The core activity of the community (sangha) is the practice of sitting meditation. The practices of ‘calm abiding’ (shamatha), and ‘insight’ (vipashyana) are practiced daily at home, and when the community gathers to practice in a group.
Sitting meditation practice can be supported by‘sadhana’ practices that sangha members may engage in. These are the ritual practices of Shakyamuni Buddha (The Treasure of Blessings), and the practice of the Bodhisattva of compassion, Chenrezig (The Essence of Temporal Benefit and Ultimate Happiness). These again are practiced individually at home, and periodically as a group.
Some members of the sangha (community) have added the ‘taking of the daily precepts’ as part of their practice. This involves taking the 5 core Buddhist precepts for 24 one day (refraining from taking life, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, and taking intoxicants). These can be taken from time to time, or on a daily basis.
Still others have chosen to undertake the rigorous practice of the preliminaries to the Vajrayana path, ngöndro. These practices are done with the assent of a lama, and under Tim’s guidance. For some resources to support ngondro practice, go - here
Retreat is a central part of our path. Most community members have committed to engaging in solitary retreat for a certain number of days each year. Retreat can be done a day at a time at home, or for longer stretches at a retreat center which is set up to host practitioners wanting to do retreat. Tim had compiled a retreat liturgy and manual, ‘Remembering My Heart’, that can be used as a guide for the retreat.
Study is central to the path, and community members are encouraged to study on an ongoing basis. This involves reading at home, partaking in the teachings on Monday nights, and taking part in the periodic weekend retreats with visiting lamas and teachers. A variety of study resources, reading lists and written articles are available on-line and at The Buddhist Center. There is a study ‘curriculum’ on this site that outlines the primary topics that a student may want to learn. The page contains links to talks, articles, and podcasts available on the internet.
In this website, there are two study series complete with talks, and recommended readings. It is suggested that you work you way through one, or both of them, in order to get a good understanding of the nature of the path, and what needs to be understood in order to make meditation practice effective.
The Buddhist Center community is involved with a variety of activities and initiatives which enrich the sangha, and reach into the broader community:
The nuns of Tsoknyi Gechak Ling Nunnery
Our community has committed $5000 yearly to support the Tsoknyi Rinpoche nuns in Tibet and Nepal. Tsoknyi Rinpoche started the Nun’s project in an effort to save and support the endangered tradition of nuns in the Himalayas. We are deeply committed to this remarkable endeavor. Learn more here
On the first Monday of each month many sangha members elect to forgo dinner and donate the cost of that meal to the Karuna (compassion – Sanskrit) Fund. This tradition honors the austerities practiced by the Buddha and generates funds that we have donated to a number of worthwhile organizations. (Lift-Up, Animal Rescue, buying reading glasses for the Nangchen nuns etc.) - here
The community has created a beautiful sitting garden by the reflective pool at the Yampa River Botanical Park. The garden includes a lovely oriental privacy fence and a statue of the Buddha.
The motivation of the ‘Dekyong’ program is ‘sangha is taking care of sangha’, through caring for, assisting, and watching out for the well being of the community. The ‘dekyong’ is the protector of the happiness of the community. At any given time there are two dekyongs elected by the community who keep in touch with the needs of community members, and organize whatever assistance the community can offer. The dekyongs contact information is here
Monday nights – The heart of the community is our Monday night gatherings. Each Monday night the community gathers to explore some aspect of the spiritual path, though discussions, teachings from Tim and other teachers, or to participate in some related activity.
Weekend retreats – A few times each year, the community invites leading Tibetan, or western teachers to lead a weekend retreat. We’ve hosted many remarkable teachers over the years. These retreats are the highlight of the year’s calendar.
Mini-retreats – On the second Sunday of each month, we offer a half-day ‘mini retreat’ from 9am - noon. This is an excellent way for members to support and strengthen each other’s practice. Please check the calendar for the scheduling of these retreats.
The Advanced Track – For those of us who would like to study a text deeply, we offer an ‘advanced track’ of study. The ‘advanced track’ focuses on the study of a text. Anyone who would like to go deeper with their study is most welcome to join in.
Nature of Mind Nights – From time to time Tim will host a ‘Nature of Mind night’. These evening focus on exploring the practice the nature of mind, the pinnacle of the Buddha’s teaching. Anyone who has had teachings on the nature of mind can take part.
Yoga – Yoga is offered at the center by our resident yogini Libbie Mathes - 879-8428
Pot Luck dinners – Every few months, and on special occasions (i.e. Tibetan New Year) the community will gather for a potluck dinner. These wonderful gatherings have become a much-loved tradition in the community.