Shambhala Shrine

Offered by the Office of Practice and Education

In many Shambhala Centres, the main hall now contains the Rigden shrine, designed by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche to be the main public shrine in all Shambhala Centres. Hanging on the wall above the shrine is a thangka (painting) of the Primordial Rigden. The Primordial Rigden thangka mirrors to viewers an image of their enlightened nature, their basic goodness.

Like all shrine imagery in the non-theistic traditions of Buddhism, the thangka aims to remind viewers of qualities inherent in themselves and their lives. The details of the iconography are highly symbolic, each one pointing to an aspect of the view, the training, or the full realization of this basic nature.

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche designed this thangka to be placed on public shrines in Shambhala centres throughout the world. In doing so, the Sakyong points out the unique spiritual inheritance of the Shambhala community – an inheritance that braids together the Tibetan Buddhist vajrayana lineages of Kagyü and Nyingma with the direct, imperial transmission of Shambhala wisdom.

The main shrine is the heart of any Shambhala Centre. Shrines, in general, are meant to remind us, provoke us to wake up from our delusions. The Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche said that having put energy into the creation and care for a shrine, a sense of liveliness then radiates out to the viewer, providing a mirror of their being.

Shambhala centre shrines are also an expression of who we are as a community of practitioners. The Rigden shrine and thangka highlights the Shambhala image of monarch as ruler of the phenomenal world. As well, it manifests the inseparability of the Buddhist and Shambhala teachings and expresses the unity of our Shambhala Buddhist community.

Basic Shrine Size and Color Guidelines: Download PDF

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