Meet Our Members and Friends
The Shambhala Phoenix Meditation Center is part of an international community of 165 meditation centers founded by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and led by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche.
I became interested in meditation as an outgrowth of my yoga practice which I began
in 1999 so I am a relative newcomer to the Shambhala path. I have completed all of the
Shambhala Warrior levels and Sacred Path all which I did in Tucson as there was no center in Phoenix at that time. I think it was in 2003 that a group of us got together and organized our present Shambhala Phoenix Meditation Group. Helping the center become established and grow has been an integral part of my practice and although it has been frustrating at times the rewards have been enormous and I think the responsibilities that I’ve taken on have really helped me to sustain a home practice. I have also attended two programs at the Shambhala Mountain Center that were taught by the Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and found him to be very inspiring and funny. I have been planning to attend Warrior’s Assembly next year for about four years now!
I love the Shambhala Path because of its applicability to daily living and its emphasis on establishing an enlightened society now. I like to do things now! Meditation and yoga have completely changed my life, and yet my life is really still the same. Mostly I guess the two practices together have allowed me to give myself some breathing room in life – not to react so quickly to things, maybe not to react at all sometimes – and to just let things happen sometimes and to know when to act and sometimes at least, to act in a sane way.
I have been married to my husband Roger for 31 years. We have one son, Andy, who is presently a Junior at ASU. I am self-employed as a bookkeeper and also have been doing taxes the past two tax seasons. I am still trying to decide on a career, but I am more and more inclined to scrap the whole idea and just hang out until it’s time to retire. I try to do as much yoga as I can, I go hiking a few times a month, I like to read and garden, and I like camping, fishing and traveling. I spend a couple months in Wyoming in the summer.
For those who are new to the Shambhala Path – welcome! It is an adventure and a journey. It is not always that easy, but it has always proved worthwhile. I think it’s important not to take the whole things too seriously – that’s another thing I love about the path and the people involved – the wonderful sense of humor and lightness with which they approach things. It is also a good idea to get involved with the Sangha – it really can help connect you to your practice on a level you won’t reach home alone
Council Member & Web Master
I had been interested in meditation for over ten years but never really did much to address that desire to learn about it. In September 2006 I was in a very bad head on car accident which took me many many months to recover from and during that time I did a lot of thinking. I concluded that I needed to try and pursue some of those things that I had been interested in but "did not have the time for".
I never gave buddhism any thought or knew anything about it. However during my search on meditation I came across Shambhala Phoenix and contacted the center. They were very nice and invited me to come by on a Sunday morning or Wednesday eveing for free instruction and sitting. I emailed back and forth for a while inquiring about this "buddhist or Buddhism" thing. Finally I went to the center one Sunday in April 2007 and had a great time.
At first I found the buddhism piece not as important to me as the meditation more of a bonus; something that was interesting but I was not sure if it was for me or not. However within a few months of frequenting the center I embraced the path and started reading several of the books. Then in 2007 I participated in the Shambhala Level I program (I am now planning to do all 5 levels), volunteered to help the center with various things (mostly web based) which lead me to become a council member of the center. Being on the council I take on a lot of projects the main one being that I now manage our web page.
I have been married for more than 14 years and have two children. I work in pet products sales and live in Ahwatukee.
This is still all new to me but I am certainly enjoying the path and all those I meet at the center who help me along the way.
Meditation Instructor, Council Member, Backup Coordinator & Kasung
I began practicing meditation in 1979 at the Dharmadhatu (as the centers were called then) in Chicago. I attended a weekend of teachings given by Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche in 1980, sat a dathun (month long meditation practice) at Karme Choling, in Vermont, in the summer of 1983, and attended Vajradhatu Seminary, given by Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche in the winter of 1984.
After leaving Chicago in 1986, I attended programs at the Berkeley and San Francisco Dharmadhatus, and was a member of the Sonoma Shambhala Center during the time when Pema Chodron was giving the 6 week City Retreats every year in Northern California. My company moved me to Phoenix in 2003. For the first year of the most recent incarnation of the Phoenix Shambhala Meditation Group, we sat meditation on Sunday mornings at my house.
