Dharmapala Buddhist Center Reborn ... Again

January 15, 2007

Author: Pamela J. Podger

Source: The Roanoke Times


For Buddhists, a reincarnation usually lasts a lifetime. But the Dharmapala Buddhist Center has found itself reborn six times since its inception in 2003.

In the latest transformation, they've unpacked their boxes from Troutville and moved to 4119 Franklin Road in Roanoke County in preparation for classes starting Jan. 24. Their new location offers a central place for clients as far-flung as Smith Mountain Lake, Rocky Mount, Blacksburg and the Roanoke Valley.

The center is one of about 1,000 such Kadampa Buddhism centers in the world, and its meditations and teachings are geared to people in the West.

The center practices Kadampa Buddhism, which dates to the 11th century and is one of the several major branches of Buddhism. The Kadampa tradition was later promoted widely in Tibet. All of the texts from their Tibetan founder and spiritual director, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, are translated into English. The center stresses that these teachings are global and inclusive.

"We want people here to feel connected -- not like this is some foreign, trendy, esoteric thing," said resident teacher Deann Bishop. "We want to make this an opportunity for people to become more peaceful and loving in their lives."