Frequently Asked Questions
photo: Liza Matthews
Interested in learning more about the Halifax Shambhala Centre? The following questions and answers are here to assist you and to provide opportunities to learn more.
If you are in need of further information, you are welcome to read more about the centre, contact the centre, or visit us.
What is Shambhala?
Shambhala is a global community of meditation and retreat centres founded by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and currently led by his son and spiritual heir, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche.
There are more than 214 centres and groups around the world, as well as thousands of individual members. Shambhala Meditation Centres offer courses in meditation and other contemplative arts and disciplines, and also host community gatherings, celebrations, and family events.
Read and learn more about Shambhala.
What is Shambhala Buddhism?
Shambhala is rooted in the contemplative teachings of Buddhism, yet is a fresh expression of the spiritual journey for our time; it is available to practitioners of any tradition.
Our lineage draws on the wisdom of the Kagyu and Nyingma schools of Tibetan Buddhism as inherited by Chögyam Trungpa and Sakyong Mipham.
In the mid-1970s Chögyam Trungpa began to introduce teachings on Shambhala vision, based on his encounter with the Western world, and on the specific wisdom imparted from the Buddha to King Dawa Sangpo, the first sovereign of the legendary kingdom of Shambhala. This tradition teaches how to live in the secular world with courage and compassion.
Read more about Shambhala vision and Shambhala Buddhism.
I have my own spiritual tradition; can I learn meditation without becoming a Buddhist?
Mindfulness-awareness meditation practice is compatible with any spiritual tradition and can benefit everyone. In Shambhala, the vision of a decent and peaceful society includes people of all faiths and walks of life.
Although some of our programs and events are open only to those who have fulfilled certain prerequisites, all are welcome at our centre and at public programs.
Read and learn more about meditation and community practice sessions.
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Can I visit the Centre to see what it offers?
Yes, you can visit or contact the centre during weekday office hours and learn more.
A good way of being introduced to the Shambhala Centre and meditation is the weekly Open House, which all are welcome to attend.
Do I have to be a member to attend programs or practice meditation at the Centre?
All are welcome to attend public meditation sessions, classes, weekend programs, and celebrations at the centre.
Note that for some activities and programs, attendance is limited based on certain pre-requisites and one's current meditation practice. This information is included in the program description in the centre newsletter or the centre programs page.
If interested learning more, read about membership and its benefits.
Is the centre accessible to those with mobility limitations?
Yes. The Halifax Centre has a ramp at the north side entrance of the building and an elevator to access other floors.
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What can I expect at the weekly Open House?
The weekly Open House offers a friendly introduction to meditation practice, Shambhala Buddhist teachings and our community.
Those interested in receiving meditation instruction can receive it at 7pm in the smaller shrine room (Snow Lion Room). Those who have already had instruction can go into the larger shrine room (Main Shrine Room) to meditate.
Both groups join together at 8pm for a talk. Topics and speakers vary each week.
Everyone is welcome to Open House. Participation is free of charge.
Can I attend more than once or only the meditation?
Yes, you may attend Open House as many times as you wish. Each time you may choose whether you would like to attend the instruction, meditation, or Open House talk.
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How can I get introduced to meditation at the Centre?
You may learn meditation by attending our Open House, held each week (Wednesday evenings), or any number of introductory programs held throughout the year.
Please contact the centre by phone, email, or in person to learn more.
What is a good way to develop a regular meditation practice?
After receiving meditation instruction, it is helpful to have a daily meditation practice, morning or evening, for a set period of time. You can begin with short meditation sessions and increase your practice gradually over time.
Attending classes and weekend programs provides further opportunities for learning about the path of meditation and its application to daily life.
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Is there a cost for programs?
There is no cost for public meditations and Open Houses, but donations are always welcome and appreciated.
For seminars, classes, and weekend programs there is a requested fee. Note that if cost is an issue, you may refer to our "Generosity Policy".
Which programs or classes are best for beginners?
In addition to the Halifax Centre Open House, which provides the opportunity for Meditation Instruction, there are a variety of classes available for all levels of experience, including people new to meditation.
Recommended classes include:
Meditation in Everyday Life
Shambhala Level I
Ruling Your World
For more information, please refer to the centre programs page.
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Are there programs or activities for families, children, and youth?
Yes, we welcome families at the Centre as a vital part of our community. Our
aspiration is to have a local Shambhala community in which families gather for
practice and feel included and supported.
For more information, please refer to the Families and Youth page.
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If you would like further information, please contact the centre. We look forward to hearing your questions and comments.