This profile was last updated in 2006
The Madison Shambhala Meditation Group currently holds meetings in the lower rooms of an old office building that also houses the Madison Isthmus Zen Center. The group has been meeting since the middle 1980s. The group moved to its current location on Baldwin Street at the end of 1999. The Madison Shambhala Meditation Group was organized by local followers of the Tibetan Buddhist teacher Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, as part of the parent organization Shambhala International.
History of the Practice
Shambhala International is current title of a Dharma movement founded by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Recognized as a tulku (reincarnated lama) of the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, this teacher of Buddhist practice was born in Tibet in 1939, fled to India in 1959, and went to England to begin teaching in 1963. His teachings are described as a mixture of practices and philosophy, drawing inspiration from the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, as well as Theravada and Zen Buddhism. The Rinpoche developed “Shambala Training” in the late 1970s as a way to spread contemplative practices to an audience that need not accept Buddhism in order to realize a better way of life. He died in 1987, leaving his son Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche to carry on the tradition by founding the Shambhala Institute in 1990.
Activities and Schedule
The local Shambhala group is involved in a number of activities. On Monday from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. and Thursday evenings from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., meditation sessions are held, followed by classes or special events such as videos or special training. Every first Saturday of the month, there is an extended meditation session from 9:00 a.m. until noon. Special occasions are celebrated at irregular intervals throughout the year. There are also frequent training sessions that require fees based upon level of commitment to the program. Other events, such as meditation retreats and special training, are held in the larger Shambhala International centers such as the Karme Choling center in Vermont.