In the West, a person formally becomes a Buddhist by taking the Refuge Vow at a formal ceremony. The ‘refuge’ that is taken comprises three things:

  1. Refuge in the Buddha, the teacher and example;
  2. Refuge in the Dharma, the teachings/the truth; and
  3. Refuge in the Sangha, the Buddhist community.

I am fortunate to live in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the world-wide headquarters for the Shambhala Buddhist Lineage.

The motto or purpose of Shambhala Buddhism is “Making Enlightened Society Possible”,

“The first Sakyong [Earth Protector] in modern times was the Tibetan meditation master, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche (the Tibetan title, Rinpoche, means “precious one” and denotes a rare and profound teacher). Prior to his escape from Tibet in 1959, he was the holder of numerous meditative lineages and leader of a large monastic complex.

Shambhala international is now headed by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s son Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche has been the leader of the lineage of Shambhala Buddhism for almost 22 years,

Shambhala Vision is rooted in the principle that every human being has a fundamental nature of basic goodness. This nature can be developed in daily life so that it radiates out to faShambhala Vision is rooted in the principle that every human being has a fundamental nature of basic goodness. This nature can be developed in daily life so that it radiates out to family, friends, community and society.In action, Shambhala is both a spiritual path of study and meditation that helps us work with our minds, as well as a path of serving others and engaging with our world. These vital and timely teachings open the door to the compassionate care of ourselves and others.”

  • source: https://halifax.shambhala.org

When I first started learning about Shambhala Buddhism, and Buddhism in general,  I was frequently reminded of Elvis Costello’s musical question “What’s so funny about peace love and understanding?”.

It seems more timely than ever to embrace the Shambhala principle.

I took the Refuge Vow in April, 2017. Participants are given a ‘Refuge Name’ at the ceremony. Mine is Kunga Shiwa, or in English ‘All Joy Peace’.

I am a lawyer by trade, a Buddhist by choice, & a drummer by inclination [in the cover band Exit 0, known fondly by its members as Fountains of Tragically Neil.]