The Lineage & Mission of Dharma Ocean

Dharma Ocean is the translation of Chögyam Trungpa’s Tibetan teaching name, Chökyi Gyatso, and reflects our core mission of transmitting Trungpa Rinpoche’s living lineage in the modern context.

A person of incomparable vision, creativity, and energy, Chögyam Trungpa (1939-1987) is considered by many to be the most innovative and influential Tibetan Lama of the 20th century in the transmission of Tibetan Buddhism to the West. Born in East Tibet, he trained with three extraordinary teachers — Jamgön Kongtrül of Sechen, Khenpo Gangshar, and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche — and came to hold the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages of Tibetan Buddhism, in which meditation is the centerpiece. Through a series of revelations, Trungpa Rinpoche later became a holder of the Shambhala lineage as well, a tradition that teaches the fundamental sacredness of the human person, the sacredness of all experience, and a fearless embrace of life in all its aspects.

Living in North America from 1970 until his death in 1987, Trungpa Rinpoche established meditation and retreat centers, founded a Buddhist-inspired university (Naropa University), and brought his teachings into many areas of modern life, such as the arts, the healing professions, and business. At the core of these many activities lay an abiding confidence that modern people could realize the fullness of their human existence. Such confidence was perhaps most brilliantly revealed in Rinpoche’s willingness to train his students to become teachers in their own right.

One such student is Reggie Ray. The Spiritual Director of Dharma Ocean, Dr. Ray has practiced and studied in the lineage of Chögyam Trungpa since 1970, when he met Rinpoche just after his arrival in the U.S. Soon thereafter, Reggie helped found Naropa University, where he served on the faculty for more than three decades and still teaches courses. In the forty-three years since meeting Rinpoche, he was appointed the first teacher-in-residence at Shambhala Mountain Center, began accepting dharma students, designed the transformative Meditating with the Body® curriculum, and published six books. At Rinpoche’s direction, from the beginning Reggie devoted himself to exploring the teachings in solitary retreat, eventually accumulating some six years in solitude and an equal amount of time teaching in group retreats. A mentor to hundreds of students all over the globe, Dr. Ray passes on the “moving and remarkable trust” he received from his teacher. Under this guidance, many of Dharma Ocean’s senior students are beginning to instruct others along the Dharma Ocean path of Chögyam Trungpa.

THE MISSION OF THE DHARMA OCEAN FOUNDATION is to embody, unfold, and widely offer the unique path to awakening and human fulfillment taught by Trungpa Rinpoche, Reggie Ray, and his senior students, creating a living continuity of the practicing lineage in our time. Dharma Ocean’s activities aim to express the essence of this lineage, namely:

  • The fundamental goodness of the human person — our own and others’ inborn enlightenment and inherent perfection;
  • The sacredness of all of life and experience — that everything that arises is an expression of ultimate wisdom and a potential gate to immediate awakening;
  • The everyday practice to “never turn away” — to develop an attitude of complete acceptance and openness toward all experience, finding in it the transformation, fulfillment, and ultimate realization that so many of us seek today.

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