Buddhist Follower Opens a New Dharma Center In the Avenues

February 26, 2010

Author: Peggy Fletcher Stack

Source: The Salt Lake Tribune


A new Buddhist figure from China is finding followers across the United States and now has at least one in Utah -- Margaret Esterman.

Esterman had studied Zen Buddhism for 15 years when Zhaxi Zhuoma Rinpoche, a high-level female disciple of Dorje Chang Buddha III, discussed the master's teachings and recent book at Salt Lake City's Unitarian Universalist Church in the summer of 2008.

Dorje Chang Buddha III is believed by many to be the reincarnation of Shakyamuni Buddha, whose last appearance was 2,500 years ago. He has returned at this time, they say, because ours is a "Dharma-Ending Age," whereby it is difficult for people to understand and practice the incomplete and often erroneous dharma (teaching) that has been passed down through the ages.

"This great holy Buddha came back to these degenerate times to teach the correct dharma and show living beings how to escape the suffering and unhappiness of worldly existence and to attain complete liberation from the cycle of reincarnation," Zhaxi Zhuoma Rinpoche wrote on the group's Web site. "His holiness is a man of boundless compassion and wisdom."

Today, even true Buddhist followers are hindered in their beliefs, the disciple wrote, because of the "collective bad karma of living beings and the fact that demonic powers are so strong."

Even those who become believers are often "wrongdoers" who follow evil ways deviating from true Buddhism and embracing false teachings.

Dorje Chang's ideas were thrilling to Esterman when she first heard them, and thereafter she couldn't get enough.

So the Utahn followed Zhaxi Zhuoma Rinpoche throughout the West -- Boise, Helena, Taos, Sedona and Las Vegas -- where the female convert was presenting the new Buddha's ideas and telling her stories as an eyewitness to the Buddha's miraculous powers.