ESCONDIDO - For a decade, the white house on a hill in northern Escondido with a commanding view west over the city has been a refuge and place of worship for the region's Tibetan community.
In the house's small but ornate shrine room, with a gilded Buddha and hand-painted cloth wall panels depicting Buddha's teachings, Drupon Samten Rinpoche, a senior lama from northern India, has led meditation and prayers to keep Tibetans close to their sacraments during festivals or crisis.
Now, Samten, two other lamas and one nun at the Tibetan Meditation Center, as they call the house at the end of Sheridan Place, are expanding the center's presence. They have begun construction on the same property of a building devoted solely for meditation and worship, with monastery quarters for resident and visiting monks and nuns. They hope to complete the two-story, 4,000-foot structure next year.
“For the Tibetans, they would have a sense this is their place,” said Ani Chodron, who owns the existing house. Chodron changed her name from Beth Howie 12 years ago when she became an ordained Buddhist nun.
Saturday, she and the lamas will host a public cultural festival for the Tibetan New Year's Day, or Losar. For additional space, it will be held in Encinitas.