Community Meeting – June 2017

By Michelle Munro, Halifax Shambhala Centre Director

The following is a brief summary of our recent community meeting (June 26, 2017) with a report of activities from the director and discussion of the exciting, upcoming changes at the Halifax Shambhala Centre, including a new community room. Special thanks to Jeanne Cain for the notes!

Centre Director Activities

Michelle is going to Rigden Abhisheka, this summer at Dorje Denma Ling.

Michelle has a Wisdom Council (Mary Campbell, Connor Loomis, Torin Vigerstad, Kathryn Heckman, Dylan Smith) that has already met together several times. The purpose of this group is to support the director so she can better serve the community.  The council will give a presentation in the fall.

Michelle has attended the Kalapa Garchen, a gathering of Shambhala leaders at Karme Choling in Vermont. The 4 pillars of Shambhala International are led the Kalapa Council and include the areas of Practice and Education, Government, Kasung, and Economy. She was inspired by their process and relationship with one another. It was open, challenging and inspiring.


Centre Activities

The Summer Weekthun, an in town meditation retreat led by Kathryn Heckman, was very well attended.  Participants were inspiring – their experience of the practice and connection to the centre. The 2nd floor space worked very well for the retreat.

New members events will continue at the centre, as it’s so important to get to know them and their perspectives and vision. An Introduction to Shambhala Culture was distributed and appreciated.

Staff changes—Thank you to centre staff – Dinah, Genea, and Dan – who have recently completed their positions at the centre.  A job posting has gone out for a third full time person to join the staff as a Program Manager.  Refer to the blog posting for more information.


Community Room

The overwhelming result of the Planning Process 2 years ago was—we need a community room!  So, following some much needed repairs we embarked on developing a plan for community space. The basic design is by Will Perkins, a Designer employed with an award winning architect firm and community member. The whole notion is reinvigorating the hearth, the fireplaces, making them a gathering place. Gathering around the hearth is a time honored custom in many cultures. We received a grant for the fireplaces from the Mother Lineage Fund. The fireplaces will be gas powered. When the offices of Shambhala moved to the Kalapa Centre it opened up space (in this building) and allowed for new possibilities and vision.

Eve Rosenthal: Shambhala Centre is my lifeline and has been for many years, in New York and in Halifax. I’ve been longing for a community space in our centre where we could be together and talk. I am contemplating what kind of conversations we could have or could we host. Creating a Seat of Society is an energetic shift. Personally, I have been longing for this.

Wendy Friedman: Shambhala Culture is one the things that sets us apart from other religions and religious communities. I was always attracted to that element of our community, the culture and society of Shambhala. In order to express that, we need a space to gather. a space for society. It needs to be open and accessible.

I like the funnel image. We need to turn the funnel around so that there is a wide entrance, to make it easier to access Shambhala. We want to have hospitality, serve tea & coffee.

The Sakyong and Eva Wong are both both enthusiastic and encouraging and support these changes.

What are we doing in Phase One for the community room?

When you enter, in front of you is an open space with two functioning fireplaces and a tokonoma with a beautiful flower arrangement. The flooring will be replaced so that it is more uniform throughout the first floor. We are looking at all the options. Qualities we hope to reflect in our flooring choice are: sustainable, easy to clean, good acoustics, long wearing. There will be new area rugs, lighting and paint.

And in Phase Two:

Furniture. Transmitting our culture. Fresh & modern.


Community Discussion / Questions & Answers

Q: Will there be any doors for the new community room? Will we be able to close off the space?

A: We are going to start with open rooms and may add sliding doors if we find they are needed.

Q: Hosting at the centre – how will that work? Who will answer the phones?

A: Our phone system is modern and can direct people. The new program manager will be responsible for hosting part of each day and training hosts and volunteers.  We will have hosting training for the community.

Q: Flooring – have you made a firm decision to use wood flooring yet?

A: No, nothing is off the table, but carpet does present a number of environmental problems for people with sensitivities.

Q: Do you have any Kasung input?

A: Michelle is a Kasung and Wendy is also! Will consider inviting other Kasung input.


Other Ideas

We may move the coat closet to where the bookcases are now so you don’t have to go in so far to reach it.

Improved signage and a larger, less residential front entry.


We have already raised $11,000+, before this meeting!

Auction of these items at tonight’s meeting, included:

  • Blues & Swing dance lessons by Jessie Litven
  • Weekly fresh bread subscription (delivered by bicycle!) from Dan Corbett
  • Calligraphy by Kaz Tanahashi, Boundlessness (below)

Thank you to everyone for your participation in the meeting and fundraising! And thank you to Lori Wilson for the delicious strawberry shortcake!

: As of mid July, we have raised $18,300 towards Phase One.   Stay tuned for more news and progress on our new community room!


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