Five Steps of Wise Action

with Michael Chender

September 14th—September 15th

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  • $75 Program Price
  • $100 Patron Price
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Room: Drala Room
Drawing on the contemplative wisdom of Shambhala, Five Steps of Wise Action is a practical approach to more fully and effectively engaging situations through curiosity, openness and precision, with our intuitive sense of knowing switched on.

This program is open to anyone. The five steps are inspired by the calligraphy practice of Shambhala, recognizing that the progression of different energetic steps embodied in the this practice mirror the evolution that any action goes through—from entering to exploring to acting to completing to letting go. Wise Action also draws on Trungpa Rinpoche’s teachings on boredom, confidence, spontaneity, and art, and numerous examples from our work and family lives.

The wise action framework allows us to better recognize our personal styles and challenges of engaging, whether characterized by some hesitation to act and indecisiveness, or unwillingness to look and impulsiveness. It is a hands-on exploration of the core skills and practices of authentic leadership in action, from the beginning of any initiative through its completion.

We will spend time exploring each of the five steps of the framework through reflecting on and sharing our own experience, drawing on the contemplative wisdom of Shambhala, and working with intuitive knowing through the body.


Michael Chender began studying with Trungpa Rinpoche in 1970, and unexpectedly found himself taking over his father's international consulting business in metals at the age of 23, upon the latter’s death in 1973. He pursued meditation practice and teaching, and the world of business in parallel for the next forty years, and during that time was also the director of the New York Dharmadhatu (now NY Shambhala Centre) in the 1970s, on the governing council of Shambhala Training in the 1980s, on the board of Shambhala International in the 1990s; was the founding chair of ALIA (the Shambala Institute of Authentic Leadership) in 1999, and started other several other businesses and non-profit ventures. His animating passion all along has been exploring how the wisdom and compassion pointed to in the Shambhala and Buddhist traditions can be developed in the life of the larger society. He is currently working on a new approach to bring a dharmic perspective to Nova Scotia—the Wayside Initiative—and is on the board of Ocean, Engage Nova Scotia and the Springtide Collective.

Eight years ago he developed the Wise Action framework, which has been taught extensively at ALIA, as well as elsewhere, largely in collaboration with big-brush calligrapher Barbara Bash. An article on the process, in Mindful Magazine, can be found here (