THE SHAMBHALA MANDALA –
A Partnership Model
Paper for the Shamhala Congress prepared by Alex Halpern
What we are doing here is not trying to get together set patterns and ideas,
ideologies or theologies, We are not trying to develop a set idea of what a
mandala is or isn’t. We are more trying to relate to what a mandala might be or
could be. There is no dogma involved at this point at all. It is more a question of
developing a working basis for working together.
-- Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, Orderly Chaos, 1972.
There is a broad need within the Shambhala Mandala to take a fresh look at the
structures and relationships of governance in our society. This need has been expressed
by the leaders of major Shambhala Centers, has been articulated by the President and the
Board of Shambhala International, and reflects the direction given in the Sakyong’s
Treatise on Society and Organization. We are called upon to develop a new set of
mandala-wide understandings that reflect the opportunities of our present stage of
development and preserve the spiritual vision of the Druk Sakyong and Sakyong Mipham
Rinpoche. This document is offered as a starting point for that discussion. We hope it
will be a living document whose final shape will be defined in consultation with the
leadership of the mandala over the coming months.
We begin by affirming two defining truths concerning the structure of the
The Sakyong Is the Center of the Mandala
The Shambhala Mandala manifests through the agency of the heavenly-appointed
Sakyong, “he who joins heaven and earth.” The entire mandala has a single, definite,
indisputable center on which it depends and from which it emanates. The Sakyong’s
most immediate extension is the Kalapa Court.
The Sakyong is the source of the forms, practices, and activities that are
Shambhala and make it recognizable. The entire mandala is permeated by the power of
the Sakyong. In that context, such notions as mandala, hierarchy, and loyalty enter our
discourse and give content