An early student of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Richard was appointed an acharya by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. For many years he has taught Shambhala Buddhist programs in North America, New Zealand, Australia, Mexico and Chile. After careers as a designer and a management consultant, he served as director of the Halifax Shambhala Centre. He completed the first three-year group retreat at Gampo Abbey, and he now teaches full time. Richard and his wife Liz reside in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Richard became a student of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche after reading Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism in 1974, although he didn’t know exactly what Buddhism was, what his teacher looked like, or how to meditate. At the time he was a hippie woodworker in Santa Cruz, California. His first experience of meditation was at a dathun at Padma Jong, near Mendocino, in 1975. Shortly afterward, the Vidhadhara asked him to oversee the volunteer production of all the carvings and gold leaf in the shrine hall in Boulder, and then at Karme Choling.
Over the years Richard served as kusung to the Vidyadhara, Vajra Regent and Sakyong, ST resident director in Washington DC, resident teacher at Karme Choling, and acharya representative on the Sakyong’s Council. For his day job he worked as an exhibit designer and project manager, producing international exhibitions for the US State Department, and—after immigrating to Nova Scotia in 1987—for Parks Canada. In 1990 he entered the first three-year retreat at Gampo Abbey, as part of “Group A.” After retreat, faced with the nonexistence of his previous design career, he got an MA in organizational development and worked for several years as a management consultant. After realizing that he preferred doing the work to consulting about it, he became director of the Halifax Shambhala Center.
Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche appointed Richard as acharya during a visit to Chile in 2002. In addition to a variety of weekend programs, he has taught Sutrayana Seminary and a number of mahamudra retreats, vajrayana intensives and Warrior Assemblies. Richard now teaches full time, and is extremely grateful for that opportunity.
Acharya Richard John's schedule: