At KTCJax, we practice in many ways, and we offer several types of opportunities for you to visit, socialize, learn, discuss and practice with us.
For formal practice, the Karma Kagyü (‘Whispered’) lineage focuses on several core practices. KTCJax follows this tradition, so we train in Shinay or Shamata Meditation techniques, and we regularly engage in chanted Sadhanas (prayers) several times a week.
Our main chanted prayer practices are for Buddha Amitabha and Bodhisattva Chenrezik (Also known as Lokeshvara, Avalokiteshvara, or Quan Yin), and these are the prayers we do every Saturday morning at KTCJax. We generally chant in Tibetan, but English translations accompany the texts we use, and everyone is welcome to chant, read along, or simply listen.
Shinay (or Calm Abiding) Meditation helps us train our minds to find peace and quiet, even in the midst of our busy lives. This method focuses on a simple object such as the breath or the sound of a bell, and making the effort to prevent or catch the mind’s (apparently inevitable) wandering. As we improve our ability to control and direct our minds, this brings spaciousness to our mental landscape and strengthens our abilities to calm anger or compulsion during our daily activities.
Our Weekly Schedule includes:
Tuesday Evenings: 6pm -7pm: Medicine Buddha Puja (Chanted Practice); All are welcome to attend, and we welcome practitioners to join in this wonderful, traditional healing and purification practice we chant in Tibetan. This practice is done quite straight-on, since it is followed closely by:
Tuesday Evenings: 7pm – 8pm: Silent and Sound Meditation; If you’re looking to begin or continue your meditation practice and would like some instruction and a chance to enjoy a nice, straightforward sit, this might be just what you’re looking for! We begin with instructions for beginners, and then engage in two sittings. Half of the session is Silent, and we follow the breath in meditation. During the other half of the session we focus on the gentle sound of a bell, focusing on that as our object of meditation.
Wednesday Evenings: 7pm – 8pm: Dharma Basics Discussion; Lively, relaxed conversation about passages from famous Buddhist texts, with 5-minute opening and closing meditations. Sometimes we also chant briefly in Tibetan. The Center opens at 6:30 for shrine preparation, and all are welcome to come watch or help us set up the shrine for the class. If you find the door locked before 7, just please knock!
Saturday Mornings: 10am – 10:30am; Silent Sitting Meditation. Here’s an opportuniity to try out the Meditation techniques you learned on Wednesday or Thursday night!
Saturday Mornings: 10:30am – 12:00p; Chanted Practices of Chenrezik and Amitabha. These two sadhanas (prayers) form the core of our Center’s practice. Chanted in Tibetan.
First Saturdays Each Month: 10:30am-12:00pm, we resume a long-standing tradition at KTCJax, the chanted prayers of the Green Tara Puja. Chanted in Tibetan. All Karma Kagyu monasteries do Tara puja daily, usually before the sun rises; at KTCJax we will do the practice the First Saturday of each month at 8am. Green Tara is the female Buddha of Enlightened activity. She acts with the swiftness of the wind, for the benefit of all who pray to her. Her main activity is to brush away fear and danger. Please note, if you are not vegetarian, we request that you refrain from consuming meat for breakfast before attending this practice. Tara Puja will be followed by the regular Chenrezik-Amitabha practice.
Third Saturdays each Month: Noon-ish, following puja; Potluck Luncheon. We gather to share a wonderful vegan meal and enjoy each other’s company. This is a great time to get to know our local sangha members, as well as to ask any questions you may have about Buddhism, our Center, or our practices. If chanting in Tibetan sounds intimidating or meditating for an hour seems like more than you want to try as a beginner, please drop by between 11:30am – 12noon to catch the end of chanted puja and join in the luncheon! You can get to know us in a relaxed setting with lots of lively conversation.
We also frequently host visiting Lamas for Retreats and Teachings:
Recently our parent Center, KTD Monastery (Karma Triyana Dharmachakra) began presenting Live Webcasts of Teachings; since Khenpo Kathar is now in his 90’s, to compensate for his reduced travel schedule he will be offering more of these Teachings. At the Center we provide a venue for everyone to experience these wonderful live Teachings with the convenience of staying in Jacksonville.
Please feel welcome to join us at the Center for any of these activities; all are of the ones mentioned above are open to the public. We ususally request a donation for events (to help us cover expenses), but volunteering is also a payment option and no one is turned away for lack of funds.
On a day-to-day basis, we’re also very active in the community. Each month we choose a charity to support, and we set up booths at various events in Jacksonville that promote activities related to our Dharma practice, such as VegFest. Several of our core members also participate in other volunteer efforts as part of our practice to benefit as many beings as possible.