Way of Shambhala
The Way of Shambhala Program is divided into two parts; Way of Shambhala I and Way of Shambhala II or Sacred Path. The Way of Shambhala I classes are divided into three separate series of classes; the Heart of Warriorship Series, the Everyday Life Series, and the Basic Goodness Series. Each series may be taken independently or concurrently. As each course in a series builds upon the preceding course’s content, each course must be taken sequentially. Therefore, prerequisites apply only within a series. Once the Way of Shambhala I series of classes has been taken, one may proceed to the Sacred Path courses.
The Way of Shambhala is a complete introduction to the foundations of Shambhala Buddhism. This series of weekend contemplative workshops (Levels I- Rigden Weekend) and weeknight classes (Everyday Life series and Basic Goodness series) provides an experiential overview of meditation practice, wisdom teachings, contemplative arts, and physical disciplines rooted in the ancient traditions of Shambhala and Tibetan Buddhism.
What follows is a further description of each series and the courses that comprise the series.
Overview of Shambhala Training
The Shambhala Tradition
A basic truth of the Shambhala teachings is that we all want to lead sane, dignified lives, and that this is possible. If we look directly at our own experience, we can discover a continuity of wakeful dignity underlying all changing conditions. This wholesome, wakeful presence is referred to in Shambhala Training as basic goodness.
The Shambhala teachings recognize that this truth of innate human wisdom and basic goodness does not belong to any one religion or doctrine. We can appreciate all genuine contemplative paths, whether they stem from the great religions, the arts, or from native spirituality; however, this wisdom arises only when the grasping and confusion of ego is stilled through a commitment to a contemplative discipline.
The Shambhala Training is inspired by the ancient legend of the Kingdom of Shambhala, said to be a society which drew its gentle and fearless sense of social responsibility from the practice of meditation. The legend of the Kingdom of Shambhala has been a guiding vision for many centuries in Asian culture and has parallels in Western traditions. Shambhala represents the ideal of secular enlightenment, a view that all aspects of civilization-family, commerce, education, science, the arts, religion-can be permeated with a natural sense of sacredness.
The Heart of Warriorship Series:
Shambhala Training is organized into five weekend workshops that include meditation training and practice, talks by senior instructors, personal interviews and group discussions. Levels I-V provide a strong foundation in mindfulness-awareness meditation practice, emphasizing the development of genuineness, confidence, humor, and dignity within the complexity of daily life. The workshops are recommended for new and experienced meditators, as well as for those looking to enrich their existing spiritual path.
Level I: The Art of Being Human
Discovering basic goodness in the world and ourselves.
This class is open to everyone and appropriate for beginner meditation students.
Level II: Birth of the Warrior
Cultivating the willingness to observe our cocoon of habitual fear and defense mechanisms.
- Prerequisite: Level I
Level III: Warrior in the World
Developing the bravery to step outside our cocoons.
- Prerequisite: Level II
Level IV: Awakened Heart
Opening to increased awareness and inquisitiveness about the world, as it is.
- Prerequisite: Level III
Level V: Open Sky
Sharpening one's awareness, one finds the open clear sky of mind-a delightful source of wisdom and uplifted energy. Trusting our nature enough to let go into the present moment.
- Prerequisite: Level IV
Everyday Life Series:
This series of courses consists of 5 weekly classes that take place in the evening. They are designed to be interactive, communal, and create a learning environment where the teachings are intimate and relevant. We train in meditation, and use inquiry, dialogue, and contemplative arts throughout the classes. While you may take either the weekend retreats (Shambhala Training) or the weekly courses (Everyday Life series) exclusively, we encourage participation in both, as the combination can profoundly deepen and extend meditation.
Meditation in Everyday Life
- This class is open to everyone and appropriate for beginner meditation students. This class corresponds with Shambhala Training Level I.
Contentment in Everyday Life
- This class is open to everyone and appropriate for beginner meditation students. This class corresponds to Shambhala Training Level II.
Joy in Everyday Life
- Prerequisite: Contentment in Everyday Life. This class corresponds to Shambhala Training Level III.
Fearlessness in Everyday Life
- Prerequisite: Joy in Everyday Life. This class corresponds to Shambhala Training Level IV.
Wisdom in Everyday Life
- Prerequisite: Fearlessness in Everyday Life. This class corresponds to Shambhala Training Level V.
Unconditional Confidence: Rigden Weekend
The final weekend class in the Way of Shambhala I program (The Everyday Life courses and the Shambhala Training weekends) is the “Rigden” weekend. The Rigden is a representation of our basic enlightened nature and embodies the principle of unconditional confidence.
