The question could be asked: what is the place for a monastery like Gampo Abbey in the Shambhala world? The Abbey offers a rare opportunity to practice and study in a thoroughly tamed contemplative environment that is rich with ritual. Whether you take temporary vows or aspire to become a lifelong monastic, the monastic life carries the blessings of the authentic expression of the Buddha's teachings and life example. All visitors to the Abbey feel the inspiration and dignity that are at the heart of the Shambhala Buddhist journey.
Beyond the programs and residential opportunities the Abbey provides, the monastic community has much to offer to the greater Shambhala sangha. All of the senior monastics have taught widely. Acharya Pema Chödrön presents the essential truth and richness of Tibetan Buddhism to a worldwide audience. Acharya Ani Pema is the principal teacher at Yarne, during which she resides at the Abbey. Lodro Sangpo has produced several translations of classic Buddhist texts and edited numerous teachings. Ani Migme Chödrön, our senior monastic in residence, for many years she taught the vinaya, chanting and rituals. She is our librarian and has also produced several translations of major Buddhist texts. She still acts as a guide and mentor to new ordainees.
Gampo Abbey's presence also reaches out to the larger Buddhist community. It is the Sakyong's wish that the Abbey's monastics travel to teach the disciplines they've learned at the Abbey, whether liturgical, ritual or academic. And in keeping with the Vidyadhara's vision, the Abbey also serves as a forum for exchange and dialogue within the diverse Buddhist world: over the years, we've welcomed teachers and practitioners from other sanghas and traditions.
The Shambhala teachings are all about creating enlightened society. A community that holds the tradition of the monastic society prescribed by the Buddha is a potent support for such an ambitious undertaking. It has been said that for Buddhism to take root in a country, monasticism must be established. When asked if the presence of a monastery was important to the spread of Buddhism in the West, Trungpa Rinpoche remarked that "there has to be some example of the Buddha somewhere." When asked if the presence of a monastery has a specific value for Shambhala culture in terms of helping society in general, Rinpoche replied, "Very much so. I think that it is the epitome of sanity and discipline."
We invite you to explore the monastic way of life. Please join us to practice and to study here, just for a visit, or to support our journey in whatever way you are able.