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Shambhala?

Ok, so I decided to go and try out one of the meditation groups in my area. And one of them was a Shambhala meditation. Umm...what I'm wondering is if anyone has EVER been to one of these kinds of meditations. The people who were there were VERY friendly. lol I'm kinda laughing because I don't want to come off rude or anything, but after the meditation, there was a chant that we had to do (I really didn't chant because I wasn't really used to it), but it was about this warrior god. The chant was supposed to be about him helping everyone out in the ways of enlightenment or in the ways of curing the ignorance, and how the Shambhala chanters were something like warriors.

I have to say, in my mind it was VERY strange. My last meditation group I was at in California, we would just take the three refuges, and then meditate. And afterwards, he would talk a little bit and answer any questions that someone might have.

I REALLY like the people there, they're really friendly and all, but that chanting really kinda pushes me away from going back. So does anyone know if this is what people who practice or follow Shambhala do? Anyone else been to these and the chanting seem somewhat strange?

Also, I'm probably going to go to a different area, because it seems like the meditation also is on Wed which is my day off. But I'm not sure :)

Comments

  • Oops I mean I might go to a different meditation group because the other meditation group is also on Wed which is my day off. :P
  • If I were you, I would alternate between the two groups for a few months, and go with the one you get the better sense from.

    If you want to know more about the Shambhala philosophy, read Trungpa's book of the same name.
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    The sacred path of the warrior is Trungpa Rinpoche's book also about shambhala.
  • @fivebells yea I'm going to try that. Already have another one lined up that I'm going to try. Not many in my area that I know of so I'm a little confined to certain ones Lol

    @Jeffrey yea that's it! That's the one they follow :D There were so many names of people in their chant that I wouldn't be able to pronounce lol
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran
    You'd get the hang of it if you practiced it. It's one of those things where if you aren't used to it (chanting) it's weird, but you get used to it, you pick up the words and the rhythm and then it can be kind of nice. If it just isn't for you, then you'll know. But don't give up on it after one try just because it made you feel a little weird or uncomfortable. Now that you know to expect it, it won't be as odd even the next time you go.
    riverflowericcris10senpersonJoyfulGirl
  • @Karasti you're very right. I don't think I'll quit going there unless the one I'm going to next time is more for me. The community is a small tight group so I think that's a good thing for me :)
  • nenkohainenkohai Veteran
    There's a shambhala temple near me, too. I was looking at their website and found many references to "warrior." Hate to say it, but, usage of that word made me discount that path for myself. There is an implied "disharmony" aspect in the "warrior" idea. The whole warrior, soldier, conflict resolution by force... thing.

    I speak only for myself, of course. No doubt there is a context I'm missing. Still, I can't imagine what that context could be that would change the flavor of the word "warrior."

    Maybe its an unfortunate translation issue...?
  • I haven't LOOKED too much into it, but from the chanting aspect, it seemed that they're warriors on the path of harmony, enlightenment, and to cease all ignorance within them. I do agree that "warrior" might not be the greatest word to live by when trying to become peaceful and loving (as the word "warrior" hasn't had a great reputation to being so).

    I mean, isn't it kind of a battle in itself to keep practicing? For me at least, it's a battle in myself to stay in a meditative state of mind. Or to stop negative thoughts or to keep myself calm if having to drive behind an extremely slow person in the fast lane, or a very impatient person who speeds around risking the lives of others. I dunno lol
    Florian
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    I used to go to a Shamballah centre once or twice a week after work.
    The warrior ethos and philosophy is strange. As was Trungpa. I only remember doing the chant once or twice. Personally I did not mind joining in. Otherwise ignore. You don't have to chant in Pali either at other centres.
    Sham parts of shamballah can be ignored. I went to one specifically Tantric orientated morning practices. Not my thing at the time. They also offered flower arranging (from the Zen side).

    I had a Jewish dharma friend who would not bow to the three jewels as he considered this idolatrous. He was not a practicing Jew but felt it disrespectful to some part of his cultural heritage. He was more then welcome to practice his way.

    Be comfortable but also genuine. Explain and discuss how you feel. There is no compulsion . . .
    fivebells said:

    If I were you, I would alternate between the two groups for a few months, and go with the one you get the better sense from.

    That seems useful advice.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shambhala_Buddhism
    riverflowInvincible_summerkarmablues
  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran
    Off topic:

    @how is back! :clap:
    riverflowlobsterInvincible_summer
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    @how, did you go to your retreat?

  • @karmablues like I said, I haven't looked TOO much into it, rather none at all lol but from the chanting, that's what it seemed to be lol

    @how How TRUE you are. I'm going to try the only other meditation/buddhist group in my area, and if they're more for me, then I'll stick with it, otherwise, I'll go back to the other one. I just enjoy meditating with others lol
  • FlorianFlorian Veteran
    I thought the idea of a 'spiritual warrior' was a common one across many traditions. I've even heard it said that only true warriors succeed on the path. It seems a useful idea to me, that we must become warriors and not just pussy-foot around.
    karmablues
  • TakuanTakuan Veteran
    I am in the Shambhala lineage. What chant were you doing?

