Alex Wright

Dixie Dharma

February 24, 2006

In San Francisco, meeting a Buddhist ranks up there on the scale of cultural exoticism about on par with finding a Catholic in Rome. Here in Virginia, they are pretty thin on the ground. This is Falwell Country, after all (or worse yet, Robertson country). Or if you live in the city, maybe Anglican country. For many folks in these parts, anything smacking of "eastern religion" lies squarely on the cultural fringe, strictly for the granola brigade. You might as well be a hare krishna.

Still, I've managed to find a few little sanghas plugging away out here. Earlier this week I trekked up to Charlottesville to see Geshe Jampel Thardo, resident lama of the Jefferson Tibetan Society. Nice bunch of folks up there, though it's too far a hike from Richmond for me to make it up there on any regular basis. Closer to home, there's Kagyu Shenpen Tharchin, a Tibetan group that timeshares space with a few other groups at the Ekoji Center, and the Still Water Zen Center. Also near Charlottesville, there's Ligmincha Institute (home base for Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, with whom I had the good fortune to study last summer in Colorado).

I'm still a spiritual tourist in these parts. It's always interesting to hear a fresh spin, but I do find myself feeling an occasional twinge of nostalgia for my old crew.

File under: Dharma

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