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Dharma demands that we take proper responsibility…

Dharma demands that we take proper responsibility.  There has to be proper respect and a real proper place provided where the dharma can be taught.  These are the words of Chogyam Trungpa.   In the 1970’s, Trungpa Rinpoche began giving teachings, inspired by his vision of the legendary Kingdom of Shambhala, that focused on using mindfulness/awareness meditation as a means of connecting with one’s basic sanity and using that insight as inspiration for one’s encounter with the world.

He formed a group, called the Dorje Kasung that had the mission of creating an appropriate environment for the transmission of Shambhala teachings.  Rinpoche gave the group specific teachings, later captured in the book, True Command, training the students of Shambhala to provide a gentle and uplifted presence at teaching events, providing security services, driving, and personal assistance to teachers, working with any issues of conflict, or health that arose in the community.

The training and model for the group was based (and currently still is) on military forms, such as hierarchy, uniforms, and drill.  The purpose of utilizing the military format is not to propagate war, rather to take advantage of the discipline and energy of military forms to embody and communicate compassion.

“The reason we have a military at all is because we want to keep the dharma so pure and so good.” ~ Trungpa Rinpoche

Rinpoche told his students of the Dorje Kasung that it was their job to inspire the attitude to practice dharma properly.  He taught that it was not the job of the Kasung to merely provide high class service to visiting teachers to the various centers, but that their job was much more than to be of ordinary service.  Indeed, their job was / is to make sure that the teachers can extend further, so that they can have a completely expansive vision.  When the Dorje Kasung has done its job, then the teacher can actually project the whole vision of the teaching.   So, it is a big job to create the atmosphere for the teachings to be presented.  Trungpa believed that the dharma could not be properly taught without this group to create a proper atmosphere.

The practice of the Dorje Kasung is founded on the Mahayana Buddhist principle of compassionate action, and inspired by the vajaryana emphasis on working directly with the energy of neurosis and transforming it into wisdom.  Thus, by engaging directly with military forms students aspire to fulfill the vision expressed in the meaning behind the Dorje Kasung, which literally means, “Indestructible Protectors of the Body of the Dharma.”

Certain Shambhala practices derive from specific terma texts of Trungpa Rinpoche, and it is believed by his students that Trungpa received these teachings  directly from Gesar of Ling, the fearless lord of the legendary kingdom of Ling and emanation of Padmasambhava.  Their terma status was confirmed by the Nyingma master His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, a Vajrayana master, scholar, poet, teacher and head of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism from 1987 to 1991.  His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche passed in September of 1991.

Trungpa Rinpoche was a buddhist master and holder of both the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages, and originator of a radical representation of the Shambhala vision.  He was recognized by Tibetan Buddhists  as a preeminent teacher of Tibetan Buddhism, and major figure in the dissemination of the teachings of the Buddha in the West.

Further, Trungpa Rinpoche was regarded as a mahasiddha by many senior lamas, embodying the crazy wisdom tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.  He continues to be revered for his work, and devotion to the teachings of the Buddha and the Shambhala vision.





True Command: Teachings of the Dorje Kasung, Chogyam Trungpa. Trident Publications, 2005.

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