Who We Are

The Shambhala Meditation Center of New York is part of an international community of 165 meditation centers founded by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and led by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. The Shambhala Buddhist path, unique in the world of Western Buddhism, combines the teachings of the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions of Tibetan Buddhism with the Shambhala principles of living an uplifted life, fully engaged with the world.

We offer Programs and classes in Buddhist teachings, meditation, and other contemplative disciplines, as well as individual meditation instruction. The Center is home to a vibrant, diverse community of members and friends who provide ongoing volunteer and financial support, creating a warm, genuine basis for the realizing the full potential of our authentic wisdom traditions.


Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche
Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche is the head of the Shambhala Buddhist lineage, a spiritual and family lineage that descends through his family, the Mukpo clan of eastern Tibet. This tradition emphasizes the basic goodness of all beings and teaches the art of courageous warriorship based on wisdom and compassion.

Rinpoche is the son and heir of the Vidyadhara, the Venerable Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. His background embraces both Eastern and Western cultures. Born in India in 1962, he received spiritual training from his father and from many of the greatest Tibetan Buddhist masters of our time. Rinpoche is renowned for his straightforward, practical teaching style and his skill at making even the most esoteric Buddhist teachings meaningful and relevant to an American audience. His bestselling book, Turning the Mind into an Ally, is a perfect handbook for starting a personal meditation practice. Ruling Your World: Ancient Strategies for Modern Life and The Shambhala Principle: Discovering Humanity’s Hidden Treasure offer a deepening of the Shambhala teachings. To Learn more about Rinpoche, please visit: www.mipham.com

Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche
Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche was one of the most dynamic teachers of Buddhism in the twentieth century. He was a pioneer in bringing the Buddhist teachings of Tibet to the West and is credited with introducing many Buddhist concepts into the English language and psyche in a fresh and new way.

Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche was the former supreme abbot of Surmang Monasteries in Tibet and is regarded as a foremost meditation master and teacher of Buddhism in the West. In the early 1970s, he founded Naropa University, the first Buddhist-inspired university in North America, along with over 100 meditation centers worldwide. Rinpoche encouraged his students to join their experience of meditation with disciplines such as Japanese archery, calligraphy, flower arranging, tea ceremony, health care, dance, poetry, photography, theater, education, business, and psychotherapy. Rinpoche authored two dozen books on meditation, poetry, and art, and he founded the Shambhala path of warriorship. To learn more, please visit:www.shambhala.org


The acharyas (Sanskrit, “senior teacher”) of Shambhala are deeply experienced teachers appointed by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. The acharyas are empowered to offer Buddhist refuge and bodhisattva vows and to bring the continuity of our spiritual lineage into the living teaching environment of local Shambhala centers. New York Shambhala center is pleased to host many Shambhala acharyas.

Acharya Eric Spiegel
Acharya Eric Spiegel grew up on Manhattan’s lower east side in a lefty family that he describes as “fundamentalist atheists.” In 1971, he met and became a student of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. He has worked in the financial sector for decades and in 2002 he left working on Wall Street to devote more time to teaching. The following year, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche appointed him an Acharya which means “senior teacher.” He is the Acharya for the New York Shambhala Community. He teaches and has students in NYC, around the US and internationally. He has worked extensively with people facing death and with issues related to death and dying. He also works and teaches within the Shambhala tradition on developing a more awakened attitude toward wealth and money.

Acharya Pema Chodron
Acharya Pema Chodron 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 Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, uniquely empowered Pema to speak directly to the heart issues of both Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike.

Acharya Judy Lief
Judith L. Lief has been a Buddhist teacher for over 25 years. She was a close student of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and worked with him as executive editor of Vajradhatu Publications and from 1980-1985 as the head of Naropa University, in Boulder Colorado. Acharya Lief is the author of the book Making Friends with Death: A Buddhist Guide to Encountering Mortality. Currently she is the Series Editor for the Dharma Oceans series, a collection of Trungpa Rinpoche’s work published by Shambhala Publications.

Acharya Gaylon Ferguson
Acharya Gaylon Ferguson grew up on a farm in strictly segregated East Texas. In 1973, Gaylon joined Tail of the Tiger Buddhist Community (now Karmê Chöling), where he served in many capacities, including Executive Co-Director. In 1979, Gaylon journeyed West to serve as teacher-in-residence for the Berkeley Shambhala Center. In 1994, he was a Fulbright Fellow to Nigeria and completed a doctoral degree in cultural anthropology at Stanford University. Acharya Ferguson teaches widely in Shambhala programs and assemblies, and is known for his gentle, meticulous, and penetrating style.

Acharya Arawana Hayashi
Acharya Arawana Hayashi is the Artistic Director of the Jo Ha Kyu Performance Group in Cambridge, which presents contemporary and Bugaku dance concerts nationally. As co-director of Naropa University’s Dance Program from 1975-1980, she was asked by Chögyam Trungpa to study and incorporate Bugaku into the body of Shambhala Arts. As a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition she has taught dharma art, Buddhism, and Shambhala Training at centers around the world and serves on the faculty of the Shambhala Institute for Authentic Leadership. She currently resides near Sky Lake Lodge in the Hudson Valley region of New York.

For Bios of all Shambhala Acharyas, please visit: www.shambhala.org/teachers/