During Vajrayana seminary in the summer of 2005, members of the New York Shambhala Center initiated several meetings regarding attracting and retaining People of Color to the Shambhala Buddhist path.

Various ideas arose from those discussions on how to:

  • Attract populations that are underrepresented in North American Shambhala centers;
  • Maintain current members who are People of Color;
  • Train People of Color who are members of the community to work with their own communities; and
  • Encourage People of Color to attend programs such as Warrior Assembly, dathun, seminary, and
  • Encourage teacher and meditation instructor training.

Inspiring Participation

Some members of the North American Shambhala community believe there is a need for more representation of People of Color among those who teach programs and give meditation instruction. This will inspire newer People of Color to feel welcome in our community.

The racial and ethnic diversity of Shambhala affects our ability to relate to people of various backgrounds who enter our centers, and thus our ability to benefit people of all backgrounds in our increasingly multicultural communities. The Shambhala People of Color Scholarship Fund (SPOCSF) is designed to increase the number of qualified People of Color in the Dharma and Shambhala communities who will contribute to Shambhala’s vision and culture and hold positions as meditation instructors and teachers.

In these roles People of Color will be able to contribute to the richness of our society, transmitting the teachings of basic goodness and offering support to people who share their backgrounds. This will both benefit the entire sangha and help to alleviate suffering among a broader spectrum of people in our local communities and in our diverse world

Currently our community does not reflect the racial diversity of the larger society. Often when People of Color enter our centers for the first time, they do not feel comfortable or a part of the community. The absence of visible minorities is a barrier to their connection with the Dharma. Hence, minimizing this barrier will enable more People of Color to connect with the Dharma.

The SPOCSF was developed to support and encourage People of Color to further develop their practice and study of Shambhala Buddhism to inspire others and to reduce the barriers for future practitioners of color. Support provided by the SPOCSF will contribute to balancing the racial composition of our centers so it will more closely resemble that of the larger society. We believe a scholarship is critical to support and develop diversity within the Shambhala community.