- Prerequisite: Wisdom in Everyday Life and Level V
Basic Goodness Series:
The Basic Goodness Series is comprised of three 6 week classes. The Basic Goodness Series is an introduction to the view of Shambhala, taught in an experiential way. The key difference between the Everyday Life series and the Basic Goodness series is that the Everyday Life classes emphasize personal transformation in everyday life while the Basic Goodness Courses emphasize the experiential study of view and meaning. The Basic Goodness Series is the next step after completing the Everyday Life Series OR it can be the first series of courses that you take.
BG 1: Who Am I? The Basic Goodness of Being Human
- This class is open to everyone and appropriate for beginner meditation students.
BG 2: How Can I Help? The Basic Goodness of Society
- Prerequisite: Basic Goodness I: Who Am I?
BG 3: What is Real? The Basic Goodness of Reality
- Prerequisite: Basic Goodness 2: How Can I Help?
The Sacred Path:
The Sacred Path program introduces further warriorship practices that extend the basic meditation training. These practices are based on a societal vision and aspiration to help the world. This level of training cultivates one's dignity and natural gifts that are able to widen one's sphere of compassionate and practical influence. During a series of visionary experiences that took place between 1976 and 1980, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche wrote down the Shambhala texts. The Sacred Path is based on these texts and on the extensive commentaries Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche gave on these teachings and on how to practice them in modern times.
Great Eastern Sun
This weekend program teaches how to see the Great Eastern Sun, the primordial energy and brilliance that is the basis of all that exists; an introduction to membership in Shambhala-a living context for building a sane society.
This program introduces us to meditation practices that help us develop and "ride" our internal energy or " windhorse," The windhorse practice is a way to open our hearts and rouse inherent, unconditioned confidence, enabling the warrior to go forward in the midst of whatever challenges occur.
Through exploring the depth of perception, one engages the elemental and magical strength inherent in the world. The principle of drala refers to the sacred energy and power that exists when we step beyond aggression.
Meek and Perky
This weekend begins our study of the "four dignities" of warriorship, a path and a process, which describe a warrior's maturing and widening sphere of benevolent engagement in the world. The training in the dignities allows one to maintain awareness and delight at each stage.
Meek is a study of the grounded, humble and gentle beginning stages of a warrior's journey. Here one trains to overcome arrogance-the primary obstacle to learning. Perky focuses on cultivating sharp, vibrant and uplifted energy through natural discipline. Overcoming the trap of doubt, the warrior of perky is able to accomplish his or her activities with a sense of nobility and ease.
Outrageous and Inscrutable
These fruitional dignities refer to the extraordinary skill of a practiced warrior. No longer afraid of making mistakes, the unconventional and visionary perspective of the outrageous warrior combines with the skill of spontaneous inscrutability to create benefit for others on a large scale.
This program is based on a Shambhala text that works with our relationship to our sense perceptions and the vividness of the phenomenal world. It teaches the practice of enriching presence-the ability to intuitively sense the intangible richness that abides both in the natural world and in the artistic expressions of our culture.
Format of the Weekend Programs
The format of the Shambhala levels is as follows (exact times subject to change):
|Level I:||Saturday 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sunday 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
|Levels II - V and Sacred Path:|
|Friday 7 pm - 9:30 pm
Saturday 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sunday 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Although the precise schedules vary by level, a typical Shambhala Training Level schedule is:
|Friday||7 pm: Registration
7:15 pm Introductory Talk (open to all)
|Saturday||8:30 am breakfast
9:00 am guided meditation instruction; sitting and walking meditation
1:30 - 4:00 sitting meditation and individual interviews
4:30 sitting meditation and Director's talk
8:30 am breakfast
1:30 - 4:00 sitting meditation and individual interviews
4:00 Director's talk
"A lot of us feel attacked by our own aggression and by our own misery and pain. But none of that particularly presents an obstacle to creating enlightened society. What we need, to begin with, is to develop kindness toward ourselves and then to develop kindness toward others. It sounds very simpleminded, which it is. At the same time, it is VERY difficult to practice.
Pain causes a lot of chaos and resentment, and we have to overcome that. It is an extremely simple logic. Once we can overcome pain, we discover intrinsic joy, and we have less resentment toward the world and ourselves. By being here, naturally being here, we have less resentment. Resentment is not being here. We are somewhere else, because we are preoccupied with something else. When we are here, we are simply here -- without resentment and without preoccupation. And by being here, we become cheerful. Let me see you smile. That's it! Good luck."