(This is the second in a series of posts, here is part one). I invited some of the Center members who participated in the opening of our new meditation hall on Saturday, January 12th to share their reflections about its significance in their lives.
For as long as I can remember I had a sense that there must be something beyond the surface, materialistic world that appeared to me. For a long time this was just a nebulous concept, an undefined longing for meaning. It wasn’t until I found the Dharma in 2005 that I found the words and the direction to describe what I had always felt to be true, and this was a home-coming for me. Having spent nearly the last three years at the Guhyasamaja Center what I have learned most deeply is that the path is internal, but more importantly it is relational. It is to each other that we owe our fidelity and our effort, we are brothers and sisters in the Dharma and we individually bear the responsibility to bring each other along the path the enlightenment.
It is because of this that I was most gratified by the recent purchase of our new meditation hall. Here is where we, as a community, will come together to do the work of gaining realizations of the path to Enlightenment. Here is where I as an individual will repay the inexpressible kindness of my teachers with my practice and my intent to be of benefit in whatever small ways I can. I am forever grateful to the Guhyasamaja Center for providing me with these tools to make good on my obligation to the community, and for the friendship of our Sangha which makes it possible.
~ Matthew Gausman
Saturday, Jan 12th, was such an exciting day. We moved into our new meditation center after years of looking forward to this day! We had so much help that, at least for me, it was never hard work. Many people drove to our director’s house in Manassas, VA to load up their cars with thangka’s, stupas, statues, pictures, water bowls, cushions, trays and many other items. My husband took the mini-van to haul the life-sized Maitreya statue. Several of us went directly to the new location with our cars loaded with items that we were storing at our homes. There was a flurry of activity unloading cars and then we proceeded to carry everything upstairs to our lovely, and aptly numbered suite: 108. This was my first visit since the remodeling and it looked great! It felt like home!
The space came “furnished” and with so many people, it was fairly easy to move all the furniture to appropriate locations. The fact that the electric company mistakenly turned off the power only made it more interesting. After setting up, eating and rejoicing, we spent some time in quiet mediation. Having a center means so much to us and is truly a dream come true. We will have more activities throughout the week and expect our membership to increase, which means new dharma friends. My husband and I have been very happy to meet fellow Buddhist practitioners and we truly appreciate all the teachings from Khensur Rinpoche, Dr. Ladner, and Ani-Tendrol. The dharma has made such a positive impact on our lives, we cannot imagine living without it.
~ Jodi and Mike
I think what it means to have a Buddhist temple here in our community is a chance to really connect with each other. I’m excited also that other people who are curious about Buddhism but don’t have an opportunity to learn about it will have more opportunities to do so. There’s something about having the space set aside and always available for this singular and sacred purpose that I think makes this more possible for more people!
~ Annie Noble
The move into the new Center facility was truly a moving experience for me (no pun intended!). I’ll admit being choked up a bit by the outpouring of generosity from folks like long-time Center members (some 20 years and counting?!?), new Dharma friends I’ve met recently through the Center, and lots of new folks I’d not met before, all working together to setup the new space — in the dark, no less (temporary power company glitch)! Having joined the Center in January this time last year, it was a good opportunity to reflect on not only how far I’ve come with the Center’s help and due to the kindness of all of you, but also how far the Center’s come.
My first Center class last year was in a cramped, kind of sterile-feeling Church basement classroom for kids a fraction of our size. The heating system was so loud, it was difficult to hear Lorne teach. And I remember feeling so nervous, trying something so new and different with a bunch of strangers. Now? Wow! Since the power was off the day we moved, the verdict is still out on how loud the heating/cooling system will be! But I can tell you, for those of you who haven’t seen it yet, the space is AMAZING! It’s perfect, really (note, suite number in building complex is auspicious #108!). There’s plenty of room. Ample amenities. Lots of inspiring sacred art and other holy objects. The altar is beautiful. Even the room itself seems warm and inviting; even the floor plan seems conducive to learning and meditating! Many of us commented that day on how it felt like home or like we’d been there before.
Big, big thanks to everyone involved in making this happen!
~ Jen Thompson
May we all be able to work together well and harmoniously for years to come in making the space highly useful in providing Dharma teachings, meditations, retreats, movie nights, pujas and other gatherings where beings practice the path to enlightenment!
~ Dr. Lorne Ladner
Our Dharma Center is a gift to the local community. It is a quiet, sacred place where people of all faiths are welcome to meditate and re-gain their equilibrium. The meditation hall is our way of honoring and repaying the kindness of our spiritual teachers. It’s a place where glittering Dharma jewels are preserved and shared with all who seek them.
~ Ani Losang Tendrol
Please feel free to share your thoughts.