20 Free Things To Do At Seattle Shambhala

by Larry Steele

Marpa the Translator, who helped bring Buddhism to Tibet, always carried bags of gold to offer as gifts to his teachers in India. In fact giving money and other precious gifts for Dharma is very traditional and is also a practical way of helping the student succeed and the Dharma flourish.

In this time and place where many have not heard of the Dharma or why it’s so beneficial, it is crucial to make the introductory teachings accessible. That’s why we can easily learn meditation and explore the world of Shambhala entirely for free.

Below is a guide to activities that are offered for free by the members and teachers of Shambhala. They are open to everyone. Links lead to more detailed information.

Group Sitting

1. Open House
A good place for everyone to start is at our Thursday Night Open House in Seattle. It’s an opportunity to meet new friends and get introductory instruction about how to meditate.

2. Group Meditation at our Satellites
We have many weekly public sittings on Tuesdays (Wednesday in Issaquah) in various locations called satellites including Seattle, Ballard, West Seattle, Bellevue, Issaquah, Tacoma, Edmonds and even Bainbridge Island. Everyone is welcome.

3. Sunday Morning
Join us for meditation, refreshments, and discussion at the Seattle Shambhala Center on Sunday mornings!

4. Community Practice
Community Practice offers meditators of all levels a chance to practice in the peaceful Seattle Shambhala Meditation Hall as a community. This is a great way to support one’s own practice and to raise inspiration and connect as a community. Practices are done silently and last for about three hours, providing an opportunity to sit for a long period. Check the calendar for the next upcoming session.

5. Heart of Recovery Group
Are you interested in exploring the relationship between meditation and recovery? The Heart of Recovery focuses on sharing support while bringing together Buddhist and 12 Step contemplative practices and a commitment to recovery from addictions and addictive behaviors of all kinds.

6. Ziji Seattle Young Meditators Group
“Ziji” is the Tibetan word for the innate, brilliant confidence possessed by all beings. The Ziji Seattle Young Meditators are friends in our 20s and 30s coming together for meditation, conversation, and action. This group is a way to connect with a global community working towards a view of enlightened society: a society that is uplifted, caring, gentle, and wakeful.

7. Queer Dharma
The vision of the Queer Dharma group is to cultivate a space that is open and safe for all people of varying expressions of gender identification, sexual orientation, and sexuality to cross the bridges queery together through meditative and contemplative practice. We especially invite people who identify as part of the LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual) communities and Allies to participate. Join us for meditation practice followed by a talk, discussion, and fellowship! Check the calendar for the next gathering.


8. Shambhala Times Community News Magazine
The Shambhala Times is a news hub for the Shambhala global community. You can read about Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and his family, Dharma teachings, arts and poetry, health and healing, events, and opinions. The Times also carries links to many talks by the Sakyong on the Sakyong Mipham Youtube Channel.

9. Shambhala World
Shambhala is a global community. We have 100,000 members and friends in more than 200 Shambhala centers and groups, covering over 50 different countries. In addition, we are connected to a lineage of wisdom teachings spanning thousands of years. The Shambhala.org website is a gateway to our vision of an enlightened world.

10. Volunteer Service
Volunteering is free! Offering volunteer service may be the very best way to become part of a community. Our offerings keep the Shambhala center and satellites going and is, in part, how we “create enlightened society.”

Community Events

Our community is diverse, capable, and heartfelt. We join together in all kinds of ways, from town hall meetings about shared issues to bike rides on summer evenings. 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.

11. Awake in Action (AiA)
Awake in Action is a way for practitioners to integrate our meditation practice and our efforts to serve others. AiA provides a means for us all to develop a deeper and more open relationship with the world and to create connections, relationships, and community. We offer refreshments and creative craft projects for residents at the Union Hotel. The Union Hotel is a long-term residential facility in Pioneer Square for 52 disabled formerly homeless adults run by the Downtown Emergency Services Center.

12. Sadhana of Mahamudra
For a taste of Tibetan Buddhism, everyone is welcome to attend a practice called the Sadhana of Mahamudra. Shambhala Centers worldwide do this every two or three weeks around the time of the new moon. This practice is about an hour long and involves reading aloud (in English) a sadhana or text, which consists of meditation and chants.

13. Bicycles and Smiles
The Bicycles and Smiles ride is an annual event on Bicycle Sunday, when a portion of Lake Washington Boulevard is closed for cars. This ride is safe for children. The all-ages Seattle Shambhala Center Lungta Bicycle Club meets and rolls together.

14. Hikes
We have heard that Shambhalians occasionally go hiking together. What could be a better way to connect heaven and earth?

15. Raise the Windhorse!
Raise the Windhorse is a chance to garden, paint, and help out around the center. We meet to work together and then have some food and fun. Watch for the next announcement or check the calendar to join us.


The Shambhala community comes together in many ways – to practice, learn, serve others… and to celebrate! By joining spiritual practice with the practicalities, challenges and joys of everyday life, we aspire to create a society that expresses the dignity of human experience.

16. Shambhala Day
Shambhala Day marks the beginning of the new year and is the most important holiday of the Shambhala mandala. Based on the traditional Tibetan new year’s celebration of Losar, the day is calculated astrologically according to the Tibetan lunar calendar and changes every year to coincide with the annual lunar cycles.

17. Children’s Day
The Children’s Day Celebration on the Winter Solstice is one of four high seasonal celebration days, with a special focus on children and the nourishing light and warmth of community. (Children are the center of many other Shambhala programs, including Child Care, Bodhi School, Family Camp.)

18. Milarepa Day
Milarepa Day celebrates the enlightenment and life example of Milarepa. The celebration involves a full day of practice, which includes chanting the Milarepa sadhana and reading the songs of the lineage teachers in The Rain of Wisdom (Tib: Kagyü Gurtso).

19. Midsummer Day
Midsummer Day is an opportunity for families and friends in Shambhala to enjoy summer fun together. The day might include picnics, swimming and boating, outdoor sports, and music and dance performances. It begins with a lhasang (a traditional offering of juniper smoke) that purifies the environment and empowers the space, the objects, and the beings within it by invoking awakened energy. Everyone is welcome to join in.

20. Harvest of Peace
Harvest of Peace, held around the time of the autumn equinox, is an opportunity for local communities to gather, hear teachings by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, and celebrate the riches of our local cultures and heritage. The Sakyong addresses the international community through a live broadcast delivered through a telephone link with Shambhala Centers around the world.


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *