Shambhala functions entirely through the care and contributions of its members. We depend upon one another for the energy and generosity that keep our doors open, and for the creativity and kindness that provide a space for all to practice and study. Everyone is invited to become a member of the Birmingham Shambhala Meditation Center.

A member of Shambhala makes a connection to mindfulness-awareness practice, and works to integrate that practice into daily life. This connection may also be made through contemplative practices based on mindfulness-awareness. In the local community, and as part of the global mandala of Shambhala, members are dedicated to nurturing enlightened society—relating with others, with our society, and with our environment with kindness and sanity.

What is Membership in Shambhala?

First of all, everyone is welcome to attend community events and programs at Shambhala Centers – there is no requirement to become a member in order to participate, though advanced classes and trainings do have prerequisites. Meditation instruction, public meditation, and some introductory offerings are available without charge, though donations are certainly appreciated.

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 center based on their interests, skills and personal availability.
  • Financial Support: Shambhala is sustained through donations and program revenue. When one becomes a member through a local center, one’s regular financial contributions support the needs of the local center as well as the international Shambhala organization. Making a financial commitment is a very important step along the Shambhala path; it’s a gesture of support to the rest of your Shambhala community, and a clear acknowledgement of the value that you feel Shambhala has in your life. We have no fixed dues amount: the amount of support is always based on one’s ability to contribute. At this time, our current monthly donations range from $5 to $350, with the average donation being about $48, and the median donation being $30. We will be glad to provide information to help you decide how much you can give.  Of course, one can make a financial contribution without being a member.  To do so visit our Donations and Bequests page.

What are the benefits of Membership?

Connection with our community by becoming a member helps support your practice and strengthen your understanding of Shambhala Buddhism in many ways:

  • Members receive ongoing meditation instruction with a personal meditation instructor
  • Membership pin
  • Ability to create a Shambhala account login which gives access to
    • Shambhala’s world-wide network at
    • Member resources at
    • The Member Database which contains your record of contact information and the programs you have attended.  You can search for other Members.
  • Set up your Shambhala account at

Becoming a Member

To discuss Center membership in greater depth, including your options for financial and volunteer support of the Center please contact Amy Feltman at [email protected].  She would be delighted to assist you in becoming a Member of Shambhala.

If you know your are ready to become a member, please fill out our membership form online (coming soon!), and our Treasurer, Nick Buckner, and our Membership Coordinator, Amy Feltman, will be in touch with you.


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