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Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche
Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche is the head of the Shambhala Buddhist lineage, a spiritual and family lineage that descends through his family, the Mukpo clan of Eastern Tibet. This tradition emphasizes the basic goodness of all beings and teaches the art of courageous warriorship based on wisdom and compassion.
Rinpoche is the son and heir of the Vidyadhara, the Venerable Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. His background embraces both Eastern and Western cultures. Born in India in 1962, he received spiritual training from his father and other distinguished lamas and received further education and training in Europe and North America. He now travels extensively teaching worldwide and is the author of Turning the Mind Into an Ally and Ruling Your World.
"When we talk about enlightened society, we aren't talking about some utopia where everyone's enlightened. We're talking about a culture of human beings who know the awakened nature of basic goodness and invoke its energy in order to courageously extend themselves to others."
Visit mipham.com for more information about Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche.
Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche
Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche was one of the most dynamic teachers of Buddhism in the 20th Century. He was a pioneer in bringing the Buddhist teachings of Tibet to the West and is credited with introducing many Buddhist concepts into the English language and psyche in a fresh and new way.
Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, the former supreme abbot of Surmang Monasteries in Tibet, is known as the foremost meditation master and teacher of Tibetan Buddhism in the West. In the early 1970s, he founded Naropa University, the first Buddhist-inspired university in North America, along with over 100 meditation centers worldwide. Rinpoche encouraged his students to join their experience of meditation with such disciplines as Japanese archery, calligraphy, flower arranging, tea ceremony, health care, dance, poetry, photography, theater, education, business and psychotherapy. He authored two dozen books on meditation, poetry, art and the Shambhala path of warriorship.
"The Buddhist tradition teaches the truth of impermanence, or the transitory
nature of things. The past is gone and the future has not yet happened, so
we work with what is here -- the present situation. This actually helps us
not to categorize or theorize. A fresh, living situation is taking place
all the time, on the spot. This noncategorical approach comes from being
fully here, rather than trying to reconnect with past events. We don't have
to look back to the past in order to see what people are made out of. Human
beings speak for themselves, on the spot."
Read Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche's biography on the Shambhala International website.
Acharyas (Senior Teachers)
The acharyas (Sanskrit for "senior teacher") of Shambhala are appointed by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. As the Sakyong's representatives, the acharyas, who are empowered to offer refuge and bodhisattva vows, bring the continuity of the lineage into the living teaching environment of local Shambhala centers. Boulder has the good fortune to host many Shambhala acharyas, including local acharyas Dale Asrael and Judith Simmer-Brown.
"Welcome the present moment as if you had invited it. It is all we ever have so we might as well work with it rather than struggling against it. We might as well make it our friend and teacher rather than our enemy."
Acharya Pema Chödrön is an American Buddhist nun, resident teacher at Gampo Abbey, and the author of such popular books as The Places That Scare You, When Things Fall Apart and Start Where You Are. Her life experiences as wife, mother, and school teacher, and her years of study and practice with Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche uniquely empower Pema to speak to Westerners, both Buddhists and non-Buddhists.
For more information on-line, visit Pema's website or find information about her books.
Dale Asrael grew up in a suburb of Washington, DC, where she studied music and dance. She met Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1973, after being drawn to Boulder by rumors of a "revolutionary young lama." She attended the inaugural summer of Naropa Institute and spent many subsequent years studying intensively with the Vidyadhara. Dale currently teaches at Naropa University as a member of the Core Faculty in the Buddhist Studies, Contemplative Education, and Counseling M.A. programs and is an Upadhyaya (Buddhist minister). She leads retreats and dathuns internationally and is especially interested in the training of meditation instructors and the next generation of dharma teachers at our centers.
Raised as a minister's daughter in Nebraska, Judith Simmer-Brown began meditation practice as a student of Suzuki Roshi. She began studying with Trungpa Rinpoche in 1974, and in 1977 she joined the fledgling Buddhist Studies department at the Naropa Institute. She has been on the faculty ever since and is currently the chair of the Religious Studies Department at what is now Naropa University. She also teaches extensively at Seminaries and other programs around the world and was the founder of Naropa’s Engaged Buddhism program. Judith's special passion has long been the Vidyadhara's teachings on "feminine principle," which led her to research and write Dakini's Warm Breath: The Feminine Principle in Tibetan Buddhism.
Gaylon Ferguson grew up on a farm in strictly segregated East Texas. After moving east to graduate from the Phillips Exeter Academy, he studied philosophy and psychology at Yale University. There, Gaylon encountered D.T. Suzuki who confirmed "that it's not possible to learn Buddhist meditation entirely from a book." He dropped his studies and took up work on a radical Catholic fruit farm near Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Soon after reading Meditation in Action, Gaylon heard the Vidyadhara teach several summer seminars in Vermont. In 1973, after giving a "particularly panic-stricken and disorganized " open house talk, Gaylon joined Tail of the Tiger Buddhist Community (now Karme Chöling) where he worked in the garden, set the tractor on fire, and took people into retreat. After attending the 1975 Vajradhatu Seminary, Gaylon taught briefly at The Naropa Institute, led a dathun at the now deceased Padma Jong, and finally returned to Karme Choling, first as a staff member in the practice and study department, and then as Executive Co-director. In 1979, Gaylon journeyed west again to serve as teacher-in-residence for the Berkeley Dharmadhatu and in 1983, he joined the Office of Three Yana Studies in Boulder. Last summer, he taught View and Practice of the Buddhadharma at the 1999 Vajradhatu Seminary.
Gaylon returned to Yale in 1987 to finish his undergraduate degree, this time in African Studies. In 1994, he was a Fulbright Fellow to Nigeria and completed a doctoral degree in cultural anthropology at Stanford University two years later. After several years teaching cultural anthropology at the University of Washington, Gaylon moved to Karme Choling as teacher in residence through 2005. For the Spring Semester of 2006, Acharya Ferguson was Visiting Professor in Religious Studies at Naropa University. His article, "Making Friends with Ourselves" (from the collection Dharma, Color, and Culture) was selected for inclusion in The Best Buddhist writing: 2005. Beginning in the fall of 2006, Gaylon will join the core faculty in Interdisciplinary Studies at Naropa.