SHAMBHALA DAY marks the beginning of the New Year, and represents one of the most important traditions of Shambhala Buddhism. Based on the traditional Tibetan New Year's celebration of Losar, the day is calculated astrologically according to the Tibetan lunar calendar, and changes every year to coincide with the annual lunar cycles.
Shambhala Day is a time for us to express the wealth and richness of our spiritual and cultural heritage through feasting, conviviality, elegance and pomp. Accordingly, Centers and Groups are encouraged to plan activities throughout the week following Shambhala Day. As is customary, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche addresses the worldwide Shambhala community on Shambhala Day through an onlinehook-up, which includes centres and groups from six continents and over thirty countries around the world.
This is also the time when members of the Shambhala community are encouraged to make a financial donation to Shambhala in order to help support the activities of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and our worldwide mandala. We ask that fundraising for Shambhala be given a spotlight at all centres and groups. Click here for more information.
Details regarding many of our Shambhala Day traditions are listed below. We also post logistical and planning information for local event organizers on the Special Events page.
End of the Year Ritual—Recitation of the Mamo Chant
Shambhala Day marks the end of one year's cycle and the beginning of a new one. To dispel the karmic accumulation of personal, social, and environmental chaos at the year's end, all students are encouraged to practice as much as possible in the period just before Shambhala Day. In particular, students are encouraged to recite the mamo chants together beginning eleven days before Shambhala Day.
Pacifying the Turmoil of the Mamos is recited each year in order to pacify the karmic cause of personal, social, and environmental chaos that accumulates at the year's end.
The mamo chant is an elaborate protector offering that is traditionally recited from the twentieth through the twenty-ninth days of the last lunar month of the Tibetan year. By reciting the chant, we tune into the protector principle of awareness and reconnect with sacred outlook. The day before Shambhala Day is considered neutral and is a traditional time to clean and refresh one's home and shrines in preparation for the coming year.
The Vidyadhara began the tradition of celebrating Shambhala Day with a sunrise ceremony that includes traditional morning chants, the Sadhana of Mahamudra, and various Shambhala practices such as stroke practice and the Werma Sadhana. A continental breakfast can be offered sometime during this occasion. This ceremony could include the Sakyong's address, depending on the centre's time zone. The broadcast always begins at 2:00pm Atlantic Time.
Sadhana Of Mahamudra
Shambhala Day always falls on the day following the new moon -- it is customary to practice the Sadhana of Mahamudra at this time.
Worldwide Shambhala Day Address
Every year the Sakyong addresses our international community through an online broadcast to all centres and groups - from six continents and over thirty countries! Each centre and group will need to adjust their morning or evening schedule according to their respective time zone.
Elixir of Life Sadhana
The Sakyong has requested that everyone throughout the sangha practice the Elixir of Life (Birthday Sadhana) together as part of the annual ritual. People are encouraged to gather approximately one half hour before the broadcast begins to practice the sadhana together.
Rinpoche suggested that we could do the purification section with a once-around of the vase. There will need to be one substitution to the text: instead of saying "Cheerful Birthday," we'll say, "Cheerful Shambhala Day."
Copies of the sadhana will be made available to centre directors for shrine room distribution. Members
are encouraged to bring a copy of their sadhana to this event, or purchase a copy through Shambhala Media.
Centers and groups who wish to sell the sadhana to their members will be offered a 40% discount.
Shambhala Media produces practice calendars, to be distributed by the centre on Shambhala Day. Order information will be posted on the Special Events page.
Community Blessing Ceremony
Shambhala Meditation Centres should construct a simple throne with a back, the seat about 30 inches high, covered with gold or yellow satin. A brocade skirt around the throne is optional. Place the throne on the left side of the shrine where the guru chair normally sits; move the guru chair and side table further to the left. Place a framed photograph of the Sakyong, draped with a khata, on the throne. Shambhala Meditation Groups may use the guru chair instead of a throne, perhaps draped with brocade,
Set up a lhasang at the shrine-hall door, just inside or outside, so that everyone who enters passes through its smoke. For this you will need an incense burner filled with sand, charcoal, and powdered juniper. Ask one person to continue adding juniper to the lhasang while people are entering.
Place a nice tray draped with a khata on a table next to the throne for people to offer their donations. The director or coordinator bows to the throne/chair. He or she will then place a ceremonial scarf over the seat of throne or chair, in front of a photograph of the Sakyong, and touch his or her forehead to the seat of the throne. Others line up, bow and touch their heads on the throne.
The assembled participants recite the Shambhala Dedication of Merit throughout the blessing.
Note: Others do not present a scarf. In Shambhala Meditation Groups, the coordinator and others may simply bow to the photograph of the Sakyong.
Banquets and Feasts
Centers are encouraged to plan banquets, elaborate feasts, dances, and other community and family celebrations. It is customary to extend activities throughout the week following Shambhala Day.
Shambhala Day is the one day each year that all local centres and groups turn their fund-raising attention towards supporting the centre of the mandala. To help the Development Office at Shambhala coordinate the annual fund, we ask Shambhala Centre Directors and Shambhala Meditation Group Coordinators to let us know the name of someone in your community (it need not be the Director) who will be responsible for coordinating the raising, collecting, collating and sending back of Shambhala Day gifts from your community. This person could act as both the Shambhala Day representative and contact for the Shambhala Development Office.
To those of you who are not members of a centre or group, we encourage you to make a financial contribution to Shambhala on Shambhala Day. Your contribution will help support the activities of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, help develop and support international programs, curriculum, and other resources, provide support and guidance to centre administrators, and fuel development of our web-based resources and services.
This year Shambhala Day fund-raising will be geared toward supporting these core services of the mandala that support Shambhala Centres world-wide. On Shambhala Day a new website devoted to the incredible staff that supports the Sakyong and carries out his vision will be launched to illustrate this campaign. Individuals considering a donation - and fundraising coordinators - may wish to view it.
Send a check to Shambhala at:
Shambhala Development Office
1084 Tower Road
Halifax, NS B3H 2Y5
Become a monthly donor to Shambhala by mailing a voided check or credit card information with instructions on how much you would like us to debit from your account each month.
Send an email to finance in Halifax for one time donations and/or other methods of payment.
Registration for the International Broadcast
The international broadcast will start at 2:00 pm Atlantic Time (from Boulder, Colorado), and will be brought to you by Shambhala Online. Centres and Groups should have received instructions for registering for the Shambhala Day international broadcast. If you do not have this information, please contact Shambhala Online at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will send internet and phone hook-up instructions in advance of the event by email.