Billings Dharma Center

This profile was last updated in 2006

Activities and Schedule


Main Satsang (Main Teaching) Saturdays 7:30 – 9:30 P.M.
Buddhist Scriptures Sundays 6:15 – 6:45 P.M.
Satsang (Teaching) Tuesdays 7:30 – 9:00 P.M.
Tai Chi Chuan Wednesdays 7:30 – 8:30 P.M.
Lamas Receive Instruction Fridays
Teaching at the Women’s Prison Tuesdays and Thursdays

The Center is open 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. every night.

History

Chenrab Dorje has been with the community since 1978. He originally taught his disciples individually for several years. Then in 1986 he began giving satsang each Saturday at Shila Mani’s bookstore in downtown Billings. As the community grew, Shila Mani, Yoga Dhatta, and Mani Agni began giving Satsang for beginners on additional evenings of the week. The center was acquired in 1996, but due to cold weather, Yoga Dhatta (who is now the abbot of the center), had difficulties moving and getting settled. The Center was dedicated to the dharma on January 1, 1997. There is an assembly room for satsang, a Gompa downstairs for silent meditation, and a kitchen and dining room for dharma dinners.

Interfaith Circles

The Methodist minister in Helena, Dave Anderson, contacted the dharma center, inquiring if they would be interested in joining the Helena Interfaith Circle. Yoga Dhatta attended several meetings, but the frequent trips of over 250 miles (one way) were impracticable and quickly became too difficult to sustain. In 2002 the dharma center took the initiative to start an interfaith circle in the Billings area.

Once a month the clergy and highly active lay members of Baha’i, Catholic, Congregationalist, Family, Hindu, Jewish, Lighthouse Mission, Lutheran, Muslim, Native American, Presbyterian and Unification communities come together to have breakfast at the dharma center. The interfaith breakfasts usually lead into discussion. General topics have often been prepared by Yoga Dhatta. For example, prior to the assault on Iraq, there was a discussion of the compatibility of national politics and one’s personal faith or the traditional stance of one’s religion. Other topics Thad Mauney (Yoga Dhatta) brought to the table have been, “What is the source of healing?” and “What is your personal inspiration and your sense of mission? When did it come to you?”

The interfaith circle also serves as a support system for the clergy. According to members of the circle, clergy need support in a way that is different from what a congregation can provide. The Interfaith circle acts as a way for the clergy to support each other as people. They respect their differences but appreciate each others’ work.

“[The Interfaith Circle] allows us to hear perspectives from other faiths that allows us to deepen an understanding of our own.” –Yoga Dhatta