About Us

The Boulder Shambhala Center is part of Shambhala, an international community of more than 200 meditation centers and groups. The Shambhala Buddhist path, unique in the world of Western Buddhism, combines the teachings of the Kagyü and Nyingma traditions of Tibetan Buddhism with the Shambhala principles of living an uplifted life, fully engaged with the world.

Karma Dzong

From the time when Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche founded this center in 1970  through 1995, it was known as Karma Dzong. The Tibetan term dzong means “fortress.” Traditionally in Tibetan Buddhism, dzongs have been akin to state capitals or cathedrals in a diocese. They are located in key spots where power and energy gather.

Shambhala dzongs are places that introduce the world to Shambhala. Inside a dzong, one experiences a sacred and uplifted environment that allows the mind to open and relax. Through their activity, presence, and community of meditation practitioners, dzongs emanate the compassion, wisdom, and generosity of the Shambhala lineage out into the broader community.

From Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, a book derived from a series of talks given in Boulder in 1970 and 1971:

Question: Why did you name your center here Karma Dzong?

Chögyam Trungpa: Karma means “action” as well as “Buddha activity,” and Dzong is the Tibetan word for “fortress.” Situations just present themselves rather than being deliberately premeditated. They are perpetually developing, happening quite spontaneously. Also there seems to be a tremendous amount of energy at the center, which also could be said of karma. It is energy that is not being misled by anyone, energy which is in the fortress. What is happening definitely had to happen. It takes the shape of spontaneous karmic relationships rather than missionary work or the conversion of people into Buddhists.