Volunteer Duty Statements


The Davis Shambhala Center is an all-volunteer organization with many opportunities for attendees to step up and offer their knowledge, skills and abilities to help propagate dharma.  How might gatherings of basic goodness manifest as enlightened society?

Below, we attempt to briefly summarize the responsibilities for each job and identify the prerequisites for any position, if applicable. Jobs are grouped within the three pillars: Government (i.e., Administration), Protection (Dorje Kasung), and the Pillar of Practice and Education.  In addition to the many job descriptions provided below, the Practice and Education pillar includes seven “teams” for those Shambhalians wishing to sign up for a group activity.

NOTE:  The primary purpose of this document is to broadly identify and clarify volunteer’s responsibilities.  This document is subordinate to all specific duty statements provided by Shambhala International for all council member and other top level positions.  For some of the “teams” listed below and where otherwise noted, there are more detailed duty statements or check lists from which the following duty descriptions have been distilled.

The Pillar of Government (Administration)

Center Director

Appointed by the Sakyong, this one individual feels a sense of direct connection with the lineage holder, and this empowerment is also clearly felt by and appreciated by the local community.  The Center Director chairs the governing council and is therefore responsible for “integrating the three pillars.”  The Director leads the development of long-range plans in accordance with the Sakyong’s vision and mandala-wide policies.  The Director sends nominations for council members to Kalapa Court for appointment.  The Director represents the Shambhala community to the municipality, region and the broader Shambhala mandala.  The Director working with the Chagdzo, ensures the financial well-being of the Center and cultivates and documents volunteers and develops leaders in the Center now and for the future.  The Director is the principle link between the Center and other Centers and the higher governing bodies of the mandala.  The Director leads by example in the practice and study of the Shambhala dharma.

The Center Director presides over a wide variety of administrative jobs including:

  • Administrative Assistant to the Council
    This volunteer documents the discussions and action items associated with all Council meetings.  This documentation sometimes includes the drafting of a shortened version of the meeting minutes for possible inclusion into the subsequent newsletter.


  • Membership
    This volunteer ensures that anyone considering becoming a member is given the information necessary to make that decision.  This person then facilitates the process by arranging dues payments, identifying an MI if desired, getting the person into the database and on the list serve, updating membership brochures, ensuring there are sufficient keys and membership pins on hand, and identifying the members who have joined the Center since the prior Shambhala Day for our annual new-members recognition ceremony.  Most importantly, this person needs to relate well with newcomers.  This person is the owner of the membership portion of the Shambhala International Database (SDB).  For a detailed listing of the duties, see the  “Membership Coordination Check List.”


  • Outreach / Publicity
    This volunteer helps notify the sangha and the public of upcoming events by generating brochures, pamphlets, list serve broadcasts, Facebook updates, and announcements to external newsletters and the press.  This person requires an aesthetic visual sense plus a knowledge of graphics and the ability to communicate effectively in writing.


  • Audio / Visual
    Working under the lead person, these volunteers operate all equipment necessary to put on a class or other event requiring the television, laptop, sound recording device, and amplification equipment.  This person keeps all equipment in working order including battery recharging.  This person needs to understand how all equipment works together, and may be called upon to assist in documenting instructions in the use of all such equipment and training others.  This person ensures that recordings are made available on the web in a secure location.


  • Laptop System Administrator
    This volunteer will control all software updates to the Center’s laptop(s).  This person requires a knowledge of Windows and the ability to understand the Center’s laptop and be able to communicate that to others.


  • Website
    This webmaster upgrades and otherwise updates the website webpages including the website calendar and this Volunteers Manual.  This person needs to understand how to manipulate the Blue Mandala templates for our website using the Word Press document management system.


  • Newsletter
    This volunteer generates the monthly newsletter and is responsible for ensuring that it is printed timely (i.e., available for the first Sunday of each month) with sufficient copies available for the community room table and the outside display case.  Also, sufficient copies of the website calendar need to be available on the community room table.  This person requires an aesthetic visual sense plus a knowledge of graphics and the ability to communicate effectively in writing including the ability to work with Copyland, our printer.


