In Shambhala Buddhism, “ There is a natural source of radiance and brilliance in the world, which is the innate wakefulness of human beings.” It is in the Shambhala view that every single human has the foundational characteristics of good, warmth and intelligence. The Shambhala way of life applies to any faith and not just people of the Buddhist religion. Basically put, Shambhala is a global movement devoted to bringing kindness, insight, meditation and an idea of sacredness into society. Historically, the term of “Shambhala Buddhism” was introduced to the world in 2000 to describe the lineage and community led by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. However, the Shambhala community was brought to America in 1970 with the arrival of the 11th Trungpa Tulku (incarnate line of Tibetan Lamas). The first ever center of teaching was located in Barnet, Vermont and known as “The Tail of the Tiger.” Since then, the Shambhala way of life spread like wildfire due to the openness and overall acceptance of people from any cultural or social background/construct. Shambhala teachings also promote a worldly approach to meditation and an appreciation of the goodness every human being has the capability to reveal. Different from other paths of life, Shambhala Buddhism encourages diversity since it’s own essence is derived from many different religions. Although the teachings are based around the central idea and construct of Tibetan Buddhism (concepts, terms, etc.), Shambhala adds elements of Bon, Taoism, Confucianism and Shinto. Trungpa Rinpoche, Buddhist Meditation Master and holder of the 11th Trungpa Tulku, decided to infuse and corporate the elements of said religions/traditions because he felt it would do no harm and only benefit practitioners. Today, the Shambhala Buddhist community thrives as the largest community of Western practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism. Momentarily there are a few thousand followers located in more than 170 centers around the world. Through this modern, new-age branch of Tibetan Buddhism, Shambhala invites and welcomes you on a journey to becoming fully human by waking up your natural intelligence.
Personally, I was fascinated and intrigued by this way of life and this particular group of people. Coming from a strict Catholic background, I was always told to stray far from other religions and to only believe in Catholicism. With the exception of an ethnography paper for my anthropology class, I am able to explore, research and investigate a whole new path of life. Simply put, Shambhala Buddhism interested me because of their bizarre, yet practical approach to a way to worship. As stated earlier, Shambhala does not discriminate people from different walks of faith. In fact, it is safe to say that this practice actually encourages others to learn and acquire a knowledge of what it is that Tibetan Buddhism and meditation have to offer. With no strings attached or no shackles from society, Shambhala Buddhism lets you be in control of your life and allows you to develop your capacity of goodness in daily life so that it resonates to your workplace, family, friends and community.
The closest center of Shambhala was located in the northern section of Portland, Oregon. The Shambhala Meditation Center of Portland was at first hard to find. My fellow peers and I were searching for a temple of some sort. Instead, the Meditation Center was a small building no larger than the size of a couple classrooms. At first glance, when we walk through the front entrance, we were all shocked and surprised. As we all expected an area similar to a synagogue, instead it was as if we were welcomed into someone’s house. The front area seemed like a living room. In it there were plush couches and pictures on the walls of followers/practitioners that belonged to this Meditation Center. Also on the walls were bright colored paintings of Buddhist ancestry and divine temples. As soon as we walked in, everyone gathered in the front room welcomed us with...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document