Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche is the head of Shambhala, a global network of meditation and retreat centers grounded in the inherent goodness of humanity. The Sakyong, literally translated as “earth protector,” is a dharma king and lineage holder of the Shambhala lineage, guiding thousands of students around the world in the path of meditation. With a unique blend of Eastern and Western perspectives, he teaches meditation and social transformation while also guiding a number of humanitarian projects. Born in Bodhgaya, India, in 1962, the Sakyong is the eldest son of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. As a young man, the Sakyong studied with the great Tibetan masters: His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and His Holiness Penor Rinpoche. He is married to Khandro Tseyang Palmo and has two children. In 2006 the Sakyong initiated the Compassionate Leadership conference and dialogues by presenting His Holiness Dalai Lama with the Living Peace Award; awarded to living examples of people who benefit humanity. The Sakyong has written many books including the national bestseller Turning the Mind into an Ally, award winning Ruling Your World, and Running with the Mind of Meditation. He is also an avid poet, artist, and athlete. The Sakyong’s new book, The Shambhala Principle, was released on May 7th, 2013.
Sakyong Mipham leads programs and retreats at Shambhala Centers throughout North America and Europe. He oversees the development of the Shambhala community and works closely with its senior teachers and leaders. In 2001 Sakyong Mipham visited Tibet for the first time. Here he was greeted by thousands of people as the Sakyong and the rebirth of Mipham, returning to the place that his father had left in 1959. Choseng Trungpa, the Twelfth Trungpa Tulku, along with the other tulkus and leaders of Surmang, asked him to assume stewardship of the Surmang monasteries and their people. While in Tibet he was also asked to assume responsibility for Weyen monastery, the Gesar orphanage, and the Mipham Institute in Golok, and Khamput Monastery in Kham; his support for all of these is now directed through the Kunchok Foundation.
In 2004 he returned to India to meet for the first time with KarmapaOgyen Trinley Dorje, and also journeyed back to Tibet to visit the monasteries under his care.
The Sakyong travels extensively, teaching throughout the world.
The Sakyong holds and propagates the teachings of Shambhala, an enlightened society. This tradition emphasizes confidence in the basic goodness of all beings and teaches courageous rulership based on wisdom and compassion. The term "Sakyong" literally means "earth-protector" in Tibetan, although it is colloquially understood to mean "king". Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche is regarded as a chögyal (Sanskritdharmaraja) – "king of truth" – who combines the spiritual and worldly paths. The first Dharmaraja of Shambhala, Dawa Sangpo, was said to have been empowered directly by the Buddha. The Sakyong is the earthly embodiment or emanation of the Rigden — enlightened awareness — and in this sense he is a tulku (Tibetan), or nirmanakaya (Sanskrit) of the Rigden.
Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche is regarded as the first in this lineage of Sakyongs, and as such he is referred to as the "Druk Sakyong", or "Dragon Earth-Protector". In 1978, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche performed a ceremony officially confirming Ösel Rangdröl as his Shambhala heir and the future Sakyong.[verification needed]