Way of Shambhala

The Way of Shambhala is an extensive path of training in authentic meditation practices and wisdom teachings. This program of courses and weekend retreats offers an experiential overview of practices, teachings, contemplative arts, and physical disciplines rooted in the ancient traditions of Shambhala and Vajrayana Buddhism. The program is open to people of all religious backgrounds or no religious background. It is recommended for new and experienced meditators as well as those looking to enrich their personal spiritual path and social action. It consists of three introductory components:

The Everyday Life series—five courses, with five weekly classes in each

The Shambhala Training series—five weekend retreats

The Basic Goodness series—three courses, with six weekly classes in each

Everyday Life Series

Man meditating in train stationA complete overview of the path of meditation and spiritual teachings.

Meditation In Everyday Life:
An introduction to basic meditation and how to develop a personal practice.

Contentment in Everyday Life:
Mindful appreciation and gentleness to oneself. Foundational Buddhist teachings.

Joy in Everyday Life:
Compassion, joyous discipline, and healthy energy. Buddhist teachings on aspiring and loving action.

Fearlessness in Everyday Life:
Transforming fear. Buddhist teachings exploring ultimate reality.

Wisdom in Everyday Life:
Playfulness, ordinary magic, and innate wisdom. An introduction to the vajrayana Buddhist teachings.

Shambhala Training

Weekend Retreats Levels I-V:

Incense BowlShambhala Training is a series of secular meditation workshops, suited for both beginning and experienced meditators. Levels I-V provide a strong foundation in mindfulness-awareness meditation practice. These five workshops include meditation training and practice, talks by senior instructors, personal interviews, and group discussions.

Level I: The Art of Being Human
Discovering basic goodness in the world and in ourselves.

Level II: Birth of the Warrior
Cultivating the willingness to observe our cocoons of fear and our defense mechanisms.

Level III: Warrior in the World
Developing the bravery to step outside our cocoons.

Level IV: Awakened Heart
Opening to increased awareness and inquisitiveness about the world, as it is.

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.

The Basic Goodness Series

Everyone has the right to feel his or her own goodness. SMR

The Basic Goodness series of weekly classes introduces the view of Shambhala in an experiential way. The primary practice is Shambhala Meditation. The key difference between the Everyday Life courses and the Basic Goodness courses is that the Everyday Life courses emphasize personal transformation in daily life, whereas the Basic Goodness courses emphasize the experiential study of view and meaning.

Course 1: Who Am I? The Basic Goodness of Being Human
This course asks the question, “Who am I?” and explores the sense of self. It includes teachings on selflessness, the arising of ego, and enlightened-nature. We practice contemplative investigations of the self, based on the foundations of mindfulness.

Course 2: How Can I Help? The Basic Goodness of Society
This course asks the question, “How can I help?” and explores our relationships with others and an aspiration to help our world. We ask what enlightened society may be. The course focuses on transforming four aspects of society: family life (household), professional life, entertainment, and economy. We learn the traditional compassion practice of “sending and taking” (tonglen).

Course 3: What Is Real? The Basic Goodness of Reality
This course asks the question, “What is real?” and focuses on a study of the phenomenal world. It emphasizes core Buddhist teachings, such as impermanence, the process of perception, the “mind,” and emptiness. It is oriented toward the experience of sacred world, the magic of the natural elements. The course also has an ecological emphasis.

Rigden: Unconditional Confidence

The Rigden weekend retreat is the culmination of the Everyday Life, Shambhala Training Levels I-V, and Basic Goodness series. The Rigden is a representation of our enlightened nature and embodies the principle of unconditional confidence. Historically, Rigdens were enlightened rulers— those who could “rule their world” based on their unwavering experience of basic goodness. This retreat is led by a Shambhala master teacher (acharya) and includes a transmission of “windhorse” practice and an opportunity to proclaim a commitment to basic goodness by formally taking the Shambhala Vow.

Prerequisite: Wisdom in Everyday Life, Shambhala Training Level V, and, if possible, The Basic Goodness Series.