Enlightened Society Assembly

28 June 2017 - 9 July 2017
Acharya David Schneider
Shastri Jane Hope



The Enlightened Society Assembly is a Shambhala mahayana programme that emphasizes the intrinsic goodness of all beings and society, practices that rouse bodhicitta and compassionate openness, and confident activity that engages fully in the world. In particular, living up to its name, this Assembly will focus on how we can create enlightened society on the spot, at home, in our city and nation, and wherever we go. Students will deepen their commitment and intention to manifest basic goodness by taking the Enlightened Society Vow

Participants in the Enlightened Society Assembly also receive and practice the Shambhala Sadhana written by the Sakyong. This powerful practice helps us contemplate these commitments and deepen them over time. The Enlightened Society Assembly brings this sadhana practice together with our previous Shambhala practices. This Assembly will integrate study, practice, and community, and will expand our inquisitiveness and understanding of the Shambhala Buddhist teachings.

Prerequisites: Students applying to Enlightened Society Assembly should have completed the following before the program (please note that these are new requirements):

Shambhala Levels I through V
Everyday Life Series: Meditation, Contentment, Joy, Fearlessness and Wisdom
Rigden Weekend
One Weekthun
One recommendation from your Meditation Instructor, a Shastri, or your Centre Director

Membership in your local Shambhala meditation centre/group or membership in Shambhala for those not affiliated with a local centre.

The Basic Goodness Series is highly recommended - as this material is directly relevant to Enlightened Society Assembly - but it is not required.

Applying & Registering for ESA

Attending Enlightened Society Assembly is a two-part process that includes applying to the program with the Shambhala International Office of Practice and Education and registering with Dechen Chöling center

1. Application - deadline May 3

Your online application should be submitted by May 3, 2017 to the Office of Practice and Education, based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The applications are fully reviewed in order to ensure that each participant is adequately prepared. Note that applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis. If a program reaches capacity before the deadline date, we will close the program from accepting new applications. If you have already started an application you will be able to submit it for review, but you may be put on a waiting list.

Click here to apply

2 - Registration - deadline May 28

Registering with Dechen Chöling Center allows you to pay for the program and requested housing. Registering for housing submits your housing preference, but does not guarantee it. Importantly, registration with Dechen Chöling alone does not guarantee your attendance at Enlightened Society Assembly.
Please do not make airplane reservations until you have received your full acceptance from the Office of Practice and Education.

Click here to register


David Schneider

Acharya David Schneider was born in 1951 in Louisville, Kentucky, and grew up in Pittsburgh, PA.

He began to practice Zen meditation with a local group at Reed College, in Portland, OR and attended sesshins with Joshu Sasaki Roshi in 1970 and 71. In 1985 David was formally accepted by Trungpa Rinpoche as a student. He attended Vajradhatu Seminary in 1986 and staffed Seminary again in 1988.

David wrote Street Zen,  a biography of Issan Dorsey, published in 1993 by Shambhala Publications, and again in 2000 by Marlowe. Street Zen won several prizes, included “Best Buddhist Book of the Year” in 1993. In 1994 he co-edited with Kazuaki Tanahashi a collection of zen stories, titled Essential Zen.

In 1995, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche appointed David Director of Shambhala Europe, a position he held until 2003. David now works for Vajradhatu Publications Europe; he continues as well to pursue writing projects – currently, a biography of Beat poet and zen master Zenshin Philip Whalen – as well as calligraphy exhibitions. Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche appointed David to the post of acharya in 1996.

Jane Hope

Jane-HopeShastri Jane Hope was born in the North of England and studied Fine Art. She belonged to an experimental theatre group called the Exploding Galaxy who performed with Pink Floyd and various other 60’s bands and was employed for 15 years as a Bereavement Counsellor, working with parents whose baby had died. She managed to combine her work life with writing books and has three published books, including “The Beginners Guide to Buddhism”. She was a founder member of the London Shambhala group which began in her home and has taught extensively in UK, North America and Europe. Since 2004 she has been involved in helping to establish Shambhala centres in Ukraine. In 2010, she was appointed by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche as Shastri for Ukraine and London.

Practical information

Arrival day (Wesnesday 28 June): Intro talk at 8 pm. You're invited to come from 3 pm in order to register and settle in your room. Dinner is served at 6.45 pm.
End of program (Saturday 8 July): Closing circle and Banquet in the evening.
Departure day (Sunday 9 July): You may leave anytime (no program). You're welcome to stay for lunch.   Language:  Retreat taught in English. Translation available at no extra costs upon request to be done as early as possible.  Extra fees: The price of your stay displayed below includes the program fee and full board (standard accommodation and organic meals). Not included are the Programme Support Fee (30 euros, formerly known as Application Fee) and the material fee (approximately 65 euros). Also, the annual Dechen Chöling membership fee (15 euros) if ESA is your first program done in our centre this calendar year.