Mandala Principle

The Shambhala community is organized as a mandala, a circular framework that connects the teachers and teachings with the community of practitioners. The legendary kingdom of Shambhala is traditionally painted as a mandala with the ruler at the centre, and the households radiating from and around that centre. The authority of such a mandala, combining sacred and secular roles of teacher and leader, is known in Tibetan as the tridzin, or "throne holder". In the Shambhala tradition, this has been a family heritage, passed from one generation to the next.

Trungpa Rinpoche
Druk Sakyong
Trungpa Rinpoche


Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche
Sakyong Mipham

The Throne Holder

The first throne holder of the contemporary Shambhala Mandala was Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, who served as the first Sakyong (meaning "earth protector"). The current throne holder is his son and spiritual heir, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche.

The Vajra Regent

Osel Tendzin
Vajra Regent
Ösel Tendzin

In 1976 Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche empowered Thomas F. Rich, one of his American students, as his Vajra Regent, Ösel Tendzin. He served as head of the organizations founded by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche from 1987 until his death in 1990. His teachings are preserved both in the Shambhala Archives as well as by Satdharma, the organization established to propagate the teachings the Vajra Regent received from Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, and in the Vajra Regent Library & Archives. For a biography of the Vajra Regent and information on his collected teachings, please visit: www.vrot.org.

Calligraphies by the Vajra Regent


Shambhala Acharyas

Acharya is a Sanskrit word that means "teacher." It refers to individuals that Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche has empowered to represent him and the Kagyu, Nyingma, and Shambhala lineages he holds. 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 Centers to lead dharma programs and perform Refuge and Bodhisattva Vow ceremonies for those who would like to commit themselves to the Buddhist path. Some have selected certain teachings to be their main focus (such a Maitri, Death & Dying, etc.).

John Rockwell,
Ashe Acharya

Dale Asrael
Dale Asrael,
Dean of Meditation Instructors

Acharya Marianne Bots
Marianne Bots

Emily Bower

Christie Cashman

Acharya Orhun Cercel
Orhun Cercel

Susan Chapman

Pema Chödrön

Suzann Duquette
Suzann Duquette, Rupa Acharya

Gaylon Ferguson
Gaylon Ferguson

Michael Greenleaf, Wealth & Generosity Acharya

Acharya Moh Hardin
Moh Hardin

Arawana Hayashi

Acharya Jeremy Hayward
Jeremy Hayward

Dan Hessey
Dan Hessey

David Hope
David Hope

Acharya Marty Janowitz

Martin Janowitz

Richard John

No Picture Available

Samten Kobelt

Mitchell Levy

Adam Lobel,
Kalapa Acharya

Dorje Loppon Lodro Dorje
Dorje Loppön
Lodrö Dorje

Allyn Lyon
Allyn Lyon

 Barbara Märtens
Barbara Märtens

Fleet Maull

Norbu Williaml McKeever
Norbu McKeever

Noel McLellan

Larry Mermelstein
Larry Mermelstein

Acharya Melissa Moore
Melissa Moore

Mathias Pongracz
Mathias Pongracz

No Picture Available

Sabine Rolf

Eve Rosenthal,
Chair of the

David Schneider
David Schneider

Acharya Alan Schwartz
Alan Schwartz

Judith Simmer-Brown
Judith Simmer-Brown, Dean of Teachers Academy

Susan Skjei
Susan Skjei

Eric Spiegel
Alfonso Taboada
Alfonso Taboada
Jenny Warwick
Jenny Warwick
Han de Wit
Han de Wit

Acharya Emeriti

Sam Bercholz

Judy Lief

Jules Levinson

Jules Levinson
Fenja Heupers
Fenja Heupers

In Memoriam
Simon Luna
Simon Luna

Current Combined Acharya Schedules

Monthy schedules

Individual schedules


Acharya Protocol is being updated. Please check back later for this document.

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Write to Lin Waters to get additional information on the acharyas and their schedules.


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. 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.

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 listed above, 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 programs are normally featured in conjunction with the specific programs they are teaching, which can be found on Find a Program.