FAQ – Answers to some common questions about the Albuquerque Shambhala Meditation Center

Welcome to the Albuquerque Shambhala Meditation Center!

Those new to the Center often like to know what to expect when they visit and we’d like to answer some of the most common questions here. If you have further questions, please email us at: [email protected] or leave a telephone message at:


Are beginners welcome? Do I need meditation experience?

 Everyone is welcome! We have free meditation instruction available at our Open Sitting at 10:00 a.m. You don’t need any prior experience.

What is the cost?

Our Open Sittings , Wednesdays 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. and Sundays 10:00 to noon, are free of charge as is Heart of Recovery on Mondays at 6:00 to 7:30 pm. Donations are gratefully accepted but are never required.

We also offer Shambhala Path programming and Buddhist teachings and these classes normally have a fee. Please visit our Programs and Events ‘drop down’ menu to see what’s on the schedule  and view each event for cost information (including our Generosity Policy), possible prerequisites and registration details.

What do I wear? Is there a dress code?

There isn’t a dress code and participants often wear a range of clothing styles. Many people enjoy wearing what we call “uplifted” dress, a style that can itself vary but typically resembles business casual. The main concern is that you wear something in which you will be comfortable to sit.

Do I need to sit on the floor? Do I need to bring a cushion?

We have a variety of cushions available to help you achieve a comfortable and upright posture. If you don’t wish to sit on the floor we also have chairs available. If you have a cushion or bench of your own you’re always welcome to bring it.

The meditation method taught in Shambhala, unlike some other traditions, does not require complete motionlessness if you are experiencing pain. You are welcome to leave the meditation hall if you need to stretch your legs, stand or lie down.  Please do not leave or enter during opening nor closing chants.

Is it all silent sitting? Is there guided meditation?

All sitting meditation is silent. Open Sittings do not include guided meditations. The practice done at our Open Sittings is shamatha (mindfulness meditation) and instruction in this technique is available Sunday morning.

Sunday Open Sitting (10:00 a.m. – noon) approximately alternates 20 minutes of sitting meditation with 10 minutes of walking meditation.  Morning chants begin the session, starting at 10:00. You are free to come and go at any time, except during the chants.

Wednesday Open Sitting (6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.) follows the same format at Sunday Open Sitting.

Heart of Recovery (Monday at 6:00 pm) can run 60-90 minutes depending on the group attending and includes about 20 minutes of sitting as well as a reading and opportunities to share without cross-talk.

Are Chants Mandatory?

 Chants are optional.  You can remain silent.  If you have questions about the chants ask to be directed to a Meditation Instructor or senior practioner.

Can I come in at any time? Can I call?

Our Center is only staffed during Open Sittings, Heart of Recovery and other scheduled events. Our Center is open due to the generosity of volunteers so we don’t have regular office hours.

If you wish to reach us outside of our normal sitting schedule, please feel free to email us at [email protected] or leave a telephone message at 505-570-4700.  Let us know the information you’re looking for and someone will return your email or call.

Do I need to be Buddhist?

Shambhala has its roots in Tibetan Buddhism but is secular tradition. Buddhists from all lineages are welcome as are those from any other faith or belief systems. There is no requirement to be or to become a Buddhist in order to get involved with Shambhala. Everyone is welcome.

For those interested in Buddhism we do offer additional classes that introduce Buddhist teachings and every few years we offer Refuge Vows. Please see our Programs and Events ‘drop down’ on the website for more information about what we currently have on the schedule.

What are the Meditation Hall Guidelines?

We offer these guidelines to help you and others feel more comfortable.

  • Shoes are not normally worn in the meditation hall.
  • Closed beverage bottles are appreciated.
  • Please silence cell phones and other electronic devices.
  • Talking is kept to a minimum inside the meditation hall.
  • Bowing to the shrine when entering/leaving gives us a moment to be present. It is optional.
  • Chant books are kept off the floor and we avoid stepping over them.
  • Stretching our feet towards the teacher/shrine is considered disrespectful.
  • Filling the center and front sections shows respect for the teacher.
  • During walking meditation, we gauge our speed with others. Neither too fast nor slow.
  • Restrooms are down the hall to the left.
  • Community room is down the hall to the right where you are welcome to enjoy tea, conversation and additional information.