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Our Teachers

Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

The Shambhala lineage was founded by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, holder of the Kagyü and Nyingma lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. Trungpa Rinpoche is regarded as one of the most influential Buddhist teachers of the 20th Century.




Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, son and dharma heir of Trungpa Rinpoche, is now the spiritual head of Shambhala. He is the incarnation of Mipham the Great, who is revered in Tibet as an emanation of Manjushri, the bodhisattva of wisdom. The Sakyong shares his time and responsibilities equally between East and West.



Acharya Pema Chödrön

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 empowered Pema to speak directly to the heart issues of both Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. Read more...



Acharya is a Sanskrit word that means "teacher." Within Shambhala it is a title that is conferred upon senior students of Vidyadhara Trungpa Rinpoche and Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche who the Sakyong has selected and empowered to represent him and the Kagyü, Nyingma, and Shambhala lineages on his behalf. Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche chose these individuals because of their knowledge, wisdom, and commitment to the confluence of teachings found in Shambhala. Acharyas travel to Shambhala Meditation Centres to lead dharma programmes and perform Refuge and Bodhisattva vow ceremonies for those who would like to commit themselves to the Buddhist path. There are currently just over 30 Acharyas, of which seven reside in Europe. See Acharya's Biographies...



In 2010, the Sakyong empowered a group of about 60 teachers in the Shambhala mandala to the new role of shastri. In Sanskrit, shastri literally means "teacher learned in the texts and commentaries". The shastris have been selected from our dedicated senior teachers, as well as from newer, youger teachers and will serve a term of three years. Additional shastris will be appointed in future years, as the needs of our local and regional centres become more clarified.

The shastris' role is to bring the current understanding of the Shambhala Buddhist vision and teachings to their centres, to be a reference point for questions about the path, and in particular to help establish The Way of Shambhala curriculum as the core path teachings. A major role of the shastri is to personally mentor and strengthen the local teaching mandala.

Shastris will also support the leadership in Shambhala centres in building comunity and strengthening the vision of enlightened society.

View a list of the first group of shastris.


Other Teachers and Teacher Training

Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, the founder of the Shambhala Mandala, had the profound conviction that the teachings he held could be transmitted to students in other cultures and that they, in turn, could be empowered to teach and lead others. Thus, within the Shambhala Mandala, there is a strong emphasis on cultivating different levels of teachers and leaders.

There are programs to train Shambhala Guides. Meditation Instructors, Buddhist teachers and Directors and Assistant Directors of Shambhala Training.

In addition to the acharyas and shastris, there are hundreds of meditation instructors and teachers worldwide, working with students at local centres and leading weekly classes and major programs. The teachers leading programmes are normally featured in conjunction with the specific programmes they are teaching, which can be found in our programme calendar.

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