Societal Health & Well Being

The area of Societal Health and Well Being is vast, expressive, creative, and a celebration of our natural ability to help each other and connect.  Supporting the ongoing development of our community includes many activities: fostering greater communication and contact among members, offering a warm and inviting environment to everyone, developing awareness and sensitivity toward diversity, caring for ourselves, each other and the greater community, ensuring the needs of our families and children are completely interwoven into the fabric of our community life, and having fun together as we travel this amazing path.

The Director of Societal Health and Well Being is the liaison between all community groups and classes and the Governance Council. Members with an interest in forming a group are encouraged to contact the Director.

Community Groups and Classes

Circle of Care
This Team creates networks and systems designed to help community members during challenging times.  Whether cooking a meal, offering a ride, meditating with someone or simply taking time to chat, there are many tangible ways we can help and support each other.

Maitri Bhavana
Maitri Bhavana is a group meditation practice for those who are seriously ill. Maitri Bhavana is the practice of expanding loving-kindness without limits, or unlimited friendliness.

 The basis of this community practice is Tonglen, which means “sending and taking.” Using the medium of the breath, we breathe in the suffering and pain of those who are ill and we breathe out to them relief from that suffering. This relief can take many different forms.

This community practice is led by the timekeeper during a portion of the public meditation session on the first Sunday every 3 months. If you would like to submit your name or a relative or friend’s name who is seriously ill either physically or mentally, for Maitri Bhavana, you may do so via email. It would not be appropriate, for example, to include someone who has the flu. When submitting names please also submit the type of illness; i.e., Mary Jones – cancer; Howard Smith – heart attack, etc. If you don’t want to include the person’s last name, or want to include just the first initial of the last name, that’s fine. In addition to our email address (, there’s also a sign-up sheet at the Shambhala Center.

Monday Night Sangha
A Monday evening social gathering, meditation practice, and study/discussion for meditation practitioners at all levels. The “dharma-readings-and-discussion” format provides an opportunity to make connections between the teachings and the practice of meditation in everyday life and provides way to connect with fellow meditators. For all new people, meditation instruction is provided.

Working with Addictions
In these weekly sessions meditators of various levels of experience are invited to gather to discuss their personal struggles with addictions of various types including: prescription medication, sex, alcohol, drugs, food, cigarettes, the Internet, and others. These meetings are intended to provide members of the community with a forum to express their thoughts and learn from each other. No registration necessary.

Bodhi School
Bodhi School provides children age 6+ and up to 12, with an education in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition. Children will learn meditative principles that work with the heart and mind and gain confidence through exploring the basic goodness of all sentient beings. The curriculum is designed to be accessible and fun for newcomers to the Buddhist path as well as those with more experience. This program runs from January through June.

Sit n Stitch
Please join us for an informal gathering for meditation practitioners at all levels and stitching at all levels.  Brief period of sitting will are interspersed with readings from the dharma art books (such as Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s True Perception) and creative time. Crafts of all kinds are encouraged.

Contemplative Dance
Contemplative Dance Practice is training for personal and group awareness of body/mind through a simple form that alternates sitting meditation with self-directed body movement in space. Participants wear comfortable clothing that allows movement, and go barefoot.

Creative Writing Workshop
In this multi-genre workshop, we will start with writing exercises that connect more with one’s spontaneous and natural voice. Get writing more as a disciplined practice with exercises that show how our writings can become a kind of a mirror of our minds. Poetry, prose, and script writers are all welcome. Meditation is at the core of this program. A summer program only.

Philly Zen
The Zen Meditation Group of Greater Philadelphia meets every Sunday evening for zazen and liturgy.

Social Action – Out Reach
The Center is committed to working for the benefit of the greater Philadelphia community. The Center has been involved in “Peace Day Philly”, “Sacred Spaces Tour”, “Philabundance” and invites collaboration with our neighbors.