I have been involved with Buddhism for the past 5 or 6 years. I started by going to a Shambhala group. My introduction and first few months of meditation were amazing. I felt like I just had a cool drink of water after wandering in the desert for a long time. I realized that meditation was the thing for me, and quickly signed up as a member.
Since then, I have delved deeper into Shambhala as an organization, and started going through their training levels, and increased my meditation time and frequency each week. However, as I began to learn more about the organization, I started to get turned off. Some people seem to worship the Sakyong as though he is a god. The Kalpa Court, his residence, complete with servants and the paramilitary arm (The Dorje Kasung) have been really off-putting and seem to be at odds with the core Buddhist teachings.
For the last few years, I have been meditating with different groups in the area, but have yet to really find my "home". I am really just looking for something simple, where people come together to meditate and discuss the dharma. A sangha which doesn't host expensive retreats, have a gift shop, or any other nonsense. Does this exist?
How did you choose the sangha that you attend?
PS: I hope I didn't offend anyone who is part of Shambhala or loyal to the Sakyong. I certainly didn't intend for that. I am just relating my experience in the hopes that someone may suggest a solution for me.