TravisMay11 wrote:I am a Shambhala Buddhist (for the past four years) and a student of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. I was drawn to this lineage originally from reading and admiring the teachings of the great Dorje Dradul, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche.
Welcome to the forum.
I am very interested in your being a Shambhala Buddhist and being a student of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. I am in the process of looking for a teacher, and like you, I greatly value the works of Trungpa Rinpoche. I have given some thought to being a Shambhala student because of this, though I am more than a little confused how to go about initiating the process and becoming a student of Mipham Rinpoche.
Thank you, and the others, for the replies. One of the things I like about Shambhala Buddhism is that there is a clear path of preparation that is laid out for students. It generally takes several years of practice & study before one becomes a student of Mipham Rinpoche. The path includes many weekend retreats that emphasize sitting practice and has talks about topics from Trungpa Rinpoche's Shambhala terma. The idea being- how can someone do advanced vajrayana practices if there mind isn't tamed/trained through studying & practicing the hinayana & mahayana first. You can't put on the gold roof before you put in the foundation and walls.
There are weekday evening classes where students study the path of the Shambhala Warrior and traditional Buddhist teachings. Then, there are also longer and more advanced trainings that one goes through, for example, a dathun (month long meditation retreat). The dathun can also be accomplished in weekly segments if it's too hard to get away for a month.
So, if you look at this chart (which goes from the bottom to the top): http://www.shambhala.org/documents/ShambhalaBuddhistPathIllustrationUpdated6-1-10.pdf
, you can see how the path is laid out. It's at Vajrayana Seminary (a three week long intensive program in a retreat environment, which is going to be renamed next year, by the way) where one takes the initial samaya with Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche as your root guru. At this program you are given pointing out instructions and the ngondro transmission. After you complete ngondro you take Rigden Abhisheka with him and become a sadhaka.
I'm doing ngondro right now and hope to do Rigden Abhisheka next summer. Although, the ngondro practice is so excellent I would probably be happy just doing that the rest of my life.