Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Chenrezig & Shambhala in Philadelphia

After the last post, I decided to virtually stick around Pennsylvania and inevitably ended up in the major urban center of Philadelphia, where today the weather is as sunny and clear as here in southern Alabama.

While I am often on a quest, in these postings, to find centers that have constructed a structure evocative or fully based on Tibetan Buddhist architecture, I am fully aware that such projects are not always feasible, financially or land wise. Nor are they always a goal or a necessity of a dharma center. Seeing the re-use of many spaces, particularly older structures in urban areas, for use in a dharma center, is always interesting.

Such appears to be the case with both the Philadelphia Shambhala Meditation Center and Chenrezig Tibetan Buddhist Center of Philadelphia.

Chenrezig Tibetan Buddhist Center was founded as a non-sectarian organization in 1991 and is directed by Ven. Losang Samten, who is also the founder of sister Chenrezig centers in the USA. Losang Samten, born in Tibet, is a resident of Philadelphia who attained his degree at Namgyal Monastery in Dharamsala, India- the seat of H.H. the Dalai Lama.

The Shambhala Center of Philadelphia is part of a vast, international network of Shambhala centers, whose headquarters are in Nova Scotia, founded by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. The network's spiritual and administrative head is Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche.

Both centers function in historic urban areas of Philadelphia- the Shambhala Center in the Rittenhouse District of Center City (which I can personally attest is fairly idyllic, for an urban neighborhood), and Chenrezig Tibetan Buddhist Center in the Spring Garden neighborhood of Northern Philly.

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