To download the Way of Shambhala illustration shown at the right, click here
The Way of Shambhala consists of the following elements:
- The Everyday Life Series - five courses, with five weekly classes in each, also offered as weekend classes at Sky Lake;
- The Shambhala Training Series - five weekend retreats;
- The Basic Goodness Series - three courses, with six weekly classes in each;
- Ridgen: Unconditional Confidence - a weekend retreat;
- Enlightened Society Assembly (at a larger land center)
- The Sacred Path Series - six weekend retreats.
- Warrior Assembly (at a larger land center)
The courses are interactive, communal, and create a learning environment where the teachings are intimate and relevant. Participants train in meditation, and use inquiry, dialogue, and contemplative arts to integrate the teachings.
The weekend retreats are opportunities to deepen meditation practice in a powerful environment that meets the needs of a workweek and family life.
You may start with any series except the Sacred Path. In each series, the courses or weekend retreats are designed to be taken sequentially. For example, Shambhala Training participants progress from Level I to Level V in sequence. The most gradual introduction is to take the Meditation in Everyday Life course first.
For information about retreats and advanced assembly programs, and about how the Way of Shambhala fits in the overall Shambhala path, please visit Description of the Path on Shambhala's central website.
The Everyday Life Series and the
Shambhala Training Series
Anyone may take either the Everyday Life courses or the Shambhala Training weekend retreats exclusively. We encourage concurrent participation in both, if possible, as the combination can profoundly deepen and extend meditation.
Level I Weekend: 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.
Open to the Public
Meditation in Everyday Life
The Meditation in Everyday Life class is designed to provide students with the introductory tools and teachings for working with meditation in everyday life.
Meditation is the ground practice of the Shambhala path
and from that ground all the teachings unfurl.
Open to the Public
Level II Weekend: Birth of the Warrior
Having experienced a taste of basic goodness, we want to go forward. Meditation practice allows us to observe how we create a cocoon of habits to mask our fear. We begin to appreciate that there is no fundamental obstacle to experiencing basic goodness.
Prerequisite: Level I Weekend
Next offered May 31- June 2, 2013
Contentment in Everyday Life
The Contentment in Everyday Life course is a thorough exploration of mindfulness meditation, delving into the foundational views of the Hinayana Buddhist teachings, and meditation in action for daily life. By acknowledging and understanding the reality of suffering we can open to our inherent goodness and express the qualities of gentleness, appreciation, and fearlessness in our everyday lives.
Open to the Public
Level III Weekend: 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.
Prerequisite: Level II Weekend
Joy in Everyday Life
Joy in Everyday Life will go into the Shambhala teachings on cheerfulness and health. Through study and practice of these teachings on discipline and the traditional Buddhist teachings of the Mahayana, we step out of the trap of our habitual patterns, free ourselves from confusion, and cultivate the noble heart of compassion. This class is a strong introduction to the Buddhist concept of bodhicitta.
Pre-requisite: Contentment in Everyday Life
Level IV Weekend: 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.
Prerequisite: Level III Weekend
Next offered April 12-14, 2013
Fearlessness in Everyday Life
The Fearlessness in Everyday Life course mixes meditation with the vastness of space beyond concept. Through an exploration of the Buddhist teachings of emptiness, the meditator opens to groundlessness and uncertainty, learning to soar fearlessly like the mythical bird known as the Garuda.
Pre-requisite: Joy in Everyday Life
Next offered April 19-21, 2013
Level V Weekend: 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
Prerequisite: Level IV Weekend
Next offered June 28-30, 2013
Wisdom in Everyday Life
The final class in the Way of Shambhala is Wisdom in Everyday Life, where we study the unwavering warrior whose confidence is unconditional and playful. Here the practitioner is introduced to the Vajrayana teachings of Tibetan Buddhism.
Pre-requisite: Fearlessness in Everyday Life
Next offered June 21-23, 2013
The contentment, joy, fearlessness and wisdom of the Way of Shambhala culminates in unconditional confidence. This weekend workshop introduces the teachings of enlightened leadership. With the great problems now facing human society, it seems increasingly important to find simple ways to bring compassionate and strong leadership to the world, even in small ways. This weekend emphasizes genuine confidence and steadfastness in facing the worlds challenges.
Pre-requisite: Completion of the entire Way of Shambhala curriculum or completion of Sacred Path through Outrageous/Inscrutable.
The Basic Goodness Series
The Basic Goodness series introduces the view of Shambhala in an experiential way. 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.
While you may start with this series, we strongly recommend that you receive basic meditation instruction in advance (at a Shambhala open house or Learn to Meditate class, for instance). We also suggest that you take the Meditation in Everyday Life course first.
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 basic goodness, selflessness, the arising of ego and cocoon, buddha-nature, and the confidence of warriorship. We practice contemplative investigations of the self, based on the foundations of mindfulness. Open to the public
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, an aspiration to help our world, and specific aspects of social transformation. We look at a Shambhala understanding of society, and what enlightened society may be. Is society something that is ultimately confused, or is there goodness in human society? The course focuses on transforming four aspects of society: family life (household), professional life, entertainment, and economy. We learn the traditional mahayana practice of “sending and taking” (tonglen). Prerequisite: The Basic Goodness of Being Human
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 and wonder of the natural elements. The course also has an ecological emphasis. Prerequisite: The Basic Goodness of Society
Rigden: Unconditional Confidence
The Rigden weekend retreat is the culmination of the Everyday Life, Shambhala Training and Basic Goodness series. The Rigden is a representation of our basic 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 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 of Reality
The Sacred Path Series
The Sacred Path series is a sequence of advanced Shambhala Training weekend retreats based on the unique inner teachings of Shambhala. You may start the Sacred Path series anytime after completing the Rigden weekend retreat; however, we encourage you to attend Enlightened Society Assembly (ESA) before starting this series.
Both the Sacred Path series and ESA are prerequisite for Warrior Assembly.
Weekend Retreat 1: Great Eastern Sun
This weekend retreat teaches us how to see the Great Eastern Sun, the primordial energy and brilliance that is the basis of all that exists, and emphasizes the living context for building a sane society. Prerequisite: Rigden: Unconditional Confidence
Weekend Retreat 2: Windhorse
Introduction and instruction for the practice of “raising windhorse” is given, 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. Prerequisite: Great Eastern Sun
Weekend Retreat 3: Drala
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. Prerequisite: Windhorse
Weekend Retreat 4: Meek and Perky
“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. Perky is the second of the four dignities and 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. Prerequisite: Drala
Weekend Retreat 5: Outrageous and Inscrutable
The third and fourth dignities, Outrageous and Inscrutable, emphasize fruition and 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. Prerequisite: Meek and Perky
Weekend Retreat 6: Golden Key
This weekend retreat 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. Prerequisite: Outrageous and Inscrutable