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Nov 04
International Programs, Uncategorized
Shambhala hosted by Dalai Lama’s Retreat Center

Judith Broadus writes about the first Shambhala Training held at the Dalai Lama’s Retreat Center in Bloomington, Indiana.

A Shambhala Training Level I was held in the library of the Cultural Center at Kumbum West, The Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center (TMBCC), located on 108 acres near Bloomington. Arjia Rinpoche, former Abbot of Kumbum Monastery in Tibet, oversees the center. TMBCC is a non-profit organization established in 1979 by Thubten Jigme Norbu, elder brother of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Professor Emeritus of Indiana University. The purpose of the TMBCC is to preserve Tibetan and Mongolian culture through philanthropic and educational efforts, and to promote interfaith harmony through intercultural and interfaith dialogue.

On the first weekend of October, Shastri Shelley Heinz taught the first ever Level I of Shambhala Training at the Dalai Lama’s Retreat Center in Bloomington, Indiana. She was assisted by ADs Gary Heinz and Judith Broadus, along with the event’s coordinator Winnie Edgerton. 20 people gathered for meditation instruction, including the center’s Executive Administrator Russ Ellis. His wife, Trish, who is also instrumental in coordinating the center, will be attending the second Level I, which will be taught by David Stone the last weekend of October. The entire group expressed a heartfelt appreciation for the Level and are looking forward to a Level II planned for later in the fall.

The woods surrounding the center are home to abundant wild life including deer, fox, wild turkey, and many bird species. The woods also contain a meditation trail, four individual retreat cabins, and group retreat cabins. Additional bedrooms are available in the Cultural Building which also houses cultural exhibits, thangkas, butter sculptures, and the Happy Yak Gift Shop. The Main Hall and a large kitchen are available for public and private events. Other places of interest on the grounds include the Lotus Pond; the Jangchub Chorten, (a version of a stupa), which serves as a monument to world peace and was consecrated by the Dalai Lama in 1987; the Kalachakra Stupa, built in 1999 in conjunction with the Kalachakra for World Peace, with a replica of the Kalachakra Mandala located on the inner ceiling. A Medicine Buddha Mandala is located inside the stupa.

Additionally, of interest is the Mani Korlo, where solar powered prayer wheels spin continually. Other major buildings include the Teaching Pavillion, painted with Buddhist deities, and the Kumbum Chamtse Ling Interfaith Temple, consecrated by the Dalai Lama in 2003, where the upper floor serves as a residence for monks, and the ground floor contains a public shrine room, bookstore, reception room, and a kitchen. Several small shrines are dedicated to Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism. The beaded thangkas are especially notable for the patience required to design, and sew the thousands of tiny glass beads to form the colorful, sparkling thangkas. Buddhist teachings are offered on Sundays; retreat and spiritual programs are offered throughout the year; and art and language programs are offered as well.

To learn more about TMBCC, email: [email protected]; website: www.tmbcc.net; phone: 812-336-6807.

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