Those who are in the sangha are warriors, because they are trying to overcome samsara. Members of the sangha support one another and care for one another. They are not perfect, but they inspire us because they are people who want to deepen their practice of mindfulness, awareness and compassion. The sangha is also a container. When we practice together, the sangha helps our discipline. We realize that there are other people around who are going through the same thing. That gives us a feeling of encouragement. — Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche
A Shambhala Centre aspires to be a beacon of enlightened society and a gathering place where people from all walks of life are able to have a direct experience of basic goodness in themselves and in others. Students, seekers, activists, and leaders from all traditions are welcomed into a space that focuses on the vision and practices that lead to the creation of enlightened society.
As we become more involved, membership offers a way to practice generosity. It is a gesture of support to the values and practices that Shambhala embodies, and is expressed in the following four areas:
- The Practice of Community/Society: Shambhala is a community that practices the teachings on basic goodness, and explores how to create a culture within our communities that embodies that profound principle. Membership offers active engagement in contemplating and building a different kind of society altogether.
- Meditation Practice: A member of Shambhala makes a connection to mindfulness-awareness practice, and works to integrate that practice into daily life in order to create a foundation for healthy social relationships and an enlightened society. This connection may also be made through contemplative practices based on mindfulness-awareness.
- Volunteer service: A large majority of Shambhala activities are conducted by volunteers, and there are many ways to help. Members donate time to their local centre based on their interests, skills and personal availability.
- Financial Support: Shambhala is sustained through dues and donations. When one becomes a member through a local centre, one’s financial contributions support the needs of the local centre as well as the international Shambhala organization. Suggested member dues are 1.5% to 3% of a member’s income. It is up to each member to set the exact amount based on his or her circumstances. However, no one is excluded from membership because of financial circumstances.
What does Shambhala offer as a benefit to its members? The benefit is precisely the opportunity to participate in a living laboratory for enlightened society, and engage with:
- The inherent sanity of one’s own mind, which is accessed and nurtured through sustained practice;
- The community of practitioners who come together to care for, practice and propagate the teachings, and work together to make enlightened society possible;
- The organizational and financial well being of Shambhala as a whole, so that it can make this wisdom widely available, support all those it cares for, and endure as a beacon of goodness in the world.