Welcoming Congregations of Kansas City - Rime Buddhist Center
October 28, 2006
Welcoming Congregations turns eastward this month to profile a congregation from the dharmic tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. A century-old red brick church on the Kansas City’s West Side is home to the Rime Buddhist Center.
Rime Buddhist Center
The Rime (pronounced REE-may) Center grew out of a group formed by Lama Chuck Stanford and his wife, Mary, in the early nineties; it moved to its current home at 700 West Pennway Street in 2000. The term “Rime” means non-sectarian, a philosophical movement that started in Tibet in the 19th century.
Spiritual Director Lama Stanford helps us understand the origins and practices of Tibetan Buddhism by explaining:
Buddhism was brought to Tibet in the 8th century by the Indian saint Padmasambhava. Tibetan Buddhism is known as Vajrayana, which translated means “diamond vehicle,” and is considered the quick path to enlightenment.
Tibetan Buddhism is rich with ritual and has been compared to Catholicism within the Christian denominations. Tibetan Buddhism, like other schools of Buddhism, is concerned with ending suffering in ourselves and others. Its use of tantra provides practitioners with a plethora of different spiritual practices for transforming one’s own mind.
Buddhism and other dharmic traditions do not have the adversarial history with LGBT persons that many western religions do, so there is no need of a “reconciliation” movement within them. Buddhism does not proselytize or attempt to convert those of other faiths.
The Rime Buddhist Center invites authors, lecturers, and religious scholars to speak at the church. News of these events is advertised on the congregation’s website and in its newsletter. The events may be Buddhist, such as welcoming a visiting lama, or interfaith spiritual , as when Rime hosted the venerable religious scholar Huston Smith. Recently, a gay western lama visited Rime, and several gay members were pleased to connect with a lama who shares their orientation.
Rime Center has classes scheduled for fall, spring, and summer semesters. The courses are designed to be taken in sequence, with one class building upon the knowledge of the previous class. Classes on Buddhism meet on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings. Each term, beginners classes are advertised in the Communiversity catalog. Those interested can register through Communiