Sakyong Mipham

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Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche
Sakyong, book signing.jpg
Ösel Rangdrol Mukpo

November 15, 1962
ReligionKagyü and Nyingma
NationalityTibetan and American
SpouseKhandro Tseyang Ripa Mukpo
SchoolShambhala Buddhist
LineageChogyam Trungpa
Senior posting
ReincarnationMipham the Great
Sakyong Mipham
Tibetan name
Tibetan ས་སྐྱོང་མི་ཕམ་

Sakyong Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche, Jampal Trinley Dradul (born Ösel Rangdrol Mukpo on November 15, 1962) is the head of the Shambhala lineage and Shambhala, a worldwide network of urban Buddhist meditation centers, retreat centers, monasteries, a university, and other enterprises, founded by his father, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche is a high lama in the Nyingma lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. In July 2018, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche stated that he is stepping back from his duties due to an investigation into his alleged sexual misconduct.[1]


Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche was born Ösel Rangdröl Mukpo in Bodhgaya, India in November 1962.[2]:157 His father, Chögyam Trungpa, was a Buddhist monk who had left Tibet in 1959 at the head of a large party of refugees. His mother, Könchok Paldrön, was a nun. The two had met during the journey from Tibet to India. Chögyam Trungpa left India in early 1963 to study at Oxford University, and their son spent his early years with his mother in a Tibetan refugee village in northwest India.[3]:72 At the age of seven, he went to live with his father at Samye Ling in Scotland. Chögyam Trungpa moved to the United States in 1970, and Ösel Mukpo joined him there two years later.[2]:157[3]:120 In 1979, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche performed a ceremony officially investing his son Ösel Rangdröl with the title of Sawang ("earth lord"). This confirmed Ösel as his Shambhala heir and the future Sakyong.[2]:204 After his father's death in 1987, the Sawang moved to Nepal and studied with Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche for three years, while Osel Tendzin, the Vajra Regent, succeeded Trungpa Rinpoche as Buddhist lineage holder and head of the various organizations established by Trungpa, including Vajradhatu, Shambhala Training, and Naropa University.[2]:406 When Tendzin died in 1990, the Sawang was acknowledged as Trungpa's successor in the Kagyu, Nyingma and Shambhala lineages and head of the organizations.[2]:410–411 In May 1995 the Sawang Ösel Rangdröl Mukpo was formally enthroned as Sakyong at a ceremony performed by Penor Rinpoche. After the enthronement, Penor Rinpoche recognized the Sawang as the tulku of Mipham the Great.[2]:413

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche is the head of the Shambhala organization, a global network of meditation and retreat centers grounded in the inherent goodness of humanity. The Sakyong (Tibetan: ས་སྐྱོང་, Wylie: sa skyong; a compound word consisting of sa, "earth," and skyong, "to protect," that translates as "king," "emperor," or "governor")[4] 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.[5] In 2006 the Sakyong initiated the Compassionate Leadership conference and dialogues by presenting the Dalai Lama with the Living Peace Award; awarded to living examples of people who benefit humanity. The Sakyong has written several books, including the national bestseller Turning the Mind into an Ally, award winning Ruling Your World, Running with the Mind of Meditation, and The Shambhala Principle. He is also an avid poet, artist, and athlete. The Sakyong’s most recent book, The Lost Art of Conversation, was released in October 2017.

Allegations of sexual assault[edit]

In February 2018, Buddhist Project Sunshine, an organization founded as a survivors' network for former Shambhala members,[6] reported multiple allegations of sexual assault within the Shambala community.[7][8] In June 2018, Buddhist Project Sunshine issued a second report detailing sexual misconduct by Sakyong Mipham that occurred as recent as 2011 and claimed that those within Shambhala International had concealed the misdeeds.[9][8] In response, Sakyong Mipham stepped aside from his leadership role and the Shambhala governing council resigned.[1][10] Sakyong Mipham also issued a statement saying that "...that some of these women have shared experiences of feeling harmed as a result of these relationships. I am now making a public apology."[11] In July 2018, Naropa Institute removed him from their board following the allegations of sexual misconduct.[12]

In August 2018, Buddhist Project Sunshine released another report containing further allegations against Sakyong Mipham that included sexual encounters with minors,[13][14] a charge that Shambhala International has denied.[15] In December 2018, the Larimer County, Colorado Sheriff’s Office opened an investigation of the allegations of sexual assault.[16][17] In February 2019, Shambhala International's interim governing council issued a report by Wickwire Holm, a Canadian law firm, that detailed two credible allegations of sexual assault against Sakyong Mipham.[18][19][20] Later that month, six members of his Dorje Kasung (body protectors) wrote an open letter corroborating his physical and sexual assaults upon others.[21][22] Sakyong Mipham subsequently stated that he will cease teaching for the "foreseeable future."[23]

Dharma activity[edit]

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 Konchok Foundation.

In 2004 he returned to India to meet for the first time with Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, and also journeyed back to Tibet to visit the monasteries under his care.

The Sakyong travels extensively, teaching throughout the world.

Lineage of Sakyongs[edit]

The Sakyong holds and propagates the teachings of Shambhala, an enlightened society that is either legendary or historical. 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 (Sanskrit dharmaraja) – "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".

