WILLIAMS, AZ (3TV / CBS 5) –Sitting in the lush green trees of northern Arizona surrounded by sunflowers, is a landmark some may not be familiar with in the state. Here is located the International Kadampa Retreat Center, a Buddhist temple in Williams.
Founded by Ven. Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, or Ven. Geshe-la, the temple seeks to teach its members modern Buddhism. According to Ven. Geshe-la, modern Buddhism is a program of meditation and derives from the thousand-year-old teachings of Kadampa Buddhism. The teachings reflect the ancient ways of Buddha, but combine them with modern issues that people may face in their daily lives. “Simple, but very deep,” says Ven. Geshe-la.
“Our tradition in general goes through a Tibetan lineage known as the Kadampa lineage. When our spiritual founder came to the West in 1977, he realized that the Tibetan monastic way of life was not going to work for people today, ”said Steven Roussel, Education Program Coordinator at the IKRC. “He touched on the presentation of Buddhism. in a different way than where all people from different walks of life, from any point in their life, could come and learn about meditation, learn about Buddhism and go from there, ”Roussel said.
Roussel also spoke about common misconceptions about Buddhism and said that there are many different types of Buddhism around the world. “One of the biggest misconceptions is that everyone searches for ‘Buddhism’ on Google and sums it up in one Google find,” Roussel said. “People will google Buddhism and think of it as Buddhism in general without really exploring the uniqueness or the teachings of all the different traditions.”
The temple offers online and in-person classes focused on the mind, meditation, wisdom, and more. The temple offers classes on Sunday and Monday, online and in person. Weekend classes are in person, but require pre-registration. “Pre-registration is required to attend weekend classes. We follow CDC guidelines and social distancing. We seat just over 50 people in the temple safely while adhering to guidelines,” explained Roussel.
The temple is open to the public for visiting hours on Monday, Friday and Sunday. Mondays and Fridays are open to the public from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sundays from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Visitors can order coffee or snacks at the cafe, take a temple tour, and visit the bookstore and gift shop. The temple is located at 6701 E. Mountain Ranch Road in Williams.
“Everyone from all walks of life is welcome to come visit us and attend some of our classes. If they want to go a little further, they are welcome to do so. If they want to take a photo and learn a bit more about meditation, that’s okay. “Everyone is welcome,” literally means everyone is welcome, ”Roussel said.
For more information on visiting hours or the complete calendar of events at the temple, visit meditationinnorthernarizona.org.
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