When I first discovered Shantideva, it was still a small but growing study group in Manhattan. Venerable Yangchen wrote to me at the time: “We are…a developing community with the hope to become a center in this great city of potential world peace.” We are taught how rare it is to have that precious human rebirth where the Dharma is available and accessible. And how awesome is it, that in the midst of this crazy city, there exists this oasis of sanity, peace, and refuge? And right on the corner of 9th St. and 6th Ave. in Brooklyn!
A glorious thing happened in 2018 when Shantideva Center moved into its new home. For years we led a nomadic existence seeking valuable space in which to gather and operate a center from which to spread the Dharma. But there is absolutely nothing to compare with having a stable home base and being able to establish a true community-based center.
Over the past 8 years I have had the privilege to study with and meet some incredibly inspiring teachers, while also being surrounded by a supportive and kind community of practitioners. Having this home, having this center, allows us to share even more, such as the great teachers and speakers we have had this past year, including our very own Venerable Amy Miller, Geshe Lobsang Khedup, Dagri Rinpoche, Venerable Samten, and Jan Willis. And we look forward to hosting even more in the near future: Geshe Sherab and Venerable Fedor are coming in March, Carmen Mensink is coming in the spring, Venerable Robina Courtin and Ling Rinpoche will be coming this summer, Venerable Sangye Khadro will be coming in September, and so much more. But this does not happen by itself. It takes a community all working together to make this all possible and sustainable.
When I look at our altar in our new gompa with its beautiful statues, knowing that they too now have a home (and I don’t have to whisk them away to a shelf somewhere at the end of every teaching!), my heart just smiles. I am so grateful for this opportunity and grateful for all the generous donors and volunteers working together that make this all possible. Shantideva Center cannot exist without you all. Every volunteer, every penny donated, every student who attends and brings others with them is what allows this opportunity to exist. Thank you so, so much, Dharma family. We’ve got this because of all of us.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
When she is not sorting water bowls and contemplating Tenets and her Dharma practice, Lauren Coleman has a full-time practice in Western Astrology, and five beautiful grandchildren who are a constant source of love and wonder.