  • Facebook
    This volunteer updates the Center’s Facebook page, monitors updates to this social media site, and broadcasts periodically any upcoming events.  This person needs to be thoroughly knowledgeable of the Facebook interface.


  • List Server and the Basic-goodness Website
    This volunteer manages the Center’s list serve presence (the current email address is: [email protected]).  This includes the addition and deletion of access rights based upon membership status.  Also this person monitors the system to ensure it is being used properly.   There is also a Basic-goodness.net website that is occasionally used for the storage and download of ongoing class documents under the stewardship of this volunteer.


  • Shambhala Database (SDB)
    This person(s) superintends the update of the SDB by overseeing the transactions inputted by SDB Admins.  This includes approving program registrations, program completions by students, and membership status and contact information changes.


  • Library (Books and Media)
    This volunteer(s) ensures that the two libraries are current (i.e., the addition of new materials) and in working order.  This includes the proper shelving of materials, items are being checked out properly and returned in a timely fashion.


  • Volunteers Coordinator
    This person is knowledgeable of the resource needs of the Center and recruits volunteers as required.  This person owns and therefore maintains this Volunteers Manual including the updating and forwarding to the Webmaster of the Volunteer Position Leaders, this Duty Statements document, and all coordination check lists.


Head of Culture and Decorum

As a representative of the Shambhala Office of Culture and Decorum, this individual communicates new forms and enhances the use of forms and protocols at the Center to uplift the appearance of the Center and suggest how our forms can be used to maintain kindness and dignity in all of our interactions.  This individual is a leader in creating the environment and atmosphere of Kalapa Court in the Center by extending Shambhala culture and decorum to all members and to our guests.  This person works with Center leadership to design formal occasions, incorporate Court principles and hospitality into these formats, and to enhance cultural events, celebrations and a sense of community.  This person encourages and inspires local community members and leaders to share Shambhala culture with other groups and individuals in the area.  A commitment to Shambhala and a steady relationship and commitment to meditation practice is necessary.  A sense of humor is very helpful.

  • Environment and Facilities
    This volunteer is responsible for the periodic upkeep of the Center as well as the non-periodic repair needs of the Center such as replacing ballasts, fixing front doors, etc.  All activity shall be in accord with reasonable feng shui requirements as directed by the Head of Culture and Decorum.


  • Nalanda Arts
    The volunteer(s) oversee the various arts-related programs listed below, and coordinating the periodic Shambhala art exchanges that we share with other Bay Area centers (e.g., Craneway Pavillion events) or with the City of Davis (e.g., Artober).


  • Tai Chi and Sensory Awareness
    This volunteer is responsible for the scheduling and leading these two programs including the instruction of students in group and one-on-one sessions as deemed appropriate.


  • Ikebana
    Volunteers provide weekly flower arrangements to uplift the Center.  The person might have an understanding of basic flower arranging techniques such as the Sogetsu school or another object arrangement discipline.


  • Miksang
    Miksang is a Tibetan word meaning “good eye.”  It represents a form or contemplative photography based on the Dharma Art teachings of Chogyam Trungpa, in which the eye is in synchronization with the contemplative mind.  The result of this particular perception of the world, combined with photography, produces a peculiar and open way of seeing the world.  Miksang photographs are posted on the “Miksang Davis, California” Facebook site and in the DSMC monthly newsletter.


  • Writers Group
    Volunteers provide poetry or prose for the monthly gathering of the writers group.  With the author’s permission some materials may be included in the monthly newsletter, and occasionally, volunteers read at dharma events.  The poet laureate may document local events and other dharmic observations in poetic form generally, and encourages the writing of verse by others.

