Chögyam Trungpa (1940–1987)—meditation master, teacher, and artist—founded Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, the first Buddhist-inspired university in North America; the Shambhala Training program; and an international association of meditation centers known as Shambhala International. He is the author of numerous books including Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, and The Myth of Freedom.
Pema Chödrön is an American Buddhist nun in the lineage of Chögyam Trungpa. She is resident teacher at Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia, the first Tibetan monastery in North America established for Westerners. She is also the author of many books and audiobooks, including the best-selling When Things Fall Apart and Don’t Bite the Hook.
Diana Mukpo married Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche on January 3, 1970, and lived and traveled with him until his death in 1987. She is the author of Dragon Thunder: My Life with Chögyam Trungpa. Since Rinpoche’s death, she has taught throughout the Shambhala mandala, presenting both her personal experiences with Trungpa Rinpoche as well as sharing her knowledge of the Shambhala and Buddhist teachings. She also has a lifelong passion for horsemanship, and continues to train and compete dressage horses at the international level and to teach the discipline of dressage to many students.
Dale Asrael became a student of Trungpa Rinpoche in 1973, and has trained in both the Tibetan Buddhist and Zen traditions. She teaches programs, and leads meditation retreats internationally, and is an authorized teacher of traditional Daoist Qigong. She is a Professor at Naropa University, where she founded and leads the Naropa Mindfulness Instructor Training, a year-long program. Her writing is published in three anthologies: “Love of Wisdom Puts You on the Spot” in Meditation in the Classroom; “No Hidden Corners” in Shadows and Light; and “Compassionate Abiding” in Brilliant Sanity.
Sarah Coleman has been a student of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche since 1972. She served as Trungpa Rinpoche’s senior editor for many years. Sarah has been teaching Buddhism and Shambhala Training for over 35 years. She brings a wealth of knowledge to retreats which is based on the tireless application of the essence of Trungpa Rinpoche’s oral instructions and empowerments to myriad relationships.
June Crow began her study and practice of Buddhism in 1968 when she met Suzuki Roshi, an Abbot of the Soto Zen School of Japanese Buddhism. During an intensive meditation training session at Tassajara Zen Mountain Centre, she met Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche of the Tibetan Kagyu and Nyingma Lineage and became his student and a meditation instructor and teacher of the Buddhadharma. She has also studied with Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, and more recently with Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche.
Ashley Dinges is a meditation teacher and practitioner in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage and is a student of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and Ani Pema Chödrön. She is based in Brooklyn, NYC and is an award-winning marketing and communications executive. Ashley currently serves as the Director of Marketing and Sales for GFour Productions, a Tony Award-winning theatrical producer, and is a co-founder of OVERTURE+ streaming platform. She holds an MBA from the NYU Stern School of Business and co-founded the Weekly Dharma Gathering online platform, where teachers from many lineages explore dharma in relation to issues of race, gender, identity, and living meaningfully in a challenging world.
Lodrö Dorje Holm became a student of Trungpa Rinpoche in 1971. In 1976 he was appointed Loppon of Three Yana studies, with responsibilities for meditation instructors, curriculum, and tantra students. He attended every seminary conducted by the Vidyadhara, first as a teacher, then as a translator, and also to assist with the entry of new vajrayana students. Over the years, he also continued his study and practice with other lineage masters, especially Thrangu Rinpoche, Khenpo Tsultim Gyatso Rinpoche and Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche. He lives in Halifax with his wife Donna; they have one son and two grandsons.
Gaylon Ferguson, PhD, taught Interdisciplinary and Religious Studies for 15 years at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. (He was recently granted early release for good behavior.) He has led group meditation retreats since 1976; thus far, not a single participant in these retreats has attained complete, solid egohood. He is the author of two books: Natural Wakefulness, on the four foundations of mindfulness as taught by Trungpa Rinpoche, and Natural Bravery, on the sacred path of fear and fearlessness.
Arawana Hayashi first saw Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in the summer of 1974 when her improvisational dance company auspiciously toured through Boulder. She did not remember anything he said, but she had never seen anyone move through the space as he did. That inspired her to stop and sit down on a cushion. She began teaching Shambhala Training in 1982, and has co-directed eight Warrior Assemblies. Since 2002 she has taught meditation and creative process at ALIA (formerly the Shambhala Institute for Authentic Leadership). Since 2004 she has been teaching innovative leadership workshops with social researcher Otto Scharmer, and is a founding member of the Presencing Institute. She currently is creating Social Presencing Theater as a Presencing Institute initiative, which applies Shambhala Art to organizational and social change projects.
