Share Pin Email
feature image
Live Free

What Is Shambhala Buddhism?

Gain a better understanding of this Westernized strand of a meditation, dating back thousands of years.

523
Author Image
Meditation Advisor
SHARE:

There’s a beautiful legend that I’d like to believe is true. At the time of the Buddha there lived a king named Dawa Sangpo. He heard tales of the Buddha in whatever way people heard news back then (YouTube? Times of India?) and was inspired to study with him. He traveled a great distance only to find himself disappointed when he encountered the monastic community. He approached the Buddha and said, “I would love to study with you, but I cannot run off and become a monastic like the rest of your students. I’m a king. A large number of people rely on me to serve as a householder and rule that kingdom. Are there any teachings you can offer me?”

It is said that the Buddha asked his monastic followers to leave the area before he imparted what is now known as the Kalachakra teachings on Dawa Sangpo. These teachings cover how to live with mindfulness and compassion. Dawa Sangpo took them to heart and returned to his kingdom. Based on his own practice and study going forward he became known as a wonderful leader, and his kingdom became home to people from all religious traditions, socio-economic positions, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, and gender identities. The shared values for that kingdom were those imparted by the Buddha: mindfulness and compassion. Under this common banner this kingdom became a culture where people became awake and kind. This kingdom was known as Shambhala.


Related: A Simple Guide to the Complex World of Meditation


Flash-forward several centuries: The head of a Tibetan monastery, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, was forced to flee his native land and enter India. He then got a scholarship to study at Oxford and, upon immersing himself in the Western world, discovered that some translation was necessary if he was going to continue to offer the Buddhist teachings. It wasn’t just taking the Tibetan Buddhist words and turning them into English. He needed to shirk his monastic robes, dress like Westerners, speak their language fluidly, smoke, and do everything they did. He was branded a black sheep in the Tibetan Buddhist world for a number of years but ultimately was welcomed back when the powers-that-be realized how many Westerners were able to access the teachings because of what he was doing.

Realizing his Western students weren’t, for the most part, going to become monastics or even traditional Buddhists, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche emphasized the Shambhala teachings, creating a secular track of meditation study that could make the traditional teachings accessible to people from all walks of life. He designed a series of weekend meditation retreats that eliminated all Buddhist jargon, simultaneously introducing Western terms to point at the truths of meditative experience. As a result of his work bringing Buddhism to the West, over 200 Shambhala Centers exist worldwide. After his passing, his son and my teacher, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, became the head of the lineage of Tibetan Buddhism that his father represented. He placed a further emphasis on the Shambhala teachings, making the lineage distinctly known as Shambhala Buddhism. He teaches across the globe while overseeing these hundreds of centers, with tens of thousands of people studying mindfulness and traditional Buddhist studies without necessarily becoming Buddhist themselves.

I was born into the Shambhala lineage in 1982. My parents were students of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and identified more with the Tibetan Buddhist side of the tradition than the teachings that were uniquely Western. However, I was thrown into the introductory Shambhala Training Level I weekend when I was 11 years old and took to it. I had years when I did the typical teenage rebellion thing, going so far as to spend a summer studying other Buddhist traditions (I know, I’m not much of a rebel) and ultimately came back to Shambhala. Why? Because it emphasizes not just meditation teachings for our own enlightenment but so that we can create a more enlightened society. With the original kingdom of Shambhala as a template, the Shambhala community strives to welcome all types of people and offer teachings on how to live your life with more mindfulness and compassion, so that individuals can positively affect society overall.


Related: How Meditating as a Child Shaped My Life


 

One aspect of the Shambhala Buddhist teachings that fascinates me is that we don’t idolize the original kingdom of Shambhala, the Buddha, or our forefathers in the Tibetan Buddhist world such as Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. These are all examples or templates for what we can create right now, in this very moment. The Shambhala lineage has placed a fair amount of onus on individuals manifesting the principles of mindfulness and compassion day-in and day-out. Well-known authors and teachers such as Pema Chodron, Susan Piver, and Ethan Nichtern are all Shambhala Buddhists who are actively showing how to take one’s meditation practice off the cushion and into your everyday life, including your relationship, your work, and how you create social change.

While the original template for Shambhala may have existed some 2600 years ago, and the story is somewhat legendary, we can see a framework for how one individual can show up, deepen her practice and study, and have a profound influence on society overall. That individual does not have to be a king, a great spiritual teacher, or an author. It can be you. You can choose to contribute to the society you are a part of—your workplace, your yoga studio, or your home, for example—and transform it into a more mindful place. Or you can lay low and give in to the aggression and speed that may currently exist there. When you choose to take on mindfulness and compassion as the qualities you want to bring into your life, then you are creating an enlightened society on the spot.

Photo by Hailey Wist; Outfitted by YogaSmoga

By

SHARE:

Comments (0)

Load More

Find us on Instagram

@LIVESONIMA
  • . .