Head of Societal Health and Well Being

Appointed by the Director of the Shambhala Office of Societal Health & Well Being, the role of the local Societal Health and Well-Being (SHWB) Director is to promote and support the ongoing development of community within a local Shambhala Center.  The Director safeguards the view that a community that enjoys being together, celebrating together and taking care of one another is an integral part of our practice and is as important as meditating and studying together.  The SHWB Director holds a seat on the local Center’s Council and is the official liaison to the central office of the same name.  The SHWB Director forms and leads a local committee dedicated to fostering a warm, inviting, and caring community of practitioners, this polishing and shining the Third Jewel of Sangha.  Activities of this committee include:

  1. Fostering greater communication and contact among community members, including focused community building efforts.
  2. Ensuring there is a welcoming, hospitable environment for all who enter the Center.
  3. Developing awareness and pro-active sensitivity as regards all aspects of diversity: racial, ethnic, socio-economic, sexual orientation, age, gender, physical ability, etc.
  4. Making sure there are regular celebrations and social activities, including all Nyida Days (in collaboration with the Office of Culture and Decorum).
  5. Caring for the health and well-being of community members when illness, conflict or social difficulties arise.
  6. Promoting responsiveness by the Center to local and global environmental and social issues; and
  7. Ensuring that needs of families and children are completely interwoven into the fabric of community life.


The SHWB head maintains the SHWB Manual and presides over several functions including:

  • Rising Suns Children’s Program
    Currently, the program is limited to certain Sunday mornings.   The volunteer program director determines whether there are sufficient child care resources for an event, and thereafter ensures that there is sufficient staffing and/or other resources (e.g., snacks, basketballs and frisbees, books, crayons, etc.). This person coordinates activities and policies with regional and / or other local Centers.  This person is the primary liaison amongst parents and between parents and the Council.  This person is ultimately responsible for ensuring compliance with State and local childcare requirements and the Shambhala Child Protective Policy.   This person promotes the program via any publicity media available.  As with each of the Council positions, there is a separate detailed duty statement list of possible activities for Rising Suns program director.Secondly, the lead staff person coordinates the children’s activities for any given event, and will arrive early to provide set-up assistance as may be required.  This person will provide friendly supervision to children and notify parents when problems arise using creative problem-solving to help children with conflict resolution.  This lead person will get to know each individual child and adapt activities and care-giving style as needed.  Lastly, a second adult need be in attendance at all times.  These persons will provide support to the lead staff person.


  • Patient Advocacy
    The volunteer helps sangha families navigate the health care system.  This includes providing transportation to medical appointments; sitting in on doctor-patient appointments; providing input / referrals in areas of expertise such as pain management, bowel management, caregiving arrangements, geriatric counseling, dementia care, hospice care, etc.


  • Patient / Survivor Support
    The volunteer provides support in cooking, cleaning, baby sitting, pet sitting, and general transportation support.


  • Neighborhood Court
    Neighborhood Court, in collaboration with the Yolo Co. District Attorney, seeks to address nonviolent and low-level crimes through community-based solutions (i.e., restorative justice) to swiftly redress the harm caused by such offenses outside the traditional criminal justice system. Volunteers serving as panelists and facilitators have agreed to meet with the parties involved in an effort to reach an agreement about how to repair the harm. These persons are trained in restorative justice and problem solving.  There is a one-year minimum commitment required for “panelists” and a two-year minimum commitment for “facilitators.” Davis Shambhala Center is an authorized referral agency for Neighborhood Court, and as such, the lead person for any program might be asked to sign an attendance document confirming an offender has received meditation instruction and visited the Center as agreed upon by the Court.


  • Prisoner Support
    Volunteers will draft letters to prisoners.  They will provide dharma books, magazines and other materials and they may provide on-site visits.


  • Shambhala Shipping
    Volunteers help a fellow sangha member move into town, move out, move content into storage, or maybe even help provide temporary storage for a sangha member’s stuff.


  • Shambhala Shuttle
    Volunteers provide transport to airports, train or bus stations or to a dharma activity at our Center or at another Center. This service includes “designated drivers” for any dharma event.


  • Housing
    This volunteer finds housing for non-Davis participants to programs hosted in Davis. This is routinely done via listserv broadcast solicitations for sleeping accommodations.  The Housing Coordinator receives replies and ultimately connects the two parties.