Marty Janowitz has been a student-practitioner of meditation and Buddhism since encountering his teacher Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche at the age of 20 in 1970. Central to his practice and learning has been action towards sustainable and environmentally healthy communities expressing the heart of awareness. He has been involved in this movement for 30+ years as an activist, volunteer and consultant in Canada and internationally, most recently focused on sustainable communities and interfaith action on our climate crisis. Marty lives with his wife Susanna in central Mexico, where he teaches and trains and practices as an executive and life coach, drawing on all the intertwined dimensions of his life experience.
Derek Kolleeny began the practice and study of Buddhism in 1976 under the guidance of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and later continued it with other leading dharma teachers, primarily Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche and Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche. He was a member of the Nalanda Translation Committee, and has held a variety of dharma leadership positions. He is founder and co-leader of the Westchester Buddhist Center, which is dedicated to the tradition of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.
Chuck Lief was named the 7th president of Naropa University in 2012 after a deep forty-year affiliation with Naropa—first as a student of Naropa’s founder, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Prior to assuming his current role, Chuck led some of the country’s most innovative and successful organizations providing integrated social enterprises and social services, including the Greyston Foundation and Amida Care, which together provided essential housing, health care, and employment to thousands of low-income people in the Northeast.
Larry Mermelstein became a close student of the Venerable Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1971. He has served as a senior teacher in the Vajradhatu/Shambhala community for decades, as well as being a member of the board of directors for some twenty years, now long ago. He is a founding member and the executive director of the Nalanda Translation Committee for over forty-five years and is a long-time consulting editor to Shambhala Publications.
Tillie Perks was raised in a Buddhist community in Canada and has been a practitioner for over twenty years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a master’s degree in Buddhist studies, with a focus on the English poetry of Chögyam Trungpa. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist traditions at McGill University, in Montreal, Quebec. Her research is focused on Buddhism in the modern era. She works for the Chögyam Trungpa Transcription Project, which aims to transcribe all of Chögyam Trungpa’s recorded audio and video materials and she is presently serving on the board of the Nalanda Foundation.
Lila Rich is the wife of Thomas Rich, the Vajra Regent Ösel Tendzin. A student of the Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche since 1970, she and the Vajra Regent received their refuge and bodhisattva vows at Karmê Chöling (then Tail of the Tiger). She was appointed the first executive director for the newly founded Shambhala Training Program in 1979, and continued in her role through 1989. She was instrumental in the initial curriculum development, teaching and teacher training for all the levels of Shambhala Training. She is the founder and president of the Vajra Regent Ösel Tendzin Library and Archives.
Alan Schwartz was among the first students of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in the United States, and has been a student of Tibetan and Shambhala Buddhist teachings for over 35 years. A serial entrepreneur, he has founded four innovative and successful restaurant and entertainment businesses, a software firm, and created an award-winning software product.
Judith Simmer-Brown, PhD, is Distinguished Professor Emeritx of Contemplative and Religious Studies at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, where she has taught since 1978. A Buddhist practitioner since the early 1970s, she became a student of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1974. Her teaching specialties are meditation practice, Shambhala teachings, Buddhist philosophy, tantric Buddhism, and contemplative higher education. Her book, Dakini’s Warm Breath (Shambhala, 2001), explores the feminine principle as it reveals itself in meditation practice and everyday life for women and men. She has also edited Meditation and the Classroom: Contemplative Pedagogy for Religious Studies (SUNY 2011). She and her husband, Richard, have two adult children and three grandchildren.
Regina Smith is known for her magical creativity, intellectual clarity, and mission-centered collaborative leadership. As an equity-informed coach, she is passionate about supporting leaders in navigating complex power dynamics with heart, and as a consultant and trainer, she brings radical honesty and expertise in mindfulness to helping organizations create inclusive cultures for the greater good. A life-long student of humility, she is the student of her beautiful and brilliant five-year-old son, Zen. She currently serves Naropa University as Vice President for Mission, Culture, and Inclusive Community and is the Queen Dreamer at the Center for Radical Connection.
Anne Waldman is a poet, performer, professor, literary curator, political and cultural activist and a founder of both The Poetry Project at St Mark’s Church In-the-Bowery in NYC and Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School in Boulder, Colorado. She has been called a “counter-cultural giant” by Publisher’s Weekly and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. Other awards include the Shelley prize, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She is a former chancellor of The Academy of American Poets. Her recent books and projects include Trickster Feminism (Penguin, 2018) and Songs of the Sons & Daughters of Buddha: Poems from the Theragatha and Therigatha (Shambhala, 2020). She works with an artist/activist coalition in Mexico City called Rizoma.