Here are a few easy and basic tips you can start to implement into your practice to first develop the strength for handstands. 
1. Use Uddiyana Bandha in Downward Facing Dog.
2. Hold high plank position using strong legs and core.
3. Start to jump forward from Downward Dog and get your hips up over your shoulders. 
4. Don’t be afraid of falling over. 
5. Feel comfortable to land in a backbend or use the wall for support.
  • Try these quick, simple, and nutritious “Holiday Roasted Rosemary Vegetables.” Bring them to that impromptu Christmas party or enjoy them in your own home. 
They are a great addition to any Hanukah dinner or gathering with  friends or family. 🥕

Click on our bio link for the full recipe created by Amie Valpone @amievalpone 🙏🏽♥️
.
.
.
.
.
.
#holidayseason #holidayrecipes #christmasfood #amievalpone #cleaneatingrecipe #cleandiet #detoxdiet #eatingclean #thehealthyapple #resetyourbody #antiinflammatorydiet #flightinflammationwithfood #eatingcleanrecipes #vegetarianrecipes #veganrecipes #veganfoodlovers #veganfood #vegetarianmeals #healthyrecipes #mindfulliving #livewell #livefree #livefit #sonima #livesonima #healthylivingrevolution #healthierchoices  #balancedlife #balancediet #roastedveggies
  • Opportunities are coming your way this month, and with the right mindset and some newfound confidence, you can wrap up 2020 with great success! 💫

Read your full December horoscope 
when you click on our bio link! ✨
.
.
.
.
.
.
#tuesdaytransformation #tuesdaymorning #tuesdaythoughts #astrology #horoscopes #sagitarius 
#yogalifestyle #yogaliving #positivenergy #positivelifestyle #positivemindpositivelife 
#mindfulliving #livewell #livefree #livefit #sonima #livesonima #healthylivingrevolution #astrologicalsign #sagitariusseason #monthlyhoroscopes #astrologyzone #horoscopesigns #monthlyhoroscopes
#sagitarianas #sagittarius♐️
  • Seven science-supported reasons why moderately intense activities—like yoga, walking briskly, or biking around town—will never go out of style and may actually be the best kind of exercise for your body. 🚲
.
From our profile page, click on our bio-link to read the full article. 🧘🏻‍♀️
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
#weekendvibes #weekendworkout #weekendwarrior #lowintensitycardio #lifestylefitness #workoutroutine #workoutmotivation #workoutoftheday 
#yogalifestyle #yogaliving #positivenergy #positivelifestyle #positivemindpositivelife
#mindfulliving #livewell #livefree #livefit #sonima #livesonima #healthylivingrevolution #healthierchoices  #balancedlife #createbalance #createhealthyhabits #mindbodyhealth #integrativehealth #loveyourlife #sundayinspiration
  • Though it's often hard to move after a heavy meal, these sweet yoga poses help to relieve the body, restore comfort, and aid in digestion! 
After the feast, give yourself some time to rub your stomach, then, take a deep breath and turn to your yoga practice to care for your digestive health. 
Good digestion is a key part of overall well-being and happiness! 🧘🏻‍♀️ .
Follow the link in our bio to follow this very helpful practice to help you digest. ✨

Happy Thanksgiving! 🙏🏽
.
.
.

Yoga practice created by @christinechenyoga 
Photos by @haileywist .

#thankfulthursdaysonima

#yogalifestyle #yogaliving #positivenergy #positivelifestyle #positivemindpositivelife
#mindfulliving #livewell #livefree #livefit #sonima #livesonima #nationalgratitudemonth #gratitudechallenge #gratefulheart #gratitudejournal #gratitudeattitude #gratitudedaily #thankfulgratefulblessed #thankfulheart #gratitudepractice #attitudeofgratitude 
#gratefulforlife #gratitudemonth #gratitudemeditation #deepakchopra .
.
  • Happy Thanksgiving Sonima Family! 
Today, we are so grateful for all of you! 
Before the festivities begin, we offer you this meditation on gratitude with @deepakchopra . 🙏🏽 .
Stop and take a breath. 
Reflect on all the people and experiences in your life for which you feel gratitude and find resolution with any resentment or grief. . . ✨You can listen to this guided meditation by following the link in our bio. ✨

Family comes into our lives in all kinds of different ways, sometimes they are the people we are related to and sometimes they are the people with whom we share a deep heart connection. 
What is special about today is the time we have to enjoy the company of each other and reflect more deeply on how truly blessed we are! ♥️ .

Today is our final Thankful Thursday and our focus is Family! Thank you to everyone who participated and especially @malasbyemma for the gift prizes! 📿
.
.
.
.

#thankfulthursdaysonima

#thankfulthursday #thanksgiving #thanksgiving2019 #gratitudechallenge #gratitudemonth2019 #malasbyemma
#nationalgratitudemonth #gratitudechallenge #gratefulheart #gratitudejournal #gratitudeattitude #gratitudedaily #thankfulgratefulblessed #thankfulheart #gratitudepractice #attitudeofgratitude 
#gratefulforlife #gratitudemonth 
#attitudeofgratitude #yogalifestyle #yogaliving #positivenergy #positivelifestyle #positivemindpositivelife
#mindfulliving #livewell #livefree #livefit #sonima #livesonima #healthylivingrevolution
Receive fresh content delivered to your inbox every week!