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Thứ Bảy, tháng 10 07, 2006

No. 1170 (Minh Châu dịch)

Buddhist center finds its own home
Samudrabadra opened in Horizon Plaza on U.S. 41 after years of temporary locations

By DON MANLEY
dmanley@news-press.com
Originally posted on October 07, 2006

Samudrabadra Buddhist Center has found a home in south Fort Myers after several years of bouncing around temporary sites.

The center took up permanent residence in June in the Horizon Plaza on U.S. 41, just north of Alico Road.

It offers silent and chanted meditation classes, Buddhist study programs, monthly retreats, workshops and day courses addressing real-world topics, explained JoAnn Lawrence, the center's resident teacher.

She said the four-year-old center is named for its founder and spiritual director, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, a meditation master, Buddhism teacher and author who has founded 1,000 centers worldwide.

Lawrence said Samudrabadra means Ocean of Good Fortune — Gyatso's name in Sanskrit —and this is the only center to bear his name.

The facility contains a bookstore, and a meditation room and will eventually, be completely renovated to become "even more temple-like," she said.

She said the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Myers on Shire Lane and a private residence in Alva have provided Samudrabadra with space during the years.

Classes have also been held at satellite locations on Sanibel and in Naples and Bonita Springs from November through April, during the tourist season, something that will continue this year.

Lawrence, 29, said Buddhism and meditation can help people find serenity.

"It's definitely about developing inner peace and happiness," she said. "You can summarize our whole path as be as joyful as you can in every moment and to benefit others as much as possible. So there's definitely an emphasis on becoming more joyful in your life and more healthy in your life, and using practical methods to do that. I think that for people who feel a bit lost, it's a way to find meaning in their life again."

Charlene Black, 55, of Sanibel, said she is a longtime participant at the center and has studied metaphysics and Eastern Philosophy since her late teens. She said Buddhism is grounded in our ability to reason provides tools for dealing with the world compassionately, even when confronted with negative experiences.

"You can maintain a loving mind," she said. "I find it so reasoned and useful."

The day-courses and workshops are an ideal way for newcomers to meditation to be introduced to the practice, Lawrence said.

"It's a chance to become familiar with it in just one day with a subject that's interesting to them," she said.

"All the meditations are geared toward training the mind and looking at things in our life, introspectively and deeply, and making some sort of determination to change something in daily life.

"So it's always this process of transformation, of looking deeply and then using what you've seen about yourself and maybe some advice from Buddhist philosophy, and then making a decision to change something for the better."

A day-course titled "Transforming the Workplace" is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 14 at the center and Oct. 28 in Naples.

Rebekah Lloyd of south Fort Myers said she first came to Samudrabadra about a month ago and it has provided her first formal meditation experience.

"I would recommend it to basically anybody because it deals with some foundational life principals that effect all of us," she said.

"The meditation allows you to focus and to focus on relaxing, and it's an opportunity to try and train your mind in a positive direction."

http://www.news-press.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061007/NEWS0117/610070421/1092