Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Temple colors

When director Martin Scorsese was making his 1997 film Kundun, the story of the 14th Dalai Lama which is set in mid-20th century Tibet, he needed to film scenes in a traditional Tibetan Buddhist temple. Scorsese and his team trekked to the Ulster County village of Woodstock and found Karma Triyana Dharmachakra (KTD) which is none other than a traditional Tibetan Buddhist monastery. The location’s main shrine room is so meticulously authentically designed and one of the few changes the crew made before filming was lining the wood floor with plastic followed by a layer of packed earth.

The site was founded in 1976 by His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje who leads the 900-year-old Karma Kagyu Lineage of Buddhism. He presently lives in India and KTD serves as his North American seat. This location for teachings was established as a response to the desire of Western students for an authentic Tibetan monastery for their studies.

KTD has lots of activities for people regardless of spiritual affiliation including teachings, retreats and classes. Daily sitting and walking meditation sessions are open to the public. The Saturday schedule features a guided tour of the monastery at 1pm followed by an optional intro to meditation class in the shrine room. Studies show a regular meditation practice helps participants strengthen concentration and clarity of the mind, and can simultaneously build a foundation for Buddhist practices if these are the goal. Visitors can sit in on an Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism on Wednesday evenings, and a Dharma Book Study Class on Thursdays. KTD’s website has a summary of each event to help visitors plan their trip.

The bookstore, called Namse Bangdzo which roughly translates to Guardian of the North and Treasure House, is open every day. It is filled with books, art, statuary, gifts, and Dharma (teachings) practice materials.

The group’s dedication to service extends far beyond the monastery walls. Participation in community activities includes volunteering with the region’s nonprofit, creative, and service organizations.  Traditional teachings stress the importance of service regarding environmental conservation, vegetarianism, and service to people in need.

Karma Triyana Dharmachakra: https://kagyu.org

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