Shambhala Training is a secular approach to meditation developed by Tibetan Buddhist teacher Chogyam Trungpa and his students. It is based on what Trungpa calls Shambhala Vision, which sees enlightened society as not purely mythical, but as realizable by people of all faiths through practices of mindfulness/awareness, non-aggression, sacred outlook, he writes: The Shambhala Training teachings cover art and politics and the goal of creating an enlightened society. That goal is presented as not a social and political process, but one requiring individuals to develop an awareness of the basic goodness and inherent dignity of themselves, of others, of the everyday details of the world around them; this is facilitated by cultivating bravery. Shambhala Training is administered worldwide by Shambhala International; the Satdharma community offers a comparable "Shambhala Education" course of training in Ojai, California. Though Shambhala Training is a personal, ongoing practice of meditation and engaged activities, the Shambhala Training curriculum is presented in a series of progressive weekend programs, a longer retreat.
"The Heart of Warriorship" curriculum consist of five weekend programs with each weekend followed by a corresponding'Everyday Life' class. The latter seven weekends are called "The Sacred Path," as follows: Level I: The Art of Being Human Meditation in Everyday Life Level II: Birth of the Warrior Contentment in Everyday Life Level III: Warrior in the World Joy in Everyday Life Level IV: Awakened Heart Fearlessness in Everyday Life Level V: Open Sky Wisdom in Everyday Life Great Eastern Sun Windhorse Drala Meek Perky Outrageous and Inscrutable Golden Key The Warrior Assembly is a residential program of less than two weeks duration These weekends are intended to be completed in order, though Windhorse and Drala are sometimes exchanged in the sequence. Students may continue onto an intensive nine- to fourteen-day-long residential retreat called Warriors Assembly. Practices and root texts are made available as students complete the prerequisite study and practice stages. However, it is claimed by Shambhala adherents that much of their content is found in the book Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior and others.
The basic meditation technique presented in Shambhala Training includes sitting with legs loosely crossed, taking good posture, leaving the eyes open, focusing attention on the out-breath. A feeling of dissolving accompanies the out-breath but no specific attention is prescribed during the in-breath; the hands are placed face down on the thighs. Thoughts may be labeled neutrally as "thinking". Variations on the technique are taught during the first five "Heart of Warriorship" weekends. Meditation is described in Shambala as "a natural state of the human mind—at rest, alert." Shambhala Training contains teachings relating to personal and societal situations. One central teaching is on natural hierarchy. At first glance this appears to suggest that hierarchy is inherent to human societies and therefore oppression and subjugation are inevitable, but conventional social hierarchies or privilege based on class, race, etc. would be considered unnatural hierarchies. Instead the Shambhala Training notion of natural hierarchy is akin to an arranged mandala where people are connected and communicate in natural ways.
The Chinese triune notion of Heaven and Man is considered the prototypical pattern of natural hierarchy. Natural hierarchy recognizes that some people are better than others at things and communities benefit from a natural arrangement. However, these arrangements of people are fluid and ossification creates unnatural hierarchy; some key concepts presented include: basic goodness - our essential nature is good and worthwhile. This is sometimes contrasted with the idea of original sin, although it is arguable that both notions include the concept of a primordial purity, stained or covered over. Cocoon - conceptualization can become armor that cuts us off from the vividness of the world around us, we are better to discard that armor. Wind Horse - akin to Qi or life force, practitioners cultivate windhorse through a variety of practices and disciplines. Drala - akin to kami or spirit conventionally, this refers to the use of direct sense perceptions to overcome conceptual mental fixation; the four dignities - Meek Tiger, Perky Lion, Outrageous Garuda and Inscrutable Dragon heaven and man - the role of humanity is to connect the ground of the situation with the vision of possibility, so to rule oneself or society is to join heaven and man.
During the Sacred Path weekends and Warriors Assembly, students study Shambhala texts composed by Chögyam Trungpa, as well as practices such as that of the stroke of ashé. The stroke of ashé was first produced on the night of October 25, 1976, while Trungpa was leading a three-month seminary in Land O' Lakes, Wisconsin, it was followed by subsequent texts, some of which were considered to be terma, which were received over the next few years. Chogyam Trungpa wrote a number of Shambhala texts throughout his life, received a number of them as terma. Long-time students and members of his Nalanda Translation Committee elaborated on his reception of terma in a 2006 newsletter: At the first Kalapa Assembly in the fall of 1978, during one of our translation sessions with the Vidyadhara, Larry Mermelstein engaged him in an interesting discussion about the nature of the Shambhala texts he was presenting to us; when asked whether they were terma, he replied, “Yes, sort of.” When w
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