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Aspiration and Commitment

My own journey is very personal, and it is difficult to share it and open my heart in the public square, but it feels necessary that people in Shambhala hear the variety of narratives expressed.

I was fortunate to meet the Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in February, 1971 when I had just turned 19, and I grew up under his expansive umbrella. During his life I received some of the most precious teachings of the ancient lineages of Tibet. Long after his death in 1987 I continued to feel that he resided deep in my heart and was with me always.

Through coincidence in the summer of 2003 I was invited to be on faculty at a month-long Vajrayana Seminary, at Dechen Choling in France. I had been serving the Sakyong in various leadership roles since he assumed the lineage mantle in 1990, but always out of a sense of loyalty to his father.

In that summer, 2003, something new happened: Until that time the Sakyong had still been very immersed in his studies in India. There were a lot of expectations for him, a lot of pressure, but it was not clear what he would do to make his name. Then, at Dechen Choling, I heard him teach with a new voice; for the first time with his own voice. He taught on a text by the first Mipham with clarity and profundity. He presented his own writings, a short, beautiful and powerful sadhana he had written. He appeared, unexpectedly, as my teacher. And as I returned home to New York I discovered that he had taken his seat in my heart along with his father.

Over these many years since, as he has gradually and painstakingly unfolded the Scorpion Seal teachings (the terma revealed but never taught by his father), my eyes and heart have been opened to a depth of wisdom I did not expect to discover in this lifetime.

My relationship with my teachers has been tied to the unfolding transformation as I practice their teachings. It has never been a cult of personality— they have shown me how to go deeper into my own wisdom and compassion.

There are so many complexities, and it is difficult to hold all of the realities of humanity in one big mind: We all know that the Sakyong has acted badly and caused harm in the past. I have no doubt at all that he has been wrestling with and doing penance for these last two years as so much of what we have spent the last two decades building, has crumbled.

I have been a student of the Sakyong, his Father and the Vajra Regent.All of them have been profound teachers and imperfect humans. I aspire to be a profound teacher. I know I am an imperfect human.

When I was 19 the Vidyadhara accepted me - a completely introverted queer boy, and took me in. He and his son have given me my life.I serve them both with complete faith in their teachings. I have great love and respect for my friends, sisters and brothers, who recently resigned as Acharyas.It is heart breaking. But each of us are mixing the dharma with our own inner heart, and it takes us in different directions. I wish each of them true accomplishment. I continue to follow my own heart, to serve my teachers and guide students to reveal their own wisdom.

During these decades, thousands of people on this earth have benefited from the Sakyong’s teachings on meditation and kindness and on the profound vajra instructions given to advanced students. I long to again give the Shambhala Vow; to teach Shambhala Meditation. These are things the world needs right now, more than ever. I remain a student and Acharya of Shambhala and of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche for as long as I can be of benefit to the teachings and beings. 

May all beings everywhere be free and well-favored.


Eric Spiegel
Acharya Drukdra Thaye
Boundless Thunder

July 12, 2020