The Shambhala Meditation Center of San Antonio is part of Shambhala International, an international community of 165 meditation centers founded by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, and now led by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. Free meditation instruction is available at all of our centers, along with a wide variety of classes and programs in meditation, Buddhist teachings and other disciplines. Whatever your age, background, or meditation experience, you will find a welcoming community at our Meditation Center.
• Group meditation practice
• Individual meditation instruction by trained and authorized instructors
• Courses in Buddhist studies
• Shambhala Training
• Workshops in contemplative arts
• Family events and community celebrations of Shambhala holidays
Photo slideshow of events in the past year
The San Antonio Shambhala Center holds a unique place in both Buddhist tradition and San Antonio culture, as its first directors, since its founding in a private San Antonio home in 1984, were women. The center has always strived to bridge the vast cultural and economic divides of San Antonio and make Buddhism accessible to Spanish speakers, wealthy and poor citizens.
Founder Elisa Gonzalez was drawn to Buddhism in her youth when she continually asked herself the question: Why is there so much suffering in the world? This question remained with her during her studies at the University of the Americas in Mexico City. When she returned to America and moved to Seattle, she was drawn to study theosophy and later Buddhism. While Buddhism appealed to her, she struggled with what she viewed as the secondary role of women in Buddhist tradition.
In 1984, Elisa moved to San Antonio, already deeply involved in Shambhala Buddhism and eager to open a local center. The first small group of locals, including a four-year old and a dog, met for meditation in her house, later moving to a massage parlor, then a cottage they named "Baby Dharma Dhatun." Eventually, the growing group split in half, with one group forming Corazon de la Sangha, a meditation group dedicated to the teachings of the Vietnamese Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hahn. Elisa, along with Allan and Doria Cross, founded the San Antonio Shambhala Center and moved to their first official building, an indigo painted beauty parlor located in a railroad box car, hidden on a street with no name.
In 1992, the San Antonio Shambhala Center became the first center in the world to receive recognition from the newly installed Sakyong. In her term as director, Elisa taught meditation in both English and Spanish, making Buddhism accessible to the city’s Hispanic community. After moving to a larger location on Evers Road, the San Antonio Shambhala Center moved to their current location on S. St. Mary’s in 2000. From 1992-1998, Doria Cross, who had been among the first group of practitioners in the mid-eighties, took over as the Center’s director. In 2003, Betsy Pond, who had her first experience of Buddhist meditation when the Center was located in a boxcar-cum- beauty parlor, took over. In 2007, Nina Jones, originally from Sweden, took over and successfully let the Center through the worldwide economic crisis. The current director is San Antonio native, Philip Castillo. All directors and staff are volunteers.