Recalling Prajna

Prajna was the site of the first session of the College of Denma


Prajna, the Shambhala Mountain Center home of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, and since 1987 Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, burned to the ground in an early morning fire on April 7, 2009.

Prajna was the site of the first session of the College of Denma. It is the place where Trungpa Rinpoche wrote the Magyal Pomra protector chant, and where he held meetings with his cabinet, privy council, translators, and students. He sometimes referred to Prajna as the Kalapa Camp, and always seemed to enjoy time spent there. The small house, which was often filled to more than overflowing with visitors, house staff, kusung, and kasung, is the backdrop for many stories about Trungpa Rinpoche’s activities, and interactions with his students. After Trungpa Rinpoche’s death, Prajna became Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche’s residence at Shambhala Mountain Center, where it continued to be the setting for many important events and service to the teacher and his family.

Shambhala News Service bulletin

07 Apr 2009
Fire at Prajna, Shambhala Mountain Center

In the early hours of today (Tuesday 7 April), Prajna, the wooden summer retreat house used by the Vidyadhara and the Sakyong at Shambhala Mountain Center, caught fire. In a very short time the house was engulfed in flames and burned to the ground. With the recent snowfall the danger was reduced, although some trees in the immediate vicinity were burned. The volunteer fire department responded with multiple trucks and the Shambhala Mountain Center fire volunteers are standing watch over the smoldering remains. It is not clear at this point what caused the fire, but an investigation will be conducted.

The Sakyong and Sakyong Wangmo were informed this morning, Halifax time, and are following the situation closely. The Sakyong has requested that the Shambhala Mountain Center community gather to conduct protector practices, perform a long lhasang to invoke windhorse and raise the aspiration for the establishment of a new court for the lineage, long-needed at Shambhala Mountain Center.

Those involved with the care of the residence and its furnishings have also been informed. Most important artefacts and texts were no longer housed there.

“This fire, and the complete devastation of the residence, has come as a shock to us all,” the Sakyong said this morning. “Many practitioners have come to Prajna to serve in the court, to meet me, to attend special events and to be part of the many celebrations that have been hosted there. So it is associated with many fond and moving memories in all our minds. Both Khandro-la and I have the community at Shambhala Mountain Center very much in our hearts at this time, and appreciate their valiant efforts through the night. At the same time, this is a moment to reflect on how we move forward from here, recognizing the potent truth of impermanence, and turning our minds to what is now needed to provide an appropriate lineage seat at this vital centre in our mandala.”