Pillar of Economy

Head of Finance (Chagdzo)

Appointed by the Kalapa Court, this individual provides the linkage for all financial matters between the local Center and the Chagdzo Kyi Khyap.  This person is ultimately responsible for the management of the Center’s finances including advising the Center Director on financial matters and the maintenance of the Center’s accounting records and for reporting the financial status to the Council and to Shambhala International. The Head of Finance (also known as the Comptroller and Chagdzo) holds the view of relating to money in a sane way, and appreciates that there is a decorum of finances, and can work comfortably with and describe for others the proper financial decorum. This includes such areas as membership policy, program pricing, and teaching gifts. This individual retains these records including all contracts (e.g., leases) and ensures adequate separation of duties and other internal controls over the collection, disbursement and investment of funds.   This individual supervises three assistant comptrollers as discussed below:

  • Accounts Receivable
    This volunteer collects and deposits monies into the Center’s First Northern account. This is done via in-person bank deposits as well as invoking monthly “direct deposits.”  At the end of the month and before the Council meeting, this person provides an Excel spreadsheet to the Comptroller, the Center Director, and to the other assistant comptrollers identifying all income for the month segregated into ledger accounts dictated by the Head of Finance.  This person requires a knowledge of credit / debit card entries and Excel.  Before Shambhala Day, this person identifies for the Membership Coordinator the membership status changes as these can be determined based upon to dues payments for the prior year.


  • Accounts Payable / Bursar
    This volunteer is responsible for the timely payment of Center expenses such as rent, utilities, some program expenses, supplies, books and other education materials, donations to other dharma center entities, etc.  This person annually files for the Center’s business license and the property tax church exemption and maintains accounts as required (e.g., Penguin Random House, AT&T, etc.). All expenses are reported to the Head of Finance, the Center Director and the other assistant comptrollers at the end of each month and before the Council meeting.  All supporting documents are forwarded annually to the Comptroller for post audit when requested. For more details, please see the Bursar’s Coordination Check List.


  • Programs Accounting / Registrar
    Shambhala Training levels, evening classes and special weekend programs require special accounting so that we can keep track of net income (hopefully!) for each event. The record keeping procedures are directed by and the resulting accounting records are forwarded to the “programs accounting” volunteer who ensures adequate internal controls.  This person forwards summary data to the Comptroller as prescribed by the Comptroller.  For more details, please see the “Registration Coordination Check List.”

Pillar of Protection (Dorje Kasung)


Appointed by the Dorje Kasung Regimental Command, the Rusung is the leader of the Pillar of Protection within the Center and community. This individual embodies and presents the teachings and practices of the Dorje Kasung, and is responsible for the protection of the teachers, teachings and the community. This person is responsible for the overall development, training and inspired activities of the members of the Dorje Kasung.  The Rusung is an engaged member of the Regimental Command Group and consults with the Regimental Commander as needed. The Rusung cultivates clan spirit and tradition, comradeship, commitment, a healthy sense of competition, and importantly, a sense of humor. The Rusung communicates honestly, notes exemplary Dorje Kasung service, inspires and facilitates Buddhist, Shambhala and Dorje Kasung practices for all those under the Rusung’s command. The Rusung protects and serves the Acharyas and Shambhala teachers of this lineage, educating others in how to do this and serving students and teachers alike.

  • Khenchung
    This member of the Dorje Kasung, appointed by the Center Rusung, is available to assist the Rusung in carrying out the responsibilities of the Rusung.


  • Dorje Kasung Staff
    These staff pledge to keep the vision of the Kingdom of Shambhala, to defend the teachings against perversion, to protect the precious persons of the Sakyong and the Sakyong Wangmo, and to ward off any persons who may endanger the well-being, interests or property of the lineage, and of the Shambhala Mandala. Dorje Kasung work tirelessly for the benefit of others as they perform their duties. They work with discretion and respect the confidentiality of all affairs of the Shambhala Mandala and vow not to exercise the power inherent in their position for personal advantage.


