Social Action LA

Shambhala Social Action LAAbout Shambhala Social Action LA 

After the last presidential election, a few of us in the Los Angeles Shambhala Community started to wonder what was the relevance of our practice within the political realm. If the promise of our meditation practice is to increase resilience and deepen compassion in order to address the challenges at hand, what might the marriage between meditation and activism look like? This was the question we decided to contemplate, discuss and organize around.

From the outset we decided that though motivated by recent political events, this group would not be anti-Trump. Instead it would focus on taking Enlightened Society principles off the cushion and more directly into society itself.  So, as a starting point for organizing, we laid out a few central objectives:

  1. Become actively engaged within the larger political realm, supporting what we felt were Enlightened Society principles.
  2. Reach out for more inclusive dialogue and understanding across the political and socio-economic spectrum, hopefully repairing fractured discourse.
  3. Deeply explore what Enlightened Society means within the politics of society building.

After getting excellent guidance from Acharya Emily Bower, we scheduled listening sessions at our two larger Centers. There was a lot of energy in the room at both, with a lot of people wanting to get involved in myriad ways.   We were, however, mindful of taking time to get it right before beginning to take action. 

At this point, leadership of our little (and vocal) group had coalesced around myself and Chris Bomba, another Los Angeles practitioner. After more discussion, he and I refined the View.  We wanted it to be authentic, heartfelt, non-partisan, actionable, scalable and replicable across the entire worldwide Sangha. We also landed on a name: Shambhala Social Action LA. 



Following the Sakyong’s View that all aspects of society are gateways to manifesting Enlightened Society, Shambhala Social Action – LA will focus on non-partisan aspects in the political/social realm, supporting groups we feel are doing work in accord with Enlightened Society Principles. Though motivated by recent political events, this View is specifically NOT anti-Trump (to the dismay of some who attended our initial meetings) — what we are attempting is to move beyond politics.  Of course, these days one could argue that nothing is not political, but we have to start somewhere.

We plan to engage in three main areas: 

  • Environment – Focusing more on stewardship and recovery than on advocacy, particularly in areas that cut across all politics.
  • Voter Education/Rights – Possibly more partisan, but we will focus more on countering disenfranchisement than anything else, in essence making sure the rights and voices of all citizens are equally heard.
  • Political Diversity Discussion – This might the most interesting, but hardest to do. We plan on creating places where people of differing political viewpoints can discuss issues with active listening and open-hearts. Given that most people in our L.A. Sangha are fairly liberal, we hope to adopt a conservative “sister-group” and begin regular discussions in hope of breaking down “Us v. Them” divisions. 

Jason, Shambhala Los Angeles Sangha CommunityFinally, we scheduled our first Action In the World, which is posted below.  We will, initially, hold one of these each quarter … and see where that leads.

We’d love to hear from any other Shambhala Center doing anything similar.

We would love to compare notes, chat about what is working and coordinate for larger actions across the Sangha.

Thanks so much!

– Jason Elias, Venice, CA 

See also website: 




Heal The Bay Beach Cleanup

Come help keep Santa Monica Bay clean!  The Shambhala Social Action group will be participating in Heal the Bay’s monthly beach cleanup, which this month is at the Venice Beach Pier, a quick trip down Washington Blvd.from Shambhala Westside. Meditation beforehand will make it a contemplative exercise as well as a fun one.  

  • Date: Saturday, June 17, 2017
  • Time: 9 AM -12 Noon, (9 AM:  Meditation on the beach.  10 – 12 PM: Cleanup)
  • Location: Venice Beach Pier, 3100 Ocean Front Walk, Tower Buccaneer, South of Pier

Family and friends are welcome!

Contact coordinator Chris Bomba — [email protected] — to sign up and receive details. 

For further information about Heal The Bay beach cleanups, visit their website:  

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