The beginnings of Shambhala Day go back to 1976, during the second visit of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa to North America. The visit coincided with Losar, Tibetan New Year, and the Vidyadhara and the Karmapa celebrated together at a Chinese restaurant along with the Karmapa’s monks and many of Rinpoche’s students. I don’t think we have that story anywhere on the Chronicles. If you were there, please send us your recollections.
In 1977, the Vidyadhara celebrated Shambhala Day (I think it was called “Shambhala Day” at that point) by inviting 50 or so guests to the Kalapa Court for a full day of eating, I Ching, and general good cheer.
The first Shambhala Day address was delivered the following year, on February 7, 1978 — New Year’s Day, Year of the Earth Horse. Thirty-six years (three 12-year cycles) later, we are once again celebrating the Year of the Horse — this time the Wood Horse.
Here is the first-ever Shambhala Day address, nine minutes and 17 seconds. It took place just after dawn in the newly renovated third-floor shrine room of Dorje Dzong, now the Boulder Shambhala Center. The room was packed with many students and many young children; it was a joyful moment.
Tashi Delek! May this be an auspicious year to fulfill the Vidyadhara’s aspirations.