• $25.00 – Application Fee

Date & Time Details: Registration and check-in at 5pm on Wednesday, June 26th, followed by dinner and talk. Training ends the evening of Monday, June 30th. July 1st is a travel day. Base tuition is $525, including meals but not lodging. Application deadline has been extended to May 1, 2019.

Email us about program

Initial Educator Training

With Dr. Shanté Paradigm Smalls

June 26 - July 1, 2019

Space is limited to 30 people

Sky Lake and Dr. Shanté Paradigm Smalls are pleased to offer this pilot training program for students who have a strong personal meditation practice and feel inspired and ready to help others on their meditative journeys. By completing this training, you prepare yourself to begin a practice of listening to, encouraging, and supporting new meditators on their practice path.

Role of Meditation Educator/Facilitator

The role of beginning meditation educator is to be a resource, guide, friend, and host to newcomers within the Shambhala Center for programs, events, and groups and also to reach out beyond our Centers to offer initial meditation to individuals or groups in ones local community. An important aspect of this is to offer one-on-one meditation instruction to new meditators or to groups of new meditators. However, the emphasis is on meeting new meditators as they enter your local center or wherever you might meet them. This training assists you in offering them meditation guidance and instruction according to their particular aspiration and needs. This training will also bolster skills to lead and facilitate community groups like Queer Dharma, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, & POC) groups, Heart of Recovery, 30s and Under, or other community groups that may arise locally.

You will be authorized to give initial meditation instruction and engage in one follow-up meeting with a student to review the practice. You also are authorized to give group instruction when leading community or discussion groups. Things are changing rapidly within our sangha and in the world, we need people who are inspired to practice as well as those who want to help newer people along their meditation practice path. Those who take this initial Educator Training should make sure to get their own Meditation Instructor, if they don’t already have one. It is vital that anyone in a teacher, instructor, or facilitator role have their own mentor–this is something we will discuss at the training. Before you come to the training, please identify someone at your center who can serve as your mentor in this role. We will be in communication with them after this training. 



  • Completion of Shambhala Training Levels I-V
  • Completion of a weekthün (recommended, not required)
  • Strong regular meditation practice
  • Consistent meditation practice for two years
  • Commitment to working on issues of social justice
  • Commitment to reducing harm in one’s own life and local community
  • Sign the Care and Conduct Agreement (at the training)


Skills Covered in the Training

  • Giving initial meditation instruction to individuals and groups
  • Communicating skillfully on: meditation practice, deep listening, and working with body, thoughts, and emotions
  • Engaging, listening, speaking from the heart
  • Working with the precise, open and beyond meditation practices as taught in Shambhala Training
  • Leading and facilitating discussion, community, and affinity groups
  • Centering Practice and Study in your own life

This training can be a step towards becoming a Shambhala Path Meditation Instructor (SPMI) or Mentor in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition. However, students authorized by this training certainly may serve and deepen in this role without going on to attend SPMI training. There are further prerequisites to complete for those who are interested in becoming authorized as SPMIs or Mentors. Please provide the name of your local Practice & Education Representative and your local Shambhala Center Director, so we may notify them of your training. You will also receive a letter and certificate of completion.

The Training Program

The training includes one Zoom call before the training and four full days of training (Thursday-Sunday). Arrival is the night before the first full day and departure is the morning after the last full day. Participation in the training does not guarantee authorization as a teacher in Shambhala. Participants home centers will be communicated with regarding their status of completion and ability to give instruction/facilitate groups. Students who are authorized to give initial meditation instruction will take a Vow and will be encouraged to engage at their local center.

Prior to the in-person training, participants will be expected to engage in specified study and practice. A deep commitment to meditation practice is extremely important for individuals seeking to do this training. Those accepted to the training will be expected to sit for a minimum of 30 minutes of sitting meditation each day for at least the three months immediately prior to the training (works out to 20 hours a month). This sitting requirement may be significantly more than your usual practice, but it is an essential element of the training. If this is more than you are willing or able to take on at this time, please consider waiting to train until this is more workable for you.


Shambhala: Sacred Path of the Warrior

Turning the Mind into an Ally

Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love and Liberation

The Way of Tenderness: Awakening Through Race, Gender, and Sexuality

Natural Wakefulness: Discovering the Wisdom We Were Born with


Application & Registration Process

An application will be emailed to you after you register and pay the application fee. If you are accepted, your acceptance letter will include further instructions on completing your registration.

Those accepted will need the time allotted to do a good deal of preparatory study and practice prior to the in-person training. The sooner one applies and is accepted, the more time one will have to engage in this preparatory study and practice. You are fully responsible for the entirety of the application and registration process.

Application deadline has been extended to May 1, 2019.



Please direct any questions you may have to [email protected].


Dr. Shanté Paradigm Smalls
Dr. Shanté Paradigm Smalls is a Vajrayana Buddhist teacher and student in the Shambhala school of Tibetan Buddhism. Dr. Smalls teaches dharma in a variety of locations including dharma centers, conferences, corporations, and colleges and universities. Shanté is focused on the healing impact of contemplation and meditation in Black communities, People of Color communities, LGBTQ+ communities, and prison and recovery communities. Shanté is an Assistant Professor of Black Literature & Culture at St. John’s University in Queens, NY, and they live in Brooklyn, NY with their two dogs, Tilopa and Drala.
Learn more about Dr. Shanté Paradigm Smalls