Sakyong Mipham's wife Khandro Tseyang. (Credits)

Sakyong Wangmo and family[edit]

The consort of the Sakyong is referred to as the Sakyong Wangmo. The first Sakyong Wangmo was Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche's wife, Diana Mukpo. The current Sakyong Wangmo is Sakyong Mipham's wife Khandro Tseyang Ripa Mukpo, the daughter of Terton Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche. The Sakyong and Sakyong Wangmo were married on 10 June 2006 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.[24] Khandro Tseyang was officially empowered as Sakyong Wangmo by Penor Rinpoche at a ceremony in Halifax in August 2008.[25] The Sakyong and Sakyong Wangmo have three daughters. The first, Drukmo Yeshe Sarasvati Ziji Mukpo (Lady Dragon Wisdom), was born on 11 August 2010. The second, Jetsun Yudra Lhamo Yangchen Ziji Mukpo, was born in March 2013.[26] The third, Dzedrön Ökar Yangchen Ziji Mukpo, was born on 10 April 2015.[27]



  • The Lost Art of Good Conversation, Harmony Books, 2017, ISBN 9780451499431
  • The Shambhala Principle: Discovering Humanity's Hidden Treasure, Harmony Books, 2013, ISBN 0770437435
  • Running with the Mind of Meditation: Lessons for Training Body and Mind, Harmony Books, 2012, ISBN 0307888169
  • Ruling Your World: Ancient Strategies for Modern Life, Morgan Road Books, 2005, ISBN 0-7679-2065-1
  • Turning the Mind into an Ally, Riverhead Books, 2004, ISBN 1-57322-345-X


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Bundale, Brett (July 9, 2018). "Shambhala leader steps aside amid sexual misconduct allegations". CBC News.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Hayward, Jeremy (2008). Warrior-King of Shambhala: Remembering Chögyam Trungpa. Boston: Wisdom Publications. ISBN 0-86171-546-2.
  3. ^ a b Mukpo, Diana J. (2006). Dragon Thunder: My Life with Chögyam Trungpa. Boston: Shambhala Publications. ISBN 1-59030-256-7.
  4. ^ Rangjung Yeshe Wiki. "Dictionary Entry: sa skyong". Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  5. ^ "The Sakyong Foundation". Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  6. ^ "Buddhist Project Sunshine". Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  7. ^ Winn, Andrea M. "Project Sunshine: Final Report, February 27, 2017 –February 15, 2018" (PDF). Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  8. ^ a b "The 'King' of Shambhala Buddhism Is Undone by Abuse Report". The New York Times. 2018-07-11. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  9. ^ Winn, Andrea M. (2018-06-28). "Buddhist Project Sunshine Phase 2 Final Report" (PDF). et al. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  10. ^ O'Connor, Kevin (2018-10-08). "Vermont Buddhists face their own MeToo moment". VTDigger. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  11. ^ Biddlecombe, Wendy Joan (28 June 2018). "Shambhala head Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche accused of sexual abuse in new report". Tricycle. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
  12. ^ "Boulder's Naropa University removes Shambhala International leader from its board". Boulder Daily Camera. 2018-07-06. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  13. ^ Winn, Andrea M.; Merchasin, Carol (2018-08-23). "Buddhist Project Sunshine Phase 3 Final Report; The nail: Bringing things to a clear point" (PDF). Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  14. ^ Agsar, Wendy Joan Biddlecombe (2018-08-23). "Report Reveals New Sexual Assault Allegations Against Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche". Tricycle: The Buddhist Review. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  15. ^ Bundale, Brett (2018-08-23). "Buddhist leader accused of sexual misconduct denies new allegations". CBC. CBC News. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  16. ^ Eaton, Joshua (2018-12-09). "Colorado police investigating alleged sexual assaults by Buddhist leaders". ThinkProgress. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  17. ^ Barnett, Jackson (2018-12-12). "Larimer County sheriff investigating "possible criminal activity" at Shambhala Mountain Center". The Denver Post. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  18. ^ Shambhala Interim Board (2019-02-03). "Report to the Community on the Wickwire Holm Claims Investigation into Allegations of Sexual Misconduct" (PDF). Shambhala. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  19. ^ Barnett, Jackson (2019-02-03). "Shambhala report details sexual misconduct from Buddhist leader Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche". The Denver Post. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  20. ^ Bundale, Brett (2019-02-04). "Report finds 'sexual misconduct' by leader of Buddhist group". CBC. CBC News. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  21. ^ "Long-Serving Kusung" (2019-02-16). "An Open Letter to the Shambhala Community". Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  22. ^ Bousquet, Tim (2019-02-19). Mipham Mukpo "Six former members of the Shambhala inner circle write an open letter detailing physical, sexual, and psychological abuse at the hands of Mipham Mukpo" Check |url= value (help). Halifax Examiner. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  23. ^ "Shambhala Buddhist leader drops teaching in wake of report on sexual misconduct". Estevan Mercury. 2019-02-21. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  24. ^ Armstrong, Jane (3 June 2006). "Heaven and Halifax at Buddhist "royal wedding"". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  25. ^ Bodley, Laurie (Winter 2008–2009). "The Sakyong Wangmo empowerment" (PDF). The Dot. 6 (3): 1, 6–7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 April 2013. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  26. ^ Brooks Arenburg, Patricia (13 March 2013). "Halifax's Shambhala royal family welcomes second child". The Chronicle Herald. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  27. ^ Watters, Haydn (13 April 2015). "Shambhala Buddhist community's queen gives birth in Halifax". CBC News Nova Scotia. Retrieved 18 April 2015.


  • Hayward, Jeremy (2008) Warrior-King of Shambhala: Remembering Chögyam Trungpa ISBN 0-86171-546-2

External links[edit]