Thursday, April 8, 2010

Rime in Kansas City

Rime ("ree-may") is the non-sectarian movement within Tibetan Buddhism in which teachers and practitioners adhere to teachings of the various major schools. Appearing in the late 19th century in Tibet, Rime was not a specific tradition that masters and Buddhist scholars studied. Rather, one was grounded in a particular lineage and school and later found and appreciated the viewpoints and teachings of the other schools.

On the Rime movement it is noted that...
"It helped break the custom of single lineage teachings which isolated some schools from others, and it established a platform from which people could view all schools with equal respect." (Tibetan Buddhist Rime Institute)

I found my way to reading the basics of the Rime movement today as my virtual visit was to Missouri, and more specifically to the Rime Buddhist Center & Monastery/Tibetan Institute of Studies in Kansas City. As with many religious centers in general, there are many dharma centers that function as very active community gathering centers, and this definitely appears to be one of them. The center functions as a monastery for Tibetan monks, dharma space for practitioners and as a cultural and educational center. The center is directed by Lama Chuck Stanford, who founded the center with Mary Stanford in the 90's as a not-for-profit organization and, in it's non sectarian nature, as a more inclusive dharma center.

There was something else that pulled me into reading up on Rime Buddhist Center. When I first saw a photo of the building it is located in (which also is home to several other organizations), I realized it was historic. I have a great love for old brick buildings so I was off on a photo hunting digression that did not prove very satisfactory, in the sense that there doesn't seem to be much photo documentation of the building (at least online). I also read that the building was formerly a church, confirmed in Lama Stanford's response to my email inquiry.

But as for historical information about this building online, either it doesn't exist or I am not coming up with the right word search to produce results. So, I'll probably be contacting a historical society in Kansas City to see what they might be able to point me to. I like including historical information about buildings when possible. (Update: After a brief and helpful correspondence with Kansas City Library's Missouri Valley Special Collections, I am emailed a few links. Historic photos of the church do exist! Phew. The pack rat in me just couldn't figure out how that building, formerly West Side Christian Church, did not have a file somewhere on Earth.)

The photo I did find is nice. A larger one of the building in it's totality would be great as well.

Image source: Darcy Bloss (starpuncher, flickr)

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