Although my training and interest were more oriented towards the Buddhist path, I began taking the Shambhala Training weekends in Tucson in 2005, and finished Sacred Path in 2007. During two years of attending the Shambhala Training programs, I began to experience the profundity of the Shambhala teachings, which are deceptively simple to hear, but life-changing to practice. My hope is to be able to present the entire series of Shambhala Training programs at our deceptively small center!
By profession, I work as a manager of computer programmers at an ocean carrier (yes, in the desert), and have worked at the same company for 20 years. I love living in Phoenix.
Meditation Instructor & Council Member
In May of 1977, I joined Seattle Dharma Study Group, as I was looking for classes in Tibetan Buddhism. This group was connected with Boulder Vajradhatu, and I had read one of Trungpa Rinpoche's books and was surprised this was part of his group.
I received information from Naropa Institute through our local Seattle representative, and was very interested in the MA Buddhist and Western Psychology program, moving to Boulder in 1978, graduating from Naropa in 1979. I attended the 1982 Seminary in Pennsylvania, getting transmission for Vajrayana practices.
During the time of my studies at Naropa, I received Refuge and later Bodhisattva vows from Trungpa Rinpoche. I started taking Shambhala Training in 1979, and progressing through the various Shambhala Training levels, attended the Rigden Abhiseka with the Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche in 2006 in Nova Scotia.
My training during those years was in Vajrayana Buddhism, taking various abhisekas, lots of practice and retreats included. After Trungpa Rinpoche's Paranirvana, we were offered teaching at Karma Choling with Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche on a yearly basis, surveying the Nine Yanas with this great Teacher.
I am a student of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, and of the Khenpo Rinpoche, always being a student of my Root Guru, Trungpa Rinpoche. In
Vancouver, BC, I received training as a certified Meditation Instructor since about 1990. At Seattle, I took training for Assistant Director for Shambhala Training, also around 1990. Over the years I have staffed brief residencies at SMC and KCL.
Currently retired I volunteer for Disaster events with Red Cross around the USA and am dedicated to the Shambhala Phoenix Center. I also volunteer as an Assistant Director to our Shambhala Training programs.
Hi my name is Steve. Could be a mid-timer (not an old timer compared to Muffie, Julie, Frank, and Joe F.), but came before people like younger Joe. I found the shrine through meetup.com. I joined because it was at an easy location to get to and had a new form of fitness for me... exercising the mind.
Before, I was the meat and potatoes guy. Work out with weight and toned down with cardio. That works the red meat, but when I felt that the mind was a completely different part of the body, I wanted to try meditating. Sure enough, it was a workout. With mental concentration replacing physical, I got tired just like after working out at the gym! When we performed Lujong, I felt these stretching exercises were a brand new experience just like standard meditation was!
Frank, through Shambhala, did teach me something: "You got to be true to yourself." And I am by attending a cooking class as well. This means I am not the most active member, but I'm glad people still remember me. This may not be what Frank expected directly for me to say in regards to being true to oneself, but I attend meditation when I can.
I currently work in a vitamin plant and am glad to associate that mental fitness is just a powerful as physical. It's just a different part of the body.
I became interested in Buddhism and meditation after visiting a conference in Sedona and meeting a Buddhist therapist. The therapist’s peace and serenity intrigued me and I began to read more about Buddhism. Over the past decade, I have read numerous secondary and primary texts about the philosophical underpinnings of Buddhism as well as its relationship to therapy. I began meditating in the 1990’s, slowly and intermittently until over the past several years I began to meditate by myself on a regular basis. Having read of the importance of sangha, I ultimately joined three different mediation groups, of which Phoenix Shambhala is one. I find the Shambhala Center a welcome sounding board to share ideas about meditation practice and Buddhist principles in a non-judgmental setting, with group sittings re-enforcing my mediation practice. I have combined my meditation with both yoga and tai chi practice and continued to read on Buddhist thought. In 2009, I completed Level I training.
I grew up on the East Coast, attending college and law school in Virginia and Connecticut. I moved to Hawaii to practice law in 1975, where I stayed approximately three years. In a moment of youthful ignorance, I left Hawaii and moved back to Virginia. In 1982, I moved to Arizona and have stayed put. I am married to a psychologist, my stepson is a rabbi in New Jersey and I am a proud grandfather of Ari, a real dude.