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Our History

In September 1995, Chuck and Mary Whetsell moved to Birmingham from Lexington Kentucky.  Chuck had been the director of the Lexington Shambhala Center from 1985 to 1995 and Mary had served as Comptroller there.  They joined Janet Bronstein, who had originally joined the Shambhala community also in Lexington back in 1979, and had lived in Birmingham since 1984.  The BSMC officially began the first Monday in December, 1997 when we first offered meditation instruction and practice at the Unitarian Church.  The first Shambhala Training Level One was offered in Birmingham in February 1999.  For several years we shared space with many generous groups, including the Unitarian Church, the Pilgrim Congregational (Blue Roof) church, Beloved Community church in Avondale, the Friends Meeting House, Oasis Women’ Center and Girls Inc. in Crestwood.  We moved into our current space at 714 37th Street south in October 2002.

A Community LunchWho We Are

Our Birmingham Shambhala community is diverse – we are of all ages and backgrounds, we live in different neighborhoods, and we all bring meditation into our lives in different ways.  Our Center serves as a place where we all connect around areas of interest: the arts, social action, environmental issues, Shambhala Buddhist teachings, living life more sanely and sharing sanity and kindness with others.  Our Center is also a source of support and encouragement for everyone exploring the richness of meditation practice.


Community Events

Movie Night presenting Happy

August 16th

Award-winning Director Roko Belic takes us from the bayous of Louisiana to the deserts of Namibia, from the beaches of Brazil to the villages of Okinawa to explore the secrets behind our most valued emotion - happiness. Continue »

How Do Communities Reconcile? A Human Rights Perspective

September 18th

Over time and around the world, social groups have suffered oppression from more powerful groups within their own communities. With courage, determination, and support from allies within and beyond their borders, many of these situations have been challe Continue »

Joining Love and Power, Tibetan Buddhism and the Civil Rights movement

with Acharya Judith Simmer-Brown

September 25th

At the UAB Honors House, 1190 10th Avenue South, Birmingham, Alabama 35233, and hosted by the UAB Honors Program.. This public program is offered as a lead up to the visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Birmingham on October 24-27. Continue »

Buddhist Meditation, Neuroplasticity, and the Dalai Lama

with Dr. Gitendra Uswatte

October 16th

A public talk about what scientists have discovered about how Buddhist meditation techniques change the very structure of the brain and the role that the His Holiness the Dalai Lama has played in promoting this area of scientific inquiry. Continue »