  • @Takuan I'm not sure lol I'm sure if I heard the name of the chant, I'd remember but there's no way I can dig it out of my brain to remember. It was like 4 pages of chanting, that's what I know lol
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    how said:

    Much of life is dealing with things that makes one feel uncomfortable and our very search for comfort is often the cause for more suffering.
    A meditation group that you are in complete ease with, may not provide much of a practise ground to address sufferings cause.
    Rather than judging a group on the basis of your comfort, consider instead to check if your mind & heart feel wider for your practise with them.

    I think we need to be very careful about advising people to ignore their gut feeling with regard to an individual or group. Gut feelings are there to keep us safe, and to guide us. I wouldn't advise someone to stick with a group they're not comfortable with. Usually the advice given here is to try different sanghas to find a good fit. I'll stick with that tried and true advice.

  • TakuanTakuan Veteran

    @Takuan I'm not sure lol I'm sure if I heard the name of the chant, I'd remember but there's no way I can dig it out of my brain to remember. It was like 4 pages of chanting, that's what I know lol

    Was it after meditation? After group meditation sessions, we do a few chants such as the dedication of merit and protector chants.
    These links may help:
    http://nalandatranslation.org/offerings/notes-on-the-daily-chants/commentaries/supplication-to-the-shambhala-lineage/
    http://nalandatranslation.org/offerings/notes-on-the-daily-chants/commentaries/protector-chants/
  • ChazChaz The Remarkable Chaz Anywhere, Everywhere & Nowhere Veteran
    I used to be a member of the Shambhala center near me.

    All Shambhala centers do opening and closing chants. Most, if not all Tibetan groups do the same thing.

    If you don't like it, if the chanting makes you uncomfortable, the easy thing to do is to not go back.

    before you get down on the whole warrior thing, I'd suggest you read Trungpa's teaching on the subject. In fact, if you can get yourself back to the center you can ask anyone who's been though the first Shambhala Training level and they'll tell you all about it.

    I spent several years with that center. Lot of great people, great teachers and I learned a lot about practice and the Dharma. I was uncomfortable with the chanting at first, but quickly got over that little bit of neurosis, got used to doing it, and actually came to love it.

    Your mileage may differ.

    Ok, so I decided to go and try out one of the meditation groups in my area. And one of them was a Shambhala meditation. Umm...what I'm wondering is if anyone has EVER been to one of these kinds of meditations. The people who were there were VERY friendly. lol I'm kinda laughing because I don't want to come off rude or anything, but after the meditation, there was a chant that we had to do (I really didn't chant because I wasn't really used to it), but it was about this warrior god. The chant was supposed to be about him helping everyone out in the ways of enlightenment or in the ways of curing the ignorance, and how the Shambhala chanters were something like warriors.

    I have to say, in my mind it was VERY strange. My last meditation group I was at in California, we would just take the three refuges, and then meditate. And afterwards, he would talk a little bit and answer any questions that someone might have.

    I REALLY like the people there, they're really friendly and all, but that chanting really kinda pushes me away from going back. So does anyone know if this is what people who practice or follow Shambhala do? Anyone else been to these and the chanting seem somewhat strange?

    Also, I'm probably going to go to a different area, because it seems like the meditation also is on Wed which is my day off. But I'm not sure :)

    Takuan
  • @Takuan yea that was one of the chants :P And there was a chant before (short chant) and one afterwards (long chant). One of those links had one of the chants.

    @Chaz well I'm going to try another group. I was just stating that it pushed me away in a sense because I'm not used to that. Is it a definite 'no' that I'm never going back to there? No, I still might. The people there were very nice and there wasn't anything about them that I didn't like AT ALL. But I'm going to explore other meditation groups and see just which one I like best. And also yea a couple of them have been through (if I remember correctly) about 5 levels of training.

    The main reason I came to here to ask this question was just to see if it was normal for this kind of meditation, to have chanting like this. But it's good to hear all this.
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    Was the chant in English? It helps when you can understand what you're chanting. I was at a center for awhile that had "chants" (I'm not sure how that's defined). They were just prayers that were read aloud (not "chanted" exactly), dedications to the Buddha, basic stuff.
  • Yes it was in English. But they were chanting a little too fast for me to keep up and also be able to fully understand what was being chanted. Well these were definitely chants. It even said on the title of the book lol
  • ChazChaz The Remarkable Chaz Anywhere, Everywhere & Nowhere Veteran

    Yes it was in English. But they were chanting a little too fast for me to keep up and also be able to fully understand what was being chanted. Well these were definitely chants. It even said on the title of the book lol

    Chants can be hard to work with at first. In a group setting, everyone else is used to the liturgy and they'll plow right through it. Newcomers will naturally feel a bit intimidated by this. It's even more of a problem when chants are done in Tibetan. Fortunately, Shambhala does all their chants in English, as does my current sangha.

    In defense of the practice, speeding up recitation of liturgy is very common. The monastics I practice with are insanely fast in their recitation. Fortunately for me, lay people commonly lead meditation sessions and not the monastics.

    You will likely find a similar situation in any number for Buddhist groups you may encounter. It's one of those things you'll get used to it or you won't. In the case of Shambhala, they will often have a ante-room where you can wait until chants are finished. It's totally ok. Some people never get comfortable with chanting for one reason or another and will wait outside until chants are finished and then join in the meditation. They will also leave the meditation room before closing chants. You can do that if you wish. No one there will try to make you do something you're uncomfortable with.
  • So I went to the Katog Jampel Sungling meditation group yesterday, and it was GREAT! I felt so much more at ease, and instead of chanting about being a warrior and fighting ignorance, we were chanting about kindness and compassion for all beings. The community was just a TAD bit bigger but I enjoyed it A LOT more. I'm happy that I decided to go and give it a chance, because I had such a great time there! It's sort of like the meditation group I was going to in California, but with chanting. Can't wait for next week!
    Jeffreylobsterriverflow
  • ChazChaz The Remarkable Chaz Anywhere, Everywhere & Nowhere Veteran
    That's excellent! That's in Flagstaff? Nyingma?
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    I apologise - maybe I shouldn't even say this, but every time I see the thread title, I think this....

    But maybe now the OP is so much happier, perhaps it's appropriate!!
  • @Chaz yea it's in flagstaff and it's a nice little center in a safe area :) You know, I'm not sure if it's Nyingma or what, but I'm sure if I look into it a little bit, it'll tell me. All I know is there's a lot of names on their website that I can't pronounce lol

    @federica Actually I think that was absolutely acceptable. But their hair styles aren't :(
  • So I went to the Katog Jampel Sungling meditation group yesterday, and it was GREAT! I felt so much more at ease, and instead of chanting about being a warrior and fighting ignorance, we were chanting about kindness and compassion for all beings. The community was just a TAD bit bigger but I enjoyed it A LOT more. I'm happy that I decided to go and give it a chance, because I had such a great time there! It's sort of like the meditation group I was going to in California, but with chanting. Can't wait for next week!

    That's really cool. I started going to a Katog Choling center as well. I was told it was Nyingma.

    I still can't pronounce any of the Tibetan words but I've gotten to where I enjoy hearing others chant and sometimes I will join in when it is in English.

    ericcris10senlobsterkarmabluescaz
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    Chaz said:

    That's excellent! That's in Flagstaff? Nyingma?

    It's Nyingma. They teach Dzogchen. What caught my attention is that they have classes in literary Tibetan.

  • So I went to the Katog Jampel Sungling meditation group yesterday, and it was GREAT! I felt so much more at ease, and instead of chanting about being a warrior and fighting ignorance, we were chanting about kindness and compassion for all beings. The community was just a TAD bit bigger but I enjoyed it A LOT more. I'm happy that I decided to go and give it a chance, because I had such a great time there! It's sort of like the meditation group I was going to in California, but with chanting. Can't wait for next week!

    @ericcris10sen - this makes me really happy to hear when things *click* so perfectly like this. :)
    lobsterkarmablues
  • @rivercane oh cool! Some of the chants are very short (that are in Tibetan) so you can catch on REAL quick (even if you don't know what they mean lol). Not sure if you had that too lol

    @Dakini Yes most definitely! And the Teacher who travels the world is the one (if I'm not mistaken) that teaches it. I won't be around long enough (unless I get a permanent job here) to complete the language teachings, but if I'm allowed to, I'll stay as long as I can and learn as much as possible in that language.

    @riverflow I agree!
  • DakiniDakini Veteran


    @Dakini Yes most definitely! And the Teacher who travels the world is the one (if I'm not mistaken) that teaches it. I won't be around long enough (unless I get a permanent job here) to complete the language teachings, but if I'm allowed to, I'll stay as long as I can and learn as much as possible in that language.

    Literary Tibetan is really wild. It's a very archaic language, so there are a lot of idiomatic phrases no longer in current use, and a lot of dictionary work is needed to translate it. It's very different from the modern spoken language.

    So, you're not going to be around Flagstaff for very long? Is this just a temporary work assignment, or something?

  • Dakini said:

    Literary Tibetan is really wild. It's a very archaic language, so there are a lot of idiomatic phrases no longer in current use, and a lot of dictionary work is needed to translate it. It's very different from the modern spoken language.

    So, you're not going to be around Flagstaff for very long? Is this just a temporary work assignment, or something?

    Well yea I'm working here until December. If I get a chance to get a permanent position here, then I'll be staying. But if I don't, I'll probably have to look for more nps positions in different states/parks.
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