basic enlightened nature and embodies the
principle of unconditioned bravery. Historically, Rigdens were enlightened
rulers. Those who could rule their world based on unwavering experience
of our basic goodness. This weekend includes a formal transmission of the
windhorse or life force practices.
Following this, the Way of Shambhala unfolds over further courses, weekends, and longer residential programmes.
Each Shambhala Training programme offers meditation instruction, talks on the Shambhala teachings, group discussions and individual interviews.
Way of Shambhala Schedules
Dates and schedules for Way of Shambhala:
Entry-level programmes in London
Further programmes in London