Supporting the next 50 years

The Shambhala Center has been a presence in the Boston area for just over 50 years.

Originally Boston Dharmadhatu, the community has moved around – Charles Street on Beacon Hill, Upland Road in Cambridge, Boylston Street in Copley Square, Centre Street in Newton. We have been in our current home on Brookline Avenue in Brookline for over 23 years, almost half our history. Over the years, we have offered meditation instruction and training to thousands of people, a benefit whose ripples outward are impossible to measure. Many people have dedicated so much of their lives and energy over the years to establish a home for these teachings and this tradition.

Can we continue to build on that foundation? Can we open our doors to community members old and new, enriched by practice and engagement in their lives? At the same time, are we able to respond to the issues and realities of the times, the world in 2022 and in the future?

Now that we are starting to come back together in person again, can we continue to offer a space for learning and practice that is settled, spacious, inviting, in which people can experience the benefits of practicing together, working together and supporting one another?

This Harvest of Peace, we are fundraising for both ‘hardware and software’. Last year, we successfully raised over $20k to replace and repair our steps so that people could enter our newly reopened building. This year we are fundraising for the “next steps” to make our building a home for the Buddhist and Shambhala teachings in the years to come.

Our building continues to need maintenance – particularly the HVAC; that’s the hardware. The software is how we operate, what drives our activities and how connections are made. With everything that has happened in the last few years, our previous models don’t fit these times.

In the coming year, our focus is to support

  • Training leaders (old and new) to be more trauma informed, skilled facilitators, able to connect spiritual practice with the important issues of our time: anti-racism, ecodharma, polarization, grief, aging and death.
  • Recruiting and training volunteers
  • Building community practices, like the Wednesday Dharma Gatherings and community practice days
  • Shambhala Training, the Sacred Path and Terma study
  • Buddhist teachings of Kagyu and Nyingma
  • New initiatives such as Social Presencing Workshop and practice groups, championed by Till Cremer, for which we received a Catalyst grant from the Shambhala Board

Our core path still relies on the strength of Shambhala Training. We’re committed to offering the weekend retreats to introduce people to the fundamental principles and practices of Shambhala, as well as supporting the teachers and staff who are especially inspired to engage and re-engage in these teachings. In concert with this basic training, our approach is pluralistic, allowing each person to find the teachings, teachers and practices that are most valuable to them personally. We are training people in a good foundation and letting them choose the path.

Like many of us who have found a home here, there continue to be new people who come every week, grateful to find a place where people speak their language, even without words, and understand their inner longing to connect with something true.

This is a crucial time for our community and our center.

Let us be generous for one another, with respect and appreciation for one another’s path, and for the thousands more people with an aspiration to cultivate their Basic Goodness and Bodhichitta.

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Thank you for all you do to make the world a kinder, saner place.


Max Roberts-Zirker
Executive Director, Shambhala Meditation Center of Boston