In this chant, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche acknowledges the various sources of the Shambhala Lineage. Of the four principal lineages of Tibetan Buddhism—Geluk, Sakya, Kagyü, and Nyingma—the Shambhala Lineage is indebted especially to the practice lineages of Kagyü and Nyingma.

Primordial Rigden,
All-good Samantabhadra,
Great Vajradhara;

The first three lines address the dharmakaya origins of the Shambhala Lineage. The “primordial Rigden” (Tib. rigs ldan; “holder of the family”) is the symbolic source of the Shambhala Lineage. “Samantabhadra” is the dharmakaya buddha of the Nyingma lineage, just as Vajradhara is that of the Kagyü lineage. Samantabhadra symbolizes complete primordial purity and utter wakefulness.

Lotus-born Padmakara,
Wisdom Yeshe Tsogyal,
Prahevajra, Shri Simha,
Holders of the ancient Great Perfection;

The next four lines address founders of the Nyingma lineage. Prahevajra (also known as Garap Dorje) was the first human in the ati tradition. Shri Simha followed shortly after that. Yeshe Tsogyal was Padmasambhava’s Nepalese consort, who became a powerful teacher in her own right.

Tilo, Naro, Marpa, Mila,
Siddhi-accomplishing masters of mahamudra:
Please approach and grant your blessings.

This is a supplication to the first human holders of the Kagyü lineage, whose special practice is mahamudra.

Dawa Sangpo, the other dharmarajas, and the twenty-five Rigdens,
Who guide beings to the sacred land of Shambhala,
You are the sun and moon, the wish-fulfilling jewel.
Your brilliant mind is the ornament of the world.
Protect my vajra awareness.
Grant your blessings so that I may realize great bliss-wisdom.

King Dawa Sangpo is the first lineage holder of Shambhala. It is said that he requested the Buddha to give him teachings that he could practice without becoming a monk. The Buddha gave him teachings that could be practiced by lay people in the context of their usual societal obligations. It is said that, in the kingdom of Shambhala, it was easy to practice dharma and the society was vastly uplifted.  The “twenty-five Rigdens” are the kings who followed Dawa Sangpo.

Gesar Norbu Dradül, you are the great activity lion.
All-victorious Sakyong, you reveal the treasure of basic goodness
And radiate the Great Eastern Sun.

Gesar is the quintessential warrior of Shambhala, fearless in the face of all psychological and physical obstacles.  “Sakyong” (Tib. “earth protector”) is an enlightened ruler who joins the vast vision of heaven with the practicality of earth, thus creating a sacred human society. “Great Eastern Sun” represents the inherently awake quality of mind, ever dawning anew.

Ashe, the essence of life, fearlessly reveals confidence and compassion;
May all discover the power of this magic.
The drala lineage of Mukpo, you bring about the new golden age.
Grant your blessings so that I may liberate all beings.

The Ashe stroke is part of the calligraphy of A, the first syllable of the Tibetan alphabet. It is a symbol of wakefulness, bravery, and gentle openness in the human heart. “Drala lineage of Mukpo” refers to the Mukpo clan, Trungpa Rinpoche’s ancestral family lineage. It is called the “drala lineage” because it has the power to overcome confusion and setting-sun outlook.

Buddhas, bodhisattvas, warriors, masters of the three times,
You guide us along the path to liberation.
You awaken bodhichitta.
You teach us the great view of emptiness.
You reveal the joy of luminosity.
Transmitting awareness-wisdom,
You lead us to perfect enlightenment.
Grant your blessings so that I may realize my nature
As the profound brilliant Rigden.

In the concluding lines, we aspire to accomplish the completely awake, spacious state of the Rigden.