Ösel Rangdröl spent his childhood with his mother in a Tibetan refugee village in northwest India. In 1971, at age seven, he went to live with his father at Samye Ling, meditation center, in Scotland, and then with his stepmother, Diana Mukpo in Boulder, Colorado. In Colorado under the supervision of his father, he received an appropriate western education and studied Buddhism. Moreover, he received training in various contemplative arts such as kyudo (Japanese archery), calligraphy, flower arranging, tea ceremony and horsemanship.
In 1978 Trungpa Rinpoche held a ceremony in which he gave Ösel Rangdröl the title of Sawang, “lord of the earth.” At that time he named Osel his heir. He specifically stressed the importance of the Shambhala teachings to the establishment of the dharma in the West. Keeping in mind that his son would also one day become the Sakyong (leader of the Shambhala community), Trungpa Rinpoche closely monitored the Sawang’s formation.
In 1992, while conducting the Vajra seminary, a meditation program, and advanced studies, Mipham Rinpoche, soon to become the “Sakyong”, announced the creation of an organization, “Shambhala”. Shambhala would unite the activities of the many organizations founded by Trungpa Rinpoche. Shambhala International now includes 1) Vajradhatu, a path of traditional Buddhist teachings, 2) Shambhala Training, a secular program of meditation and training of the warrior and 3) the Nalanda Foundation, dedicated to educational, social and artistic programs. In the words of the Sakong, the guiding force of Shambhala International is to allow “the flourishing of all the various traditions we have inherited.”
In May of 1995 the “Sawang” was formally enthroned as “Sakyong”, director of both the secular and spiritual aspects of Shambhala. His Holiness Penor Rinpoche led the Sakyong enthronement ceremony, which had been previously arranged by his father, Trungpa Rinpoche. During the ceremony, His Holiness confirmed the Sawang as Mipham Rinpoche, a descendant of the revered nineteeth century Tibetan scholar and teacher of meditation, Mipham Jamyang Namgyal. The Sakyong, or “protector of the earth”, is a title that confers a responsibility to project a sense of compassion for others and of the inherent basic goodness of individuals and of society, and protect the sacredness of our whole world.
The Sakyong has written many books, including Turning the Mind into An Ally, Ruling Your World, and The Shambhala Principle.