Diversity in Shambhala

Kissby Alex Proimos

Shambhala Centres are located in different regions of the world, and reflect different nationalities, cultures, languages, ethnicities and races. Shambhala members and visitors have different ages, genders, and gender identities as well as different sexual orientations. They have varied physical, perceptual and mental abilities and different socioeconomic statuses. In addition, people who come to our centers may have different religious faiths, follow different spiritual traditions or teachers, or have different paths of practice and opinions.

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What we share as a community is a desire to lead sane, dignified, and confident lives. Through the practice of meditation and the Shambhala teachings, we cultivate the capacity to be fully open to our experience, and the ability to respond to everyday life situations with greater clarity and respect—respect not only for our life situations and ourselves, but for all individuals, social groups and cultures as well.

This does not mean that Shambhala is a perfect society. If you visit one of our centres, you may find that it does not mirror in every way the characteristics of the people who live in the cities or towns where our centers are located. But please note that it is the intention—and the stated policy—of our centers to welcome everyone who enters. This intention is at the very core of the Shambhala Buddhist teachings.The Sakyong has said we are at a crossroads, and not to be afraid of who we are.  The Diversity Working Group (DWG) tries to live the questions that arise: Can we welcome all people, as stated in the Shambhala Aspirations on Diversity, Accessibility and Compassionate Conduct? If so, why don’t we more closely resemble the communities in which we’re located? Do we unconsciously create barriers between ourselves and others? What does it mean to be a responsible Shambhalian?  As the world grows increasingly diverse, can Shambhala contribute to diverse enlightened society? The voices in this 35-minute video describe what the DWG is doing and why.

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