A group from our church appreciated the welcome we received at the Dorje Chang Institute in Avondale. First, we enjoyed hospitality and a cup of tea in the meditation room surrounded by Buddha statues, sacred writings and decorative wall hangings.
After a short time, Geshe Wangchen joined us. Wangchen is the Resident Teacher at the Dorje Chang Institute. He outlined the basics of Buddhist teachings and invited our questions.
Geshe Wangchen was born of Tibetan parents in 1966 and became a monk at the age of ten.
The Dorje Chang Institute grounds
The nuns of the Institute gave us a tour of the tranquil grounds and spaces. They took us to the recently painted stupa and the Prayer Wheel room. A massive drum-like cylinder contains millions of microfiche copies of an original sacred prayer handwritten by His Holiness the Dalai Lama for DCI. The prayer, ‘Om Mani Padme Hum,’ is written in Tibetan.
Worshippers push the Prayer Wheel in a clockwise direction to accumulate merit and help all beings in the world to purify their karma (intentional actions). This is part of a meditation practice.
We noted that the complex utilizes solar power and has a Tesla battery for storage. There is a large vegetable garden and community working bees support the gardens.
(Siddhartha Gautama) Buddha’s search for happiness began after he realized he had everything he needed but was not at peace with himself.
Buddhism practices non-violence and followers are taught to question everything, especially the negativity in oneself.
During this visit we considered how different faiths have crossover points and beliefs regarding kindness and compassion. The more we learn of other faiths and beliefs, the more we can see the coming together of peaceful friendships as we focus on points of agreement rather than our differences.
(Thanks to Barbara and John for sharing their impressions.)