This page will be a collection of stories from members, friends, and others about their experiences with Lion’s Roar and Buddhism.
What Buddhism Means to Me as a Non-Buddhist
by Melanie Noel Light
Community Liaison Director for Lion’s Roar
My favorite thing about Lion’s Roar Dharma Center and Buddhism in general is that I don’t have to label myself “Buddhist” to partake in the programs, events and social activities. In order to get the most out of my experiences, however, I should be interested in kindness, compassion for oneself and others, self awareness, easing suffering, and ideally, being part of a community (also not required, but highly recommended).
Buddhism is just a surprisingly simple philosophy that acknowledges certain inevitable truths about life (for example, some suffering is going to be present at times in our lives). But we CAN lessen it with the wisdom and tools found in Buddhist practices. And this concept helps me put my life – and life in general – in perspective.
This is not a place of extremes or absolutes. Group members and attendees seem to take genuine interest in me but no one forces any expectations upon me (other than decency and respect for others, naturally). What I get is a sense of feeling welcomed, even belonging; a whole bunch of kind people who appreciate my presence; and the joy of creating unique friendships.
Buddhism is called “A religion of kindness”, and yet internally it’s considered more of a philosophy than a religion. This apparent paradox somehow puts me at ease. Without really realizing it, Lion’ Roar has become a community of surprising warmth for me, even though I don’t have to spend every waking moment there to feel it. There’s a bit more purpose to my life as well.
While I don’t have experience with other Buddhist temples, this one is both comfortable AND comforting. There’s a certain sense of hominess that I just suddenly noticed one random day. And so whenever I choose, I can find it a respite from the occasional confusion and heaviness of my tiny world. Ultimately, I feel honored to be involved and included, and I hope those seeking something similar will too.
Authentic Lineage Dharma with a Realized Teacher
By Petr Andrey Khishchenko
Like all of us, I have had my share of suffering. At one point in my life everything around me felt like misery and pain. It was at that point that I first came in contact with Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction meditation and it improved my life dramatically. I have always liked going to the source when it comes to learning; be it martial arts (which I practiced based on several hundred year old treatises), culinary arts (use Tsarist recipes in my cooking), etc. So I decided to go to the source of MBSR meditation. This led me to Buddhism. So I read as much as I could and was thoroughly captivated. It explained unmistakable truths of this life and a path to stop suffering. I needed to learn more. And for that I needed to find a place to learn and practice: a temple.
I wanted to find a temple with authentic lineage Dharma and with a Fully Realized teacher. And I definitely found it here at Lion’s Roar! When I was first “shopping around” temples, I couldn’t find any of them that had what I wanted. And then my google search brought up Lion’s Roar Dharma Center and it had everything I was looking for: a beautiful temple with a gorgeous altar and thangkas on the walls, an authentic lineage with regular chances to engage in the practices, it had all I could ask for! Little did I know that this was just scratching the surface. I came to find that, in addition to the vividly stunning sacred space and the chance to practice regularly, the Sangha (community) of Do Nga Dargey was filled with genuinely compassionate and caring people. In time, they start to feel like family.
However, it was as I attended more services, workshops, and events, that I came in contact with the real Wish Fulfilling Jewel of Lion’s Roar: Lama Yeshe Jinpa. From my first Darshan (formal meeting) I knew Lama la was different from other teachers I’ve encountered, but I didn’t know why that was. He wasn’t glowing bright lights. He didn’t telling me what I was used to hearing or what I wanted to hear. He taught unapologetically and the more I started to listen, the better I noticed my path progressing. I found that I was no longer viewing Lama as just another man in a robe giving general life advice and began seeing him for what he is: an Awake being and a living Buddha. This change in me didn’t happen overnight. I had my share doubts along the way; caused by my preconceived notions of Buddhahood. But now I have no doubt that Lama la is the Real Deal, and I couldn’t be more excited and grateful to be his student!