The word ‘lineage’ means a line of instruction/transmission that has been passed down from teacher to disciple throughout history.

Shambhala Buddhism is a path towards realising bravery, dignity, and kindness, with an emphasis on the need for cultivating enlightened, or uplifted society, free from personal and national ego-centrism. It is inspired by the teachings of the Buddha, as well as modern teachers trained in the Kagyü and Nyingma schools of Tibetan Buddhism: Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Sakyong Jamgön Mipham Rinpoche. It draws on a wide variety of contemplative traditions and offers a comprehensive path of mindfulness and awareness meditation practice and study, as well as other contemplative disciplines.

The premise of the Shambhala tradition is that basic human goodness and wisdom transcend any one culture or religion. From this point of view, it is a secular, non-religious approach, which embodies essential values and principles that have been recognised by many cultures throughout history.

Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, holder of the Kagyü and Nyingma lineages of Tibetan Buddhism, founded the Shambhala Buddhist lineage.

Born in Tibet in 1939, Trungpa Rinpoche was recognised at an early age as a tülku, or reincarnated teacher. He fled Tibet in 1959, and four years later went to Oxford University in England. From that time until his death in 1987, he worked tirelessly to bring the living teachings of meditation to the Western world, establishing several major practice centres, over one hundred meditation centres, and Naropa University.

Author of dozens of books, Trungpa Rinpoche is renowned today for his remarkable ability to present the highest essence of Tibetan Buddhist teachings in a form accessible to the West.

For more biographical information, excerpts of his writings, examples of his artwork, and photographs please visit the Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche section of the Shambhala International website.
Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche on


Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

Between 1995 and 2018, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche served as both the spiritual and organizational leader of the Shambhala community. In this role, he led the development of innovative curricula that combined presentations of the Buddhist and Shambhala dharma, presented commentary and meditation practices based on Trungpa Rinpoche’s Shambhala teachings, and explored the manifestations of enlightened society in retreats, seminars, and practices. He also wrote popular books on meditation and the Shambhala teachings, including Turning the Mind into an Ally and Ruling Your World. During this period of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche’s leadership, our global community grew larger and more complex, transitioning through a range of organizational forms and governance arrangements.

In early 2018, allegations surfaced of sexual misconduct and misuse of power by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche toward his students. In June of that year, he committed to entering a period of self-reflection and listening. In July 2018, he sent a letter informing the community he would step back from his administrative and teaching responsibilities in Shambhala and support a third-party investigation. As investigations and concerns continued, the Kalapa Council (the Shambhala Board appointed by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche) resigned, and Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche agreed to the establishment of an independent Board of Directors, drawn from members of the Shambhala community, to hold fiscal and organizational responsibility for the organization.

In February 2019, the Shambhala Board released the results of an investigation that included a finding of sexual misconduct and a finding of more than likely sexual and clergy misconduct by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. The day after the release of the report, he sent a letter to the community describing his journey of self-reflection and learning. Within two weeks of the report, a letter with detailed allegations of misconduct by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche was published by six longtime students, and in response, senior teachers in Shambhala and other community members asked him to continue to step back from his teaching and leadership responsibilities. Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche responded with a letter offering apologies, and a commitment to continue to step back from his administrative and teaching responsibilities for the foreseeable future. He and his family relocated to Nepal

Many community members felt that a fuller process of community healing, in which Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche would participate, was needed to move forward together. Others wished to continue as students of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche with or without additional processes of community healing or repair. Community members held many overlapping views within a wide spectrum of viewpoints, and could not reach consensus as to the way forward. This led to division in the Shambhala community.

In the wake of these events, a group of Shambhala community members, supported by the new Shambhala Board, dedicated themselves to the work of elaborating new Code of Conduct policies and processes that would apply to everyone. A Code of Conduct Team was recruited to work with concerns and complaints as they arise, and a Code of Conduct Hub website with resources was published. A therapy subsidy and counseling program for community members was established, and “Right use of Power,” “Gender Dynamics,” and “Sexual Harm and Trauma” trainings were developed and offered widely.

In February 2022, a legal agreement between Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and the Shambhala Board altered Shambhala’s organizing documents so that Shambhala is now self-governing and financially independent of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. He is not engaged with the Shambhala organization and is teaching through his own organization, the Sakyong Potrang.

Senior students in the Shambhala community continue to offer teachings and trainings, maintain local meditation and retreat centres, and host eminent Buddhist teachers from the Tibetan Kagyu and Nyingma Buddhist traditions.

You may view fuller details on these events at this archive of communications that was independently collated by a Shambhala community member, and at our Community Care website.