Loading Events
Location: Durham Shambhala Center

Creating Enlightened Society: Why bother? Is it really possible? And if so, how?

Explore this recorded Shambhala Online course at your own pace.

Shambhala is the name of a mythical/historical kingdom in Central Asia that is widely recognized as an example of an enlightened society, where people enjoy harmony, good health, and well-being. The basis for such an enlightened society is the people’s confidence and respect for inherent goodness, wisdom, and dignity—in themselves, in each other, and in society. Much of our path in Shambhala Training is predicated on the notion of being able to create such a society. But, is this actually possible? And if so – how would it be done?  These are certainly questions worth contemplating, especially now when most of the world is in crisis.

In this workshop we will explore Dr. Robin Kornman’s understanding of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s view, practice, and action for creating such a society. We will listen to talks from Dr. Kornman’s “Creating Enlightened Society” program and explore the definition of, and the relationship between, terms such as cosmic mirror, mandala principle, society, nature of mind, drala, dharma art, decorum, etc. We will also examine how meditation practice expands the practitioner’s sense of awareness and makes wakefulness the key driver of our personal and collective lifestyles.

Recommended Reading:  Sourcebook  “Creating Enlightened Society” available from the Nalanda Translation Committee.


Robin Kornman, Ph.D. (1947–2007), a longtime student of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, is best known for his work as a Tibetan Buddhist scholar, as well as a founding member of the Nalanda Translation Committee. Up until his death, he spent many years working on the translation of the Epic of Gesar.  Robin was also a principal translator and editor of The Rain of Wisdom and a key contributor to the translations of the Vajrayogini, Chakrasamvara, Jambhala, and Werma Sadhanas as well as the Long Werma Lhasang and the Vidyadhara’s Shambhala terma texts. A longtime student of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, he earned his PhD from Princeton University and was a professor of Comparative Literature at St. John’s in Annapolis and at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

Catherine Neill, Ph.d, first encountered Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche at a public talk in Austin, Texas in 1975.  In 1981, after spending time in the Zen tradition and the Theravadin tradition while living in Thailand, she became his devoted student. She has been teaching meditation in Shambhala Centers since 1994. Recently, Catherine finished a four-year term of service as the Executive Director of Dorje Denma Ling, a Shambhala retreat center in Nova Scotia. She has also practiced and studied with a number of teachers in the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages, including Thrangu Rinpoche, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, and Khandro Rinpoche. Catherine studied linguistics and worked in the field of international development for more than twenty years.
Julia Sagebien, Ph. D, became a student of the Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1973. She subsequently studied with the Venerable Thrangu Rinpoche, as well as other respected teachers such Dzongsar Khyetnse Rinpoche and Tsoknyi Rinpoche. Julia has been a Shambhala Training Director since the inception of the program, and has taught at several Vajradhatu Seminaries. Online, she has been an active contributor to the Chronicles of CTR project and Shambhala Online. Julia also worked closely with Spanish-speaking dharma centers worldwide and helped pioneer Queer Dharma. Dr. Sagebien was born in Cuba and now resides in Halifax, Chicago, and San Juan. She completed her doctoral work at the London School of Economics, held tenured positions in three universities, and published extensively in areas such as corporate responsibility, social enterprise, and Cuban foreign, trade and commercial policy.  

See all events in Durham Shambhala Center
2024-02-22 15:31:43