Center Takes Step in its Own Journey

January 30, 2007

Author: Pamela J. Podger

Source: The Roanoke Times

Candlelight bathed seven Buddha figures on the shrine at the Dharmapala Buddhist Center during last week's opening at its new Roanoke County location.

A jumble of clogs, sneakers and boots splayed on the stairs while about 25 sock-footed owners padded around upstairs before settling into their chairs for the evening's meditation.

Wearing a russet tunic and black slacks, Deann Bishop sat cross-legged on a podium before the assembly. She asked everyone to close their eyes and begin concentrating.

As the room grew silent, the whoosh of vehicles passing by on Franklin Road seemed to grow louder.

"Take these teachings to heart tonight to improve our own minds and our ability to be a source of peace and calm to others," Bishop said.

The center has moved six times since its inception in 2003, most recently from Troutville. The moves, which initially involved relocations to free and low-rent spaces, reflect the center's need for more space as classes have grown from the early days.