Our community is diverse, capable, and heartfelt. Our members and friends include dedicated senior teachers who have walked the Shambhala Buddhist path for many years, and enthusiastic newcomers who are just discovering our teachings on realizing basic goodness and building enlightened society.


“Sangha” is the Sanskrit term for “community of practitioners” – one of the three jewels of Buddhism. The Shambhala Meditation Center of Philadelphia is home to a wonderfully diverse community who share a genuine connection to contemplative practice and the aspiration to realize a more wakeful, sane society. Our members and friends include dedicated senior teachers who have walked the Shambhala Buddhist path for 40 years or more, practitioners of all levels, children and teens, and enthusiastic newcomers who are just discovering our teachings on realizing basic goodness and building enlightened society.

Friends and members of the Shambhala Center are welcome to attend celebrations, practice events, meetings and gatherings of special interest groups.

The Center is part of an international community of 165 meditation centers founded by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and led by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. The Shambhala Buddhist path, unique in the world of Western Buddhism, combines the teachings of the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions of Tibetan Buddhism with the Shambhala view of living an uplifted life, fully engaged with the world.

The Philadelphia Shambhala Sangha is a group of people united by a commitment to the recognition of human goodness and the practice of meditation. We are in the process of initiating a number of ways we can better help each other, get to know each other, and offer the Philadelphia area service and support. Apart from meditation sessions and programs, we also gather in a variety of social contexts and celebrations. The descriptions below provide a picture of what we have to offer, and the directions in which we are going.

Community Practice Events

Our center has a rich array of ongoing offerings open to the public including weekly public sitting meditation hours and dharma talks. No prior meditation experience required to attend. All are welcome. Ongoing Programs

Getting Involved

Our community and center is almost entirely volunteer run. All of our programs are staffed by volunteers, as well as our councils and committees. People from all walks of life dedicate some amount of time to support other people to sit on the cushion and become familiar with their own basic goodness. The vision of a sane and awake society begins with one simple act: Getting Involved

Family and Children

Families and children are a vital part of the Philadelphia Shambhala Center community. Our aspiration is to have a local Shambhala community in which families gather for practice and feel included and supported. Bodhi School has been one path for our children to deepen their experience of basic goodness, learn the teachings, have fun, and build friendships. While it is on hiatus this year, we continue to integrate family and children into Center life in many ways while exploring other family and children-specific programming and events.

Societal Health and Well Being Committee

The Director of Societal Health and Well Being, who is a member of the Governance Council, forms and leads a local committee dedicated to fostering a warm, inviting, and caring community of practitioners, thus polishing and shining the third jewel of sangha. Activities of this committee include:
  • Fostering greater communication and contact among community members, including focused community building efforts.
  • Ensuring there is a welcoming, hospitable environment for all who enter the Center. Developing awareness and proactive sensitivity regarding all aspects of diversity: racial, ethnic, socio-economic, sexual orientation, age, gender, physical ability, etc.
  • Caring for the health and well being of community members when illness, conflict, or social difficulties arise (in collaboration with the Desung).
  • Promoting responsiveness by the Center to local and global environmental and social issues.
  • Ensuring that needs of families and children are completely interwoven into the fabric of community life.

Seasonal Celebrations

Over the years our community has adopted a tradition of celebrating the changes of the seasons. These are called “nyida” days from the Tibetan words nyima (sun) and dawa (moon), and they occur on or near the days of the equinoxes and solstices. Nyida days are family-oriented celebrations and occasions for local Shambhala communities to gather socially. Midsummer Day observes the summer solstice; the Harvest of Peace the autumn equinox; Children’s Day, the winter solstice. Shambhala Day is our annual celebration of “losar” or the new year according to the Tibetan calendar. Since it typically falls in February or March, it takes the place of observing the spring equinox. Sitting on the Governance Council, Our Head of Culture and Decorum works with the Nyida days directly.

Community Events

Bagels & Dharma: Wake Up and Smell the Coffee!

with Jean Plough

May 27th

What does it mean to “wake up”? Everybody’s hurrying, but nobody’s going anywhere… we’re in an age now when people are slumbering. They think they’re awake, but they’re really sleeping… Continue »

Shambhala Sadhana

May 27th

All Philadelphia Shambhala Center members are invited to this Shambhala Sadhana practice and celebratory tea. This is an opportunity for us to meet each other, practice together, and talk about basic goodness and wholesome society. Continue »

Shakyamuni Buddha Day (Vaishaka Day)

May 29th

Vaishakha Day is a major Buddhist holiday which commemorates three major events in the life of Shakyamuni Buddha: his birth, enlightenment, and parinirvana. Everyone is invited to join us for meditation, talks, and celebration. Continue »

Warriors in the World at Philabundance

June 5th

Volunteers sort and pack donated food items at the Hunger Relief Center in South Philly. Registration for this event is through the Philabundance website. Continue »

Open House

with Shastri Tom Berthoff

June 6th

Join us for an introduction to the Philadelphia Shambhala Center and all it has to offer. This evening program includes guided meditation instruction and snacks. Continue »