The work of the Montréal Shambhala Centre and much of the work of the global Shambhala community depends on volunteers. Giving our time and talents to the work of the community is a vital form of support and is viewed as part of a member’s practice! Volunteering puts our meditation into action and makes a vital contribution to our programs and events.
There are many opportunities to get involved by supporting ongoing programs. As you progress along the path you can strengthen your practice of ‘meditation in action’ by staffing week-end retreat programs (a great way to review a program for free!); by doing flower arranging for the centre; joining the clean-up team that keeps the centre sparkling; coordinating classes, programs and special events; training to become a program coordinator; and helping in so many different ways. We want to support your practice of generosity and invite you to give back in whatever ways you feel you can best serve.
The following are some examples of the many roles held by volunteers at Montréal Shambhala:
- STAFFING PROGRAMS AND COURSES – Classes and programs at the Montréal Shambhala Centre are run by volunteers who offer their time and skills to make each program and event an enjoyable and meaningful opportunity for participants to practice, learn and grow. Staff serve a variety of roles including: program coordinator, time keeper during meditation sessions, doorkeeper for (the) same, translator, teacher service, preparing and cleaning up refreshments, etc.
- COORDINATORS – These valued organisers oversee the many details that bring a program, class or celebration together. They are the liaison with the teacher; they assemble and oversee the team responsible for the many tasks that allow an event to blossom. A good coordinator and team are the container in which a teacher and participants can dance with the teachings.
- TIMEKEEPERS (Umdzes) AND DOORKEEPERS – All public meditation sessions require the presence of the time keeper to hold the space for meditation. This person signals the beginning and end of the sitting and walking meditation sessions, and provides an example of good posture and focus which helps the assembly in their own meditation. S/he also guides the conversation during the tea post-meditation. Door keepers keep an eye on the whole environment of the centre making sure that people’s needs are met, regulate the flow of people into the meditation hall, answer the phone to admit participants and ensure that the atmosphere is warm and conducive to practice.
- TRANSLATION – Classes and programs are mostly taught in French with English translation as needed. When English-speaking guest teachers come to teach in Montréal, French translation is likewise provided. A good translator is crucial to the transmission of these precious teachings. We also need people who are able to do written translation in either language.
- UPKEEP – Shrine keepers are responsible for maintaining a fresh and uplifted shrine and meditation hall. This is a great opportunity for a Vajrayana student or a Sacred World Assembly graduate with understanding of the Shambhala rituals. The Kitchen Elf, a Montréal term for the kitchen keeper, directly supports the ever-present spirit of celebration at Shambhala where good food and drink figure prominently. A clean and cheerful kitchen is a must!
- FLOWER ARRANGING (Ikebana) – Ikebana practitioners are responsible for purchasing flowers, creating and maintaining flower arrangements that delight the senses and uplift the atmosphere.
- COMPUTER SKILLS – There are many ways for computer-savvy people to be of help: entering information into our data-base; updating the website; organizing and sending program adverts on a regular basis, etc.
- IF YOU HAVE A SPECIFIC SKILL like carpentry, painting, library arts, etc. that you feel would benefit the Centre, your time and talent would be greatly appreciated!