Wisdom Council

The purpose of the Wisdom Council is to act as trusted advisors to the Director and provide a direct and steady flow of guidance, support, and recommendations on Halifax Shambhala Centre matters of governance. They offer a variety of viewpoints based on lived experience and by making themselves available to listen to others.  Decision making and implementation continues to reside with the Centre Director.

The Council may advise on matters such as but not limited to:

  • Stategic Plan – Review and provide guidance to the Director on Shambhala Centre priorities and implementation of the Strategic Plan
  • Current Programs – Identify strengths of current programing and areas that need improving for the overall strength and vitality of the Halifax Shambhala Centre .
  • Workplace – Consider workplace development issues and make recommendations with respect to developing an effective, accountable workplace based on dignity, respect, and growth.
  • Collective Wisdom – Increase capacity for collective wisdom based decision making.


Below are short bio’s of the council members:

Shastri Mary Campbell moved to Halifax in 1998 with her husband, Chris Morel. Mary is a senior meditation instructor and teacher within the Shambhala-Buddhist tradition and teaches extensively within Shambhala. Since 2010, she has served as a Shastri for Halifax. Mary is also a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Psychiatry and Mental Health and for many years has taught meditation in health care settings. She has written on mindfulness and meditation for nursing publications and is a co-investigator in mindfulness research. Mary loves to dance and recently started taking ballet class.

Conner Loomis journeyed from Texas to Colorado to Halifax, Nova Scotia in her 40+ years after discovering Buddhist meditation in Austin. She and her husband, Larry, happily emigrated to Canada in 1989, with their young twin daughters, and all became Canadian citizens in 1995.  Always interested in encouraging innate wakefulness and inquisitiveness, Conner’s careers have evolved from a secondary school and university educator and facilitator to an integrative clinical therapist and life/leadership coach. She delights in serving Shambhala both locally and internationally.

Dylan Smith has worked as a technologist in the music industry, been a manager in heavy industrial manufacturing, and software developer for emergency response applications.  Dylan was raised in the Kagyu dharma and entered Shambhala through the Kasung. He is now a Kusung and Scorpion Seal practitioner.  Dylan moved to Halifax in 2015 with Lisa Steckler, has two little boys, enjoys sailing, building things, and messing with technology.

Torin Vigerstad was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia and grew up in a Shambhala household. Starting Sun Camp when he was 10, he later became a Cadet, and is now an active member of the Dorje Kasung. He is currently pursuing an MA in Classics at Dalhousie University, which for him includes the study of Latin, Ancient Greek, and Sanskrit. He attended Sacred World Assembly in 2016 and is a co-leader of Social Meditation at the Halifax Centre.  Among his activities thus far, he is particularly of proud of his translation of the Shambhala Dedication of Merit into Latin

Kathryn Heckman has lived in Dartmouth all her life. As her family roots have been in Nova Scotia since 1752, she is fond of saying that she is very appreciative that the Shambhala dharma came here, as she does not move around much. Kathryn is a retired environmental lawyer and the grandmother of 2 shining examples of basic goodness. Kathryn enjoys serving the Sakyong and Sakyong Wangmo and teaching Shambhala classes to everyone who is interested.