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Posted on August 04, 2010

Tom was one of the early students of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, who founded Shambhala International in the 1970’s.  Shambhala is unique in Buddhist practice, to the extent it combines traditional Tibetan Buddhist practices with Shambhala’s goal of creating an enlightened society. Tom says of the practical experience that he and other practitioners have had reaching out to the larger community:

“Meditation practice has been recognized as an effective method for relieving stress and promoting good health. Meditation cultivates a strong and supple mind that helps a person navigate the challenges of living in complicated world. Our center hopes to make the mediation practice of mindfulness and awareness more available to the larger community.”

The Meditation Center is located on the northeast corner of Sheridan Road at Sherwin Avenue, a couple of blocks east of the Jarvis red line stop. The building originally was a private residence, when Illinois Masonic Hospital converted the property to a woman’s health center. The building was subsequently acquired by Shambhala in 1996.

Ever since then, there has been meditation instruction offered whenever there was an open meditation session was being conducted. It is estimated that by now, hundreds if not thousands, of members of the interested public have received meditation instruction and training at the Center.  That includes numerous Loyola students, and neighbors who live close to the Center’s Sheridan at Sherwin location

Today, the Center also offers numerous Shambhala programs, including advanced meditation practice. The Dharma Arts Program has courses in flower arrangement, contemplative photography, and meditative archery. The Center is dedicated to helping people of all religions and traditions to discover their inherent sanity, gentleness and humor.

The Center offers two introductory courses in meditation. These include an Introductory course, Learn to Meditate. This half-day course will be offered on September 23rd. The registration fee is $25. There is also Meditation in Everyday Life, which is part of an ongoing Buddhist educational program. Members of the Center are also available as volunteers for individual instruction in meditation practice.

The Shambhala Center currently has a hundred and sixty members, many of whom live in the Rogers Park and Evanston communities.  The Shambhala Center continues to grow, both in terms of active members, and the activities its sponsors. Tom summarized the group’s plan for the future: “We want to strengthen our Center’s well-being and our sense of community, while we further extend ourselves in the service of the greater community.. Managing the group’s resources, including its volunteer effort, will be my first priority.”

The Shambhala Center’s web address is The phone number is 773/743-8147.

Peter Fugiel, Village Green columnist

(Peter volunteered his gardening skills to the Center in its earlier years to help stabilize the buildings’ gardens and adjacent parkways.)

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