The Sacred Path

Our Year 2 curriculum, The Sacred Path continues the journey with a further series of weekend retreats, and weeknight courses. As in our Year 1 curriculum, participants may choose to proceed through the entire program, or participate in either the weekends or the weeknight classes – each sequentially. However, in order to qualify for certain advanced Shambhala Retreats (like Enlightened Society Assembly) the full Sacred Path cycle must be completed.


The Sacred Path

Weekly Courses


What Is Karma? (Course 1)

Who am I? How did I get here, and where am I going? Looking directly at the experience of mind, we begin to understand our apparent confusion about ourselves and the phenomena of our world.  Renouncing the painful cycle of confused action (karma), we use the natural inquisitiveness of mind to see how confusion arises and therefore how it could simply cease, allowing awake wisdom to manifest.

Pre-requisite: Wisdom In Everyday Life or permission of Director of Practice & Education


What Is Compassion? The Practice of Lojong (Course 2)

We live in complex relationships with other sentient beings. Often these relationships affect us emotionally. Lojong (literally, “mind training”) practice is a way to transform deep-seated patterns and bring compassion, clarity and peace into those relationships.

Pre-requisite: Wisdom In Everyday Life or permission of Director of Practice & Education


Who Am I? The Basic Goodness of Being Human (Course 3)

This course looks into the subjects of basic goodness, selflessness, the five skandhas (form, feeling, perception, formation, and consciousness) and Buddha nature.

Pre-requisite: Wisdom In Everyday Life or permission of Director of Practice & Education


How Can I Help? The Basic Goodness of Society (Course 4)

This course asks the question, “How can I help?” and explores our relationships with others, an aspiration to help our world, and specific aspects of social transformation. We look at a Shambhala understanding of society, and what enlightened society may be. Is society something that is ultimately confused, or is there goodness in human society?  The course focuses on transforming four aspects of society:  relations with family (household), professional life, entertainment, and economy. We learn the traditional mahayana practice of “sending and taking” (tonglen).

Pre-requisite: Who Am I?


What Is Real? The Basic Goodness of Reality (Course 5)

This course asks the question, “What is Real?” and focuses on a study of the phenomenal world. It emphasizes some of the core Buddhist teachings, such as impermanence, the process of perception, the “mind,” and emptiness.  It is oriented towards the experience of sacred world, the magic and wonder of the natural elements.  There is an ecological element to the class.

Pre-requisite: How Can I Help?


Weekend Retreats


Great Eastern Sun

This weekend program teaches how to see the Great Eastern Sun, the primordial energy and brilliance that is the basis of all that exists.

Pre-requisite: Rigden Weekend or permission of the Office of Practice & Education



One begins studying The Letter of the Black Ashe, the text that gives the instruction for “raising windhorse,” which opens the heart and refreshes one’s confidence. The practice is a way to bring about skillful and heartfelt social engagement, enabling the warrior to go forward in the midst of whatever challenges occur.

Pre-requisite: Great Eastern Sun



Through exploring the depth of perception, one engages the elemental and magical strength inherent in the world. The principle of drala refers to the sacred energy and power that exists when we step beyond aggression.

Pre-requisite: Windhorse


Meek & Perky

“The four dignities” are further explored as a path and a process, which describe a warrior’s maturing and widening sphere of benevolent engagement in the world. The training in the dignities allows one to maintain awareness and delight at each stage.

Meek (the dignity of the Tiger) & Perky (the dignity of the Lion) are studied from the point of view of The Letter of the Black Ashe text and commentaries.

Pre-requisite: Drala


Outrageous & Inscrutable

These fruitional dignities refer to the extraordinary skill of a practiced warrior.

Outrageous (the dignity of the Garuda) & Inscrutable (the dignity of the Dragon) are studied from the point of view of The Letter of the Black Ashe text and commentaries.

Pre-requisite: Meek & Perky


Golden Key

This program is based on a Shambhala text that works with our relationship to the material world and our sense perceptions. It teaches the practice of enriching presence—the ability to instantly sense the inner wealth within oneself, phenomena, and the natural world.

Pre-requisite: Outrageous & Inscrutable


Now What?

Dathün / Weekthün

Dathün (Tibetan for “month session”) is a one-month group meditation retreat lead by a senior teacher. You can attend for a full month, or by the week. It is open to anyone and is a very powerful introduction and deepening of mindfulness-awareness meditation. Each day consists of alternating periods of sitting and walking meditation with time for talks, study, and a short work period. Silence and functional talking are observed throughout the day.  Meals are served in the shrine room oryoki-style, a practice of mindful eating taken from the Zen tradition. There is regular individual instruction with trained meditation instructors.

The NY Shambhala Center offers a Weekthün (one week of Dathün) every summer, Sky Lake Lodge in upstate New York offers a Weekthün every winter, and there are four practice centers in the Shambhala mandala that offer dathüns at different times of the year (Karmê Chöling in Vermont, Shambhala Mountain Center in Colorado, Dechen Chöling in France, and Dorje Denma Ling in Nova Scotia.


Enlightened Society Assembly

The Enlightened Society Assembly (Sutrayana Seminary) is a Shambhala mahayana program that emphasizes the view of the intrinsic goodness of all beings, practices that rouse bodhichitta and compassionate openness, and confident activity that engages fully in the world. In particular, living up to its name, this Assembly will focus on how we can create enlightened society on the spot, at home, in our city and nation, and wherever we go. Enlightened Society Assembly is a pre-requisite for attending Warrior Assembly.


Warrior Assembly

During Warrior Assembly, students study the Shambhala terma text, The Golden Sun of the Great East, and receive the advanced Shambhala practices of stroke and lungta. Warrior Assembly is a pre-requisite for attending Sacred World Assembly (Vajrayana Seminary).


Sacred World Assembly

This advanced Assembly (formerly Vajrayana Seminary) is designed to deepen students’ practice and understanding of the buddhist and Shambhala teachings and to enter them into the vajrayana practices of the Shambhala Buddhist mandala. Enlightened Society Assembly and Warrior Assembly are prerequisites for this program.

Sacred World Assembly, is led by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and authorizes students to begin their Shambhala ngöndro the preliminary practices for receiving the Rigden Abhisheka.


For more information, pre-requisites, and upcoming dates click here.