Filed in Vajrayana, Tibetan

A New Place, A New Time

An interview with Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche about the leadership of Shambhala, the legacy of his father, Trungpa Rinpoche, and the future of Buddhism in the West.

Helen Tworkov

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Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche is the eldest son of the late Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and, since 1990, the leader of the Shambhala community his father founded. Osel Rangdrol Mukpo, as he was named at birth, spent his early years living in a Tibetan refugee village in northwest India with his mother, Konchok Paldron, a Tibetan nun. At the age of seven, he went to live and train with his father, first at Samye Ling Meditation Centre in Scotland and later in Boulder, Colorado. In 1979, Trungpa Rinpoche conferred upon his son the title Sawang, or Earth Lord, empowering him as his heir, responsible for propagating the Shambhala teachings in the West. As part of his training, the Sakyong studied with the Sixteenth Gyalwang Karmapa, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, and Kalu Rinpoche, and currently studies with Penor Rinpoche, who recognized him as the incarnation of Mipham Jamyang Namgyal Gyatso, the nineteenth-century meditation master. In 1995, at Shambhala headquarters in Nova Scotia, he was formally installed as the Sakyong (Earth Protector), or leader of the Shambhala community.

This interview was conducted at the Shambhala Center in New York City by Helen Tworkov.


Tricycle: Before this, you were being asked to be your father?

The Sakyong: To a degree. From my perspective, it’s a lot like what my father went through. When he was growing up, he was under the shadow of his predecessor, the tenth Trungpa. All the old lamas were saying, “He should do this,” and “He should do that.” And he actually had to leave the monastery and go to another monastery in order to get out from this shadow.

Tricycle: Is this partly why you are going into retreat for a year this winter?

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