Lineage of Chögyam Trungpa

Rediscovering our Wisdom and Compassion

The ancient kingdom of Shambhala was renowned for the compassion and wisdom of its leaders and citizens. According to the legend of Shambhala, these qualities were the result of unique teachings on enlightened society that the Buddha gave personally to King Dawa Sangpo, the first sovereign of Shambhala.

These instructions have been preserved over the centuries and are held by a hereditary lineage of teachers that hold the title “Sakyong.” It is a royal title that means “Earth Protector.”

The first Sakyong in modern times was the Tibetan meditation master, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche (the Tibetan title, Rinpoche, means “precious one” and denotes a rare and profound teacher). Prior to his escape from Tibet in 1959, he was the holder of numerous meditative lineages and leader of a large monastic complex.

A Societal Vision

Witnessing the demise of his Tibetan culture, and how full of turmoil and pain the world was, Chögyam Trungpa went into a great period of self-reflection and meditation. He came to realize that the ancient teachings of Shambhala were more relevant and necessary than ever, given the immense challenges facing the planet. Beginning in the 1970s, he began to present a societal vision based on the Shambhala principle that proclaims the inherent goodness of all humanity.

Chögyam Trungpa felt that if humanity were to succeed in creating a better world it would be based on global respect for fundamental human dignity. This is the core message of Shambhala. His teachings were gathered together into his best-selling book, Shambhala: the Sacred Path of the Warrior, and many other writings, films and recordings.

Trungpa Rinpoche

Shambhala Vision – Enlightened Society

“Although the Shambhala tradition is founded on the sanity and gentleness of the Buddhist tradition, at the same time, it has its own independent basis, which is directly cultivating who and what we are as human beings. With the great problems facing human society, it seems increasingly important to find simple and non-sectarian ways to work with ourselves and to share our understanding with others. The Shambhala teachings, or ‘Shambhala vision’ as this approach is more broadly called, is one such attempt to encourage a wholesome existence for ourselves and others.” – Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Creating a Culture of Kindness, Generosity and Courage

Shambhala Vision is rooted in the principle that every human being has a fundamental nature of basic goodness. This nature can be developed in daily life so that it radiates out to family, friends, community and society. This philosophy was the basis of the legendary Kingdom of Shambhala, a society that fostered the inherent goodness of its people.

According to the Shambhala tradition we are living through an age of greed and aggression. We harm each other, our planet and ourselves. The Shambhala teachings offer an antidote to this crisis. Shambhala Vision tells us that we can experience a natural source of radiance and brilliance in the world, which is the innate wakefulness of every human being.

From this deep, profoundly human foundation of basic goodness, it is possible to extend that out and create what the Shambhala tradition calls “enlightened society.” This vision offers possibilities for a radical paradigm shift – not a utopia, but a culture in which life’s challenges are met with kindness, generosity and courage.

Drala Mountain Center Responds to Reports of Misconduct in Shambhala

While the Shambhala community is going through a time of deep reflection and change, Drala Mountain Center is more committed than ever to continue creating a safe place of refuge and retreat for our guests.

In July of 2018 the staff and board of Drala Mountain Center made public a set of commitments: to not minimize or rationalize the behavior of any teacher, including the Sakyong, to stand with the women who came forward, to do what is right even if it jeopardizes our existing power structures or financial position, and to be transparent. We also said we would be: “… watching closely and with hope for the Sakyong to engage in a genuine process of accountability, purification, and reformative action.” This has not yet happened.

In keeping with these commitments, we cannot invite the Sakyong to teach at DMC at this time. We believe we must ask the Sakyong to meet the same standards we would ask of any other teacher. These standards are embedded in our new Code of Ethics that will be signed by every teacher or participant who comes to DMC.