Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior

Alexey Ivanov
Integral Coaching
Published in
3 min readNov 9, 2017


Book review: Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior, by Chogyam Trungpa.

Shambhala teaching was introduced to the West based on the wisdom traditions of Tibetian Buddhism by Chögyam Trungpa Riponche. It promotes a certain secular way of thinking, acting and relating to being—both post-spiritual and impact-oriented. It is a teaching for the modern world: it doesn’t require you to be in a monastery or to do insane numbers of meditation practice.

Shambhala teachings are aiming at creating an enlightened society, having a bigger goal while applying the philosophy to the everyday life. It promotes discovering of basic goodness — something one can find in themselves or others, when their intentions are aligned with their actions and goals.

A Shambhala warrior is open to feeling sadness in their heart, and being open to feeling fear, and going beyond fear. Actually, going beyond fear is the realization of fearlessness, a crucial concept in Shambhala path. The warrior realizes the cocoon that many people tend to put themselves in, focusing on gaining pleasure and avoiding pain. The warrior also realizes the power of letting go, while daring and celebrating the journey.

The warrior lives in the present; they surrender to meditation practice that allows them to grow stronger and more open to the world. They discover the magic in everyday existance, overcome arrogance and habitual impulses to create a better world for themselves and others.

The book has a few key concepts. Like the importance of spaciousness and certain sense of humor, that makes things not so dire and important. Therefore, it allows for finding meaning in the most mundane situations or objects.

“When we begin to realize the potential goodness in ourselves, we often take our discovery much too seriously. We might kill for goodness or die for goodness, we want it so badly. What is lacking is a sense of humor. […] If there is no connection with ordinary everyday situations, if you don’t examine your mundane life, then you will never find any humor or dignity or, ultimately, no reality.”

Another key concept has to do with fear and fearlessness:

“In order to experience fearlessness, it is necessary to experience fear. […] Acknowledging fear is not a cause for depression or discouragement. Because we possess suchfear, we are also potentially entitled to experience fearlessness. True fearlessness is not the reduction of fear, but going beyond fear.

Windhorse idea:

“The self-existing energy is called windhorse in the Shambhala tradition. The wind principle is that the energy of basic goodness is strong and exuberant and brilliant. It can actually radiate tremendous power in your life. But at the same time, basic goodness can be ridden, which is the principle of the horse. By following the disciplines of the warriorship, particularly the discipline of letting go, you can harness the wind of goodness.”

The authentic presense, and four faces of the warriorship:

  • The warrior of meek: kind and mercy to others.
  • The warrior of perky: vibrant, energetic, youthful.
  • The warrior of outrageous: possessing the strength and power of warriorship.
  • The warrior of inscrutable: fearless, gentle, sympathetic, non-commital.

This book has a great philosophy that can be actionable and transformed into everyday practice.

What makes this a useful source for coaching? How can you use it?

Wisdom of Shambhala teachings show how being oriented towards bigger, transcendal goals can co-exist with everyday living. It is a mix of philosophy of life, a way of acting, and guidelines to thinking in a certain way. In coaching, the metaphors and frameworks of Shambhala teachings can create a blueprint that certain people might find useful for their personal growth and development. I can imagine a Shambhala warrior path could be a powerful narrative for coaching clients.



Alexey Ivanov
Integral Coaching

Product Design. Ex-@SYPartners, @IDEO, @Philips. Professional Integral Coach via @NewVenturesWest. 📍San Francisco