When I first returned to Helena in 2015 after 15 years of study in Missoula, England, India, and China, I was sad to find out that there wasn't much Buddhism to be found. I was spoiled, I suppose, by Missoula - which has at least six different Buddhist communities - and life in larger cities in the UK. There were, and are, two great Zen groups here, one in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh's Order of Interbeing and one in the Soto Zen tradition, affiliated with the San Francisco Zen center. There is also a small Tibetan Buddhist group that, to my knowledge, does not yet have regular meetings.
But now, and particularly in the next few weeks, Helena is a virtual hotbed for Buddhism (well, slight exaggeration, perhaps). Have a look at some of the upcoming opportunities to find out more:
Sunday, April 23-April 30:
Open Circle Sangha, in the Soto Zen tradition, is hosting Dharma Teacher Layla Smith in a week-long practice period starting Sunday, April 23 at 8:30 a.m. at 825 Helena Avenue. All events are supported by dana and no pre-registration is required. The session on Sunday will end around 11:15 and will include a Dharma talk. Saturday, April 29, is an all-day practice from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. On Sunday, April 30, the practice will conclude with a morning (8:30-10:30) meditation and service. In between are morning and evening shorter sessions and a Wednesday evening class. My suggestion is, if you are interested, attend the April 23 practice session to learn more about the practice forms and get the full schedule. You might also contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jam-Tse-Ling Practice Center of Helena Welcomes Back Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche. Sunday, April 23rd he will offer a public talk on "How to Meditate" followed by a meditation practice, 2pm - 4:30pm at the Lewis & Clark Library.
Unfortunately, we've missed two other days of wonderful events yesterday and Friday:
Tulku Yeshi Rinpoche is a Tibetan Buddhist Dzogchen Master and the reincarnation of Dzog-chen Gyaltsab Thodo Rinpoche. He was born and raised in Tibet and, as a child, became a Buddhist monk. He has received numerous teachings throughout his life from Forty Masters representing all five schools of Tibetan Buddhism including H.H. the Dalai Lama. He holds direct lineage to Padmasambhava (the founder of Tibetan Buddhism). Rinpoche has been helping western society generate more love and compassion through his eleven books about philosophy, life, nature, joy, peace and Tibetan Buddhism. Also, he travels all over giving Tibetan Buddhist teachings and bestowing empowerments.
Teachings at Lewis & Clark Library
All events are free. Donations are appreciated.
Friday April 21st: A public talk on "Six admirable qualities to improve your life and spiritual practice" - Generosity, Ethics, Patience, Joyful Endeavor, Meditation, and Wisdom - divided in two sessions, 11am - 12:30pm and 2pm - 3:30pm.
Saturday April 22nd.: For Buddhist practitioners. "Vajrasattva Empowerment" along with a teaching on Vajrasattva and meditation practice. In 3 sessions: 10:30am - 12:30pm, 2:00pm - 3:30pm, and 3:45pm - 4:45pm. There will be a potluck dinner following the teachings.
Tuesday, April 25 (and continuing thereafter):
Flowing Mountains Sangha (Thich Nhat Hanh)
Meets Tuesdays, St. John’s Building, 25 South Ewing (use entrance from parking lot in back of building off S. Rodney St.). Walking & sitting meditation, 6:30 & 7:00 p.m., program, 7:30 p.m. ~ closing 8:30 p.m.
1st Tues: Mindfulness Trainings (guidelines for ethical living)
2nd Tues: Meditation (instruction, practice)
3rd Tues: Sharing the Way (teachings, talks)
4th Tues: Nurturing Wisdom & Compassion (discussion, guided practice)
for more information email email@example.com
Wednesday, April 26 (and continuing thereafter):
Join us at 7pm for this FREE (donations for the establishment of a Buddhist community accepted) talk and guided meditation. Each week we will discuss a period in the development of Buddhism and explore a couple guided meditations. Tea and snacks provided. 200 E. Broadway (upstairs, use East side entrance ramp). For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, April 27
Thursday, May 4 (and going 4-weeks)
INTRODUCTION TO MINDFULNESS: Scientific studies have shown that regular meditation and mindfulness practice can reduce stress, improve immune system function, help us to manage pain, decrease anxiety, improve relationships, and more. In this course, we will explore mindfulness from three key perspectives: (1) its Buddhist ethical and philosophical roots, (2) the development of a Western, scientific, secularized practice, and (3) our own personal experience with a variety of well-known practices. This course will explore mindfulness historically and scientifically, but most importantly, we will learn several practical meditations to incorporate mindfulness into our daily lives. Learn more and Sign Up.
Sunday, May 7
From 3pm-5pm we will have a interfaith panel discussion, "ON FAITH", featuring representatives from Helena's smaller religious communities: Baha'i, Buddhism, Sikh, and Judaism. Come and learn about these religions from local practitioners, enjoy some worldly foods (at 3pm), and stay for Q&A after short presentations.