Anyone ever heard of Shambhala?
Someone I know recommended their weekend courses in meditation. He's done loads of courses and said that this was a great starter course. I looked at their website http://dublin.shambhala.ie/index1000.html. And they seem to be very well organised.
I hadn't heard about them before and was just wondering if anyone had any experience with them.
Have indeed, following is a short outline. Have never met anyone who is a member, and have never encountered it here in Asia. Have to admit I am more than a little sceptical of it, its too secret for my liking. Buddhism in general was expounded so that ordinary common mortals could attain enlightenment. I did not have higher secrets, or higher levels of individuals. It was all freely written down for all to read. Having said that, and bearing in mind we should always keep an open mind, check it out and let us know what you think. Anything that teaches one methods of meditation and peace cannot be all bad.
I was going to do a kinda introductory shambhala meditation course, should I not, then?
Of course you should check it out, please remember that it has taken me 20 years to find my path, your path could be very different. For me, every day I have prayers. chanting, meditation. Lectures every week. All this has of course set me very solidly in what I believe. As far as I am concerned, anything that helps us learn is good, anything that starts to impose human restrictions is bad. There is no room in Buddhism for secrecy. Meditation is probably the most important action we can carry out. Also as we know, when the student is ready the master will appear. Buddhists do not fight among themselves as to who's school is right and who is wrong. Buddhism is a life of self-awareness. My level will be different from you since as you pointed out I have been at it as long as you have been alive For all we know, Shambala maybe the one that strikes home with you. What makes you happy, makes me happy. What matters is that you learn, and you decide what is correct for you. The only point I have to make again is that anything that starts to impose human restrictions or expects others to completely agree with some high-priest or monks opinions because of his title is headed for trouble. The Buddha was a prince, he gave up all titles. He was a man who found enlightenment through his own efforts, it will be the same for you, for all of us. Humankind is notorious for embellishing things for all the wrong reasons. An open mind is all that is required. My old adage has not failed me in 20 years:
It if it does not feel right strait out, it is not right for me. One can recognize the truth instantly,
Do let me know how it goes, I am eager to learn from others.
It's worth checking out the courses conducted at www.dzogchenbeara.org it's in South West Cork. I went to see Ringu Tulku Rinpoche give a three day talk on Fear and Anger last year. He is a Tibetan Buddhist Master of the Kagyu order. He is coming again in May, I hope, as his father passed away recently, and that may affect his plans. I found the teaching very easy, very open. I feel no scepticism towards it at all. The details of his talk this year has not been confirmed, but, it will more than likely be accesible(intellectually) to all.
It's also a great place to meditate, and take time out for yourself. More details on http://www.dzogchenbeara.org/