Pillar of Practice and Education

Directors of Practice and Education

Appointed by the Shambhala Office of Practice and Education, this Director(s) embodies and guides the teaching of the view and practices of the Shambhala Buddhist dharma. This individual along with the Shastri, is responsible for transmitting the Shambhala Buddhist path, view, and practices, and for mentoring teachers and meditation instructors. This person supports teachers in the delivery and consistent application of the policies and curriculum of the Shambhala Buddhist dharma. The Director is responsible for all executive functions while the Shastri holds the teaching seat. The Director oversees and cultivates the ongoing practice and education of members, both newer students and advanced, as well as ensuring that newcomers are welcomed into our Shambhala Society and provided with appropriate opportunities to learn meditation and study of the dharma.

In collaboration with the Council and Shastri, this Director coordinates all programs, develops marketing plans, strategies and programs for the Center, and develops the annual schedule of events to support all practitioners.  This person is liaison with Shambhala International and coordinates with other Centers in the region.

  • Teachers
    A hierarchy of teachers and mentorship flows from the Sakyong to the Kalapa Acharya to the Deans of the Teachers’ Academy & Meditation Instruction to the Acharyas, to the Shastris, to Local Teachers, Meditation Instructors, Assistant Directors, and finally to Shambhala Guides. The Shastri brings the current understanding of the Shambhala Buddhist vision and teachings to their Center. The Shastri teaches, mentors and thereby strengthens the local teaching mandala, provides path guidance to students of all levels, provides feedback to the Office of Practice and Education, collaborates with local leadership on the choice of teachers, scheduling, and teacher authorizations.


  • Meditation Instruction
    The Head Meditation Instructor is responsible for the three levels of instructors at the Center. This person ensures that all subordinates are instructing students in accordance with the Sakyong’s directions. Shambhala Guides are authorized to provide the orientation or the basic meditation instruction.  Practice Instructors are further trained to provide the introductory instruction plus additional teaching / discussion group services. Meditation Instructors provide all of the above, and most importantly, are authorized to have assigned students with whom they have an ongoing working relationship.


  • Shrine Room Responsibilities
    Training for these positions such as timekeeper, hallkeeper, gatekeeper, and shrine maintenance chores, etc. is available periodically by invitation for those who have been coming to the Center for a while and who are working towards a regular sitting practice.

    • Timekeeper
      The timekeeper is a reference point for good posture and wakefulness. The timekeeper opens the sitting period and leads the liturgy. The timekeeper rings the gong to signal sitting and walking meditation, breakfast/lunch and tea breaks, and the close of meditation periods. There are three gongs to begin the morning meditation and one gong to signal the beginning and end of each meditation session. Two gongs signal the end of sitting before breaks such as breakfast/lunch/dinner and tea.  One single clack of the gandi signals the end of walking meditation. Finally, the timekeeper leaves the room set-up appropriately for whatever is scheduled next.  If nothing further is scheduled for the day, the timekeeper is responsible for ensuring the shrine is properly closed.
    • Hallkeeper
      The hallkeeper acts as a reminder of wakefulness.  At intervals during the sitting periods, the hallkeeper may walk around the hall, wake people up who have fallen asleep, and correct posture (Note: program directors and assistant directors are the only ones who should correct posture). The hallkeeper is responsible for adjusting heating or cooling and otherwise attending to the comfort of the shrine room and shall attend to anyone in the room who appears to need assistance.  On Sunday mornings, the hallkeeper leads the announcements, collects the chant books, and otherwise assists the timekeeper.
    • Gatekeeper
      The gatekeeper sits by the entrance to the meditation hall as a “guardian” of the practice environment.  As directed by the timekeeper on Sunday mornings, the gatekeeper gongs the assembled throng to queue up for entering the shrine room.  The gatekeeper may ask late-comers to sit outside the meditation hall until there is an appropriate time to enter and otherwise directs late-comers to the child care offering or to beginners meditation instruction in the Annex.  If a meditator flees the shrine room, the gatekeeper attends to the needs of that person, if applicable.
    • Shrinekeeper
      This volunteer is responsible for the appropriate set-up and cleanliness of the main shrine, annex shrine, and Mahakala shrine.  This person is also responsible for the maintenance of our uplifted practice environment and materials including chants, stroke materials for Directors, feast implements, etc.

