Shambhala Training Overview
Shambhala Training is a sequence of contemplative weekend workshops, suitable for anyone of any spiritual tradition and way of life looking to explore the transformative benefits of meditation.
The program involves the study and practice of Shambhala warriorship—a path of nonaggression born from the willingness to meet our world without bias or judgment. This path shows how to take the challenges of everyday life as opportunities for both contemplative practice and social action.
The workshops include thorough instruction in meditation, the practice of sitting and walking meditation, one-on-one interviews to clarify questions, group discussions and talks by senior teachers.
Visit our Programs area to learn about upcoming programs. For more information contact us at email@example.com.
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 native spirituality; however, this wisdom arises only when the grasping and confusion of ego is stilled through a commitment to a contemplative discipline.
Shambhala Training is inspired by the legendary Kingdom of Shambhala, said to be a society that drew its gentle and fearless sense of social responsibility from the practice of meditation. For centuries, this legendary kingdom has been a guiding vision in Asian cultures 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 program comprises the first five Shambhala Training workshops. These workshops, or "levels," provide a strong foundation in mindfulness-awareness meditation practice, emphasizing the development of genuine confidence, humour, and personal dignity within the complexity of daily life.
Level I: The Art of Being Human
Through the practice of meditation, we glimpse unconditional goodness as the ground of our existence. Opening to ourselves with gentleness and appreciation, we begin to see our potential as genuine and compassionate human beings.
Level II: Birth of the Warrior
Meditation practice allows us to observe how we personally create a cocoon of habits to mask our fear. These habits trap us and prevent us from experiencing the full potential of our lives. Through meditation, we begin to appreciate that there is no fundamental obstacle to experiencing basic goodness.
Level III: Warrior in the World
Developing fearlessness by examining our habitual tendencies, we are willing to experience our life without relying on the cocoon. We begin to engage the world directly and extend the attitude of fearlessness to our activities.
Level IV: Awakened Heart
With trust in basic goodness and daring to experience the sharp edge of reality, we move forward with gentleness, increased awareness, and inquisitiveness about the world, as it is. We can extend ourselves to others fully and with kindness.
Level V: Open Sky
Communicating with the world gently and fearlessly, our awareness is sharpened and we find the open clear sky of mind—a delightful source of wisdom and uplifted energy. We trust our nature enough to let go into the present moment.
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.
Levels I to V are the prerequisite for the Sacred Path weekends.
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, and introduces membership in Shambhala, a living context for building a sane society.
One studies the text that gives the instruction for "raising windhorse," which opens the heart and refreshes one's confidence. The practice is a way to bring about skillful and heartfelt social engagement, 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.
"The four dignities" are introduced as 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.
As the second of the four dignities, this level 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 the "material world" and our sense perceptions. It teaches the practice of enriching presence—the ability to instantly sense the inner wealth within oneself, phenomena, and the natural world.
Warrior Assembly, Practice of Authentic Presence, and Kalapa Assembly constitute the culmination and fruition of Shambhala Training. These advanced programs typically take place at Shambhala practice and retreat centres or big city Shambhala Centres.
For more about Warrior Assembly and beyond, go to Shambhala's Advanced Programs page.