The Shambhala Buddhist Path
What is the Path?
The path begins and continues with meditation. Students are introduced to Shambhala Budhist teachings in the context of an ongoing meditation practice. The White River Shambhala Meditation Center offers a broad and carefully thought-out range of classes, meditation programs and community activities. Just 1 hour north of White River Junction, at our nearby residential practice and retreat center Karmê Chöling, students can deepen their meditation through longer programs, and engage in periods of intensive study.
The Way of Shambhala is our core curriculum and incorporates Shambhala Training and Way of Shambhala I and II classes, which together serve as graduated paths of instruction in the profound vision of the lineage.
In order to provide an environment in which Buddhism can flourish in the West, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche presented the spiritual journey in the cultural context of Shambhala - a personal and social vision of awakening that is accessible to everyone, all the time, even in the midst of busy daily life. The name and outlook for his approach comes from the legendary kingdom of Shambhala. This land has for centuries been seen throughout central Asia as a source of individual and cultural virtue: a place in which inhabitants led meditative lives of bravery, gentleness and intelligence, where they acted with responsibility and delight in caring for one another.
How do I get started?
Open Houses, Public Sitting Meditation Sessions and Public Classes
The Shambhala Center periodically hosts Open House events and introductory classes. This is a great way to get started and you can check the Programs page or get on our mailing list to find out when these are offered. We also host Public Sitting meditation sessions several times per week. You are welcome to attend any of those sessions and get an introduction to meditation practice. Another option is to do one or more days of a Simplicity: Meditation for Real Life program at Karmê Chöling which is located in Barnet, Vermont.
The Way of Shambhala 1 - The Everyday Life Series
The Way of Shambhala is a complete introduction to the foundations of Shambhala Buddhism. This series of workshops and classes is an experiential overview of meditation practices, wisdom teachings, contemplative arts, and physical disciplines rooted in the ancient traditions of Shambhala and Tibetan Buddhism. The Way of Shambhala incorporates the Shambhala Training Heart of Warriorship series of weekend retreats which introduce teachings on "warriorship" that cultivate genuineness, confidence, humor, and dignity in daily life.
Contemplative Arts and Practice
Inspired by Nalanda, an eleventh-century Indian university that welcomed teachings and disciplines from many different traditions, a number of arts, disciplines and activities have developed within Shambhala. The arts and other contemplative disciplines, including flower arranging, photography, tea ceremony, and kyudo, are a vehicle for integrating mindfulness and awareness into everyday life. Each represents a genuine contemplative path that further enriches our day-to-day experience. The Shambhala Center of White River offers these types of programs once or twice a year. Please check the Karmê Chöling website for more offerings, or search for programs on the main Shambhala website.
The Way of Shambhala II - The Basic Goodness Series
The Way of Shambhala year two curriculum combines the Sacred Path Levels of Shambhala Training and the Basic Goodness classes.
This second year of retreats and classes introduces further warriorship practices that extend the basic meditation training received in year one. These transformational practices are based on a societal vision and aspiration to help the world.
The key difference between the Everyday Life series and the Basic Goodness series is that the Everyday Life classes emphasize personal transformation in everyday life while the Basic Goodness Courses emphasize the experiential study of view and meaning. The Basic Goodness Series is the next step after completing the Everyday Life Series OR it can be the first series of courses that you take.
Dathun (Tibetan for "month session") is a one-month group meditation retreat led by a
senior teacher. It is a powerful introduction and deepening of mindfulness-awareness meditation, open to anyone. The program includes sitting and walking meditation, talks, study, and a short work period. Silence and functional talking are observed and meals are served in the shrine room oryoki-style. Oryoki is a practice of mindful eating borrowed from the Zen tradition. After attending a dathun, students may choose to do a solitary retreat, and a number of Shambhala practice centres have facilities for individual retreats. Dathun is a prerequisite for attending Enlightened Society Assembly.
Giving Back to the Community
At a certain point upon our path, it might strike us that we would like to give back to our community because we ourselves have received so much from the path, the practice, the teachers, the teachings, and our community of practitioners. There are many ways to do this, including volunteering your time to staff or coordinate programs, joining a committee to help plan the programs, or stepping onto the path towards becoming a teacher yourself.
Extending love and compassion toward others in contemplative practice is a rehearsal for stepping beyond stinginess and self-centeredness in daily life. Eventually our training will give us the power to flip the mind instantly by letting go of the "me plan" and considering the happiness of somebody else, whatever we’re experiencing, wherever we are. In that moment, we are cultivating peace. When we live like this, we feel happier. The reason is simple: because love and compassion are the basis of our consciousness, we thrive when we let them come to the forefront.