Practice and Education Teams

The Council wishes to recruit volunteers “by job” as itemized above and also “by team” for those Shambhalians wishing this option.  A “team” is identified for each event-type for which the Center is “open for business” e.g., weekly Foundations of Shambhala.  Each team has a committee who reports to the Practice and Education Pillar and to the Council as may be required. Each team may include duties that cut across multiple pillars.  Any Acharya visit, for example, would inevitably involve all three pillars. In these cases, clarification of duties within a team rests with the team leader who will find direction within the duty statements defined above and in more detailed duty statement documents.

  • Program Coordinators & Staff Teams
    All programs require a program coordinator and generally additional staff support.

    • Weekend Programs Staff
      Volunteers are recruited from those individuals who have taken Shambhala Training Level III or above. Unlike Shambhala Training weekends, there are typically no prerequisites to staffing other weekend programs.  Under the direct supervision of the Program Director and Assistant Director (see “Teachers” above), Program Coordinators and staff facilitate a smooth-running program to provide a container for program participants.  Duties include among other things: scheduling, registration, timekeeping, announcements, food preparation and cleanup, interview escorts, discussion group participation, and monitoring the well-being of fellow staff and participants.  For a detailed listing of possible duties, see the Program-Coordination-Check-List-Weekends. For Mac and/or Safari users, clicking this link may automatically download the Word file to your “Downloads” folder, requiring you to find the file and manually open it in Word.
    • Evening Programs Staff
      The duties described above under “Weekend Programs” generally apply to a lesser extent to evening programs. For a detailed listing of possible duties, see the Program-Coordination-Check List-Evenings.


  • Practice Coordinators & Staff Team Members
    All formal practice situations require a practice coordinator and generally additional staff support.

    • Sunday Morning Shrine Room Teams
      A team is assigned for each of the potential five Sundays of the month, and we call them:  Tiger, Lion, Garuda, Dragon and Fifth Sunday. There are three positions that need to be filled each Sunday:  the timekeeper, hallkeeper, and gatekeeper the duties for each of which are described above.
    • Weekday Mornings Team
      Every weekday morning at 7:00, we gather for sitting with breakfast and discussion scheduled for 8:00.  Chores include shrine room set-up; timekeeper / gatekeeper assignments; food preparation and cleanup; collection and response to answering machine and USPS mail inquiries, etc.  Volunteers are recruited from the attendees that morningFor more details regarding the duties of this team, please see the “Weekday Morning Meditation / Breakfast Check List.”
    • Shambhala After Dark Team
      The Young Meditator’s Night is a space to connect with a community of fellow meditators, and to share our experience as young people in this unique time and space. This every-Wednesday 8:00 PM gathering includes meditation, contemplation and discussion. A committee administers the program and reports periodically to the Council.
    • Sadhana of Mahamudra
      On the evening of every new moon and full moon, this sadhana is available to all sangha. Each evening consists of shamatha practice, a short explanation of the practice if there is a new participant(s), the leading of the liturgy and the evening closing chant(s). The shrine water is disposed of, and the room straightened if necessary. Staffing for this is limited to senior students.
    • Shambhala Sadhana
      This sadhana practice occurs every Tuesday morning at 7:00 without feast and periodically with feast. Participants are eligible to attend this practice if they have been given the transmission. There may be a brief moment of shamatha before the liturgy and depending upon the venue and timing of the event, closing chant(s) may be done. Staffing for this is limited to authorized students.
    • Tuesday Evening Meditation Instruction (MI)
      Meditation instruction is available every Sunday morning at 9:00 AM and Tuesday evenings at 7:00 or by appointment. MIs are assigned by the head Meditation Instructor.