Understanding Our Shrines - A Fresh Look [HYBRID]

with Charlie Trageser, James Wilton, Austin Seeley

July 13th

Date details +
    Room: Main Meditation Hall

    The shrines in the Shambhala tradition serve many purposes - they are reminders of our own wakeful minds, they have symbolic meaning and importance, they focus the meditators’ minds, and they invoke and bring down the awakened energy of dralas and the lineage.


    This afternoon program will explore the history and symbolism of the shrines at our center:  Why do we have a shrine in the first place?  Are they shrines to somebody or something outside us?  What does all the symbolism mean?  Where did our traditions and teachings come from?


    The program will include presentations on the history and development of our shrines, as well as a short survey of shrines from other Shambhala centers and other Western Buddhist communities. There will be a presentation of the Three Lineages - Kagyu, Nyingma and Shambhala - from which we draw our authenticity and inspiration. The rituals of opening and closing shrines, caring for them, meditating in front of them are powerful ways to bring down the blessings of lineage.


    This program is meant for all community members - whether old or new.  For newer members this can be an AMA session - an antidote to the feeling that asking questions is not allowed.  For older members it is an opportunity to take a fresh look, as we consider who we are as a community and a place of learning and practice.


    Our shrines were first designed by Chögyam Trungpa, in the 1970s, as separate Buddhist and Shambhala shrines. In 2000, they were updated and changed to reflect Sakyong Mipham’s emphasis on Shambhala, with the central deity being the Primordial Rigden. For many of our community members, our current main shrine room shrine is the only shrine they have ever known.


    This program will be hybrid - offered both in-person, and broadcast live via Zoom. The recording, or exceprts of the recording, may be shared in future programs.

    This program is offered as a dana-inspired program. Please offer if you can.

    This is the first part of a three part initiative from the Board to take a fresh approach to how we express our community, symbolically and through iconography.  This first part of this initiative is meant to provide context and background only - any potential changes to our shrines will be contemplated later.


    Jim Wilton is an urban yogi, a retired lawyer, and long time practitioner in the Kagyu / Nyingma and Shambhala lineages.   He is inspired by the example of the great wandering yogis of Tibet, including his teacher, Chögyam Trungpa, who wandered across the Himalayas, to England, and to the mountains of Vermont and Colorado, and to the shores of Nova Scotia.

    Charlie Trageser has been a long time student and teacher in the Boston Shambhala community.  He is known for his friendly and Mahayana-inspired approach to working with students.

    Austin Seeley began practicing meditation and took refuge vows while studying in Thailand in 2009. They have been a part of the Shambhala community since 2016. Austin studies Sogetsu Ikebana as a core part of their path and coordinates Ikebana at the Boston Center. Austin is also a social worker and psychotherapist in private practice. Working primarily with LGBTQ individuals, their clinical approach is centered on the inherent dignity and worth of individuals and utilizes empowerment focused techniques.



    Registration Please register with an email you check regularly. If our registrations system does not have a current email for you, you will miss important information about the program.

    You should receive the first confirmation email within within 24 hours of registration. You should receive a second confirmation email with more program details approximately 1 week before the program begins. Sometimes emails may end up in your promotions, spam or junk folder. It’s also possible that you’ve unsubscribed from emails from Shambhala, which prevents you from receiving the necessary emails. If you don't receive the first email, please contact [email protected].

    Price Please see our pricing policy page for information about tiered pricing, MyPrice, cancellations and more. 

    Payment: We use Paypal to process payments. You can choose to pay through a paypal account (if you have one) or with a credit or debit card. Unfortunately Paypal sometimes disables guest checkout "based on several risk factors" and will prompt you to create an account. If you run into this issue, please email [email protected] to let us know. We hope to find a better solution soon.

    In-person participation: Masking is now optional at in-person programs. We ask you to limit the use of scented products, as many people have chemical sensitivities. Note that our building is not wheelchair accessible.

    Zoom participation As with any contemplative practice, your environment impacts your experience. For those wishing to join virtually, we strongly suggest you find a space to join the program that is relatively quiet and free of distractions. Zoom meeting info will be provided to registrants approximately 1 week before the program starts.

    FAQ Common questions might be answered on our FAQ page.