FAQs

Do I have to be Buddhist to practice meditation or come to the Shambhala Center?
Absolutely not! Everyone is welcome at the Shambhala Center from any tradition, belief or non-belief. We aspire to awaken the profound kindness inherent in human society and although our lineage is Buddhist we believe that everyone can sit and become familiar with their own mind.

I have practiced meditation in another tradition, can I use that technique instead?

Practitioners from all backgrounds are welcome. We suggest that if it’s your first time at Shambhala to try our mediation technique fully so that you have a complete experience of this practice.

What should I wear?
Wear something comfortable for you to sit on a cushion on the floor or in a chair. For programs, often students will dress nicely as a practice of respect and to reflect the uplifted nature of our minds.

Should I bring anything to a weekend program?
Some helpful items to bring are

  • a notebook
  • a closed water bottle
  • a shawl, light sweater, or long-sleeved shirt in case the shrine room is on the cooler side

What do donations, program fees and member dues pay for?
Program fees first pay for all expenses related to the program, including program food and supplies. The rest of the income from program fees, and all the income from donations and membership dues, are used to pay the operating costs of this center. Operating costs include building expenses (rent, insurance, maintenance, etc.), kitchen and bathroom supplies, shrine supplies, and our center’s contributions to Shambhala International.

I want to take a program but I can’t afford it, what are my options?
We strive to make all programs as affordable as possible, and we are fortunate enough to be able to offer our Generosity Policy to individuals who wish to attend programs but cannot afford the sustaining price.

What is the etiquette in the shrine rooms?

The Shambhala center shrineroom is a sacred space for discovering the nature of our minds and engendering compassionate action. What may feel “funny” or restrictive in our informal culture, is merely a way to show respect for the teachings, the community, and the teacher. Think of the etiquette involved in weddings and funerals in US culture as reference points. There are simple “dos” and don’ts” in those situations that we all know implicitly. In the Shambhala shrine room,
please:

  • remove your shoes
  • avoid scented products
  • silence your cell phone
  • do not place dharma books or chants on the floor
  • bring water in a closed container if you need it
  • maintain an upright posture on a cushion or chair (if you need other posture accommodations, please let the session leader know)
  • offer a short bow of respect when entering and leaving the shrine room if you would like to

Is there chanting?
Chanting is done as a practice at certain programs and events at the center. Nyinthun (our Sunday morning meditation) begins and ends with five to ten minutes of chanting in English. You are welcome to join in or just listen.

Are you Wheelchair Accessible?
As a community, we are committed to making the teachings as accessible as possible. We do have an elevator, but our landlord keeps the rear entrance locked. Please call us (413.585.9848) at least two days in advance and we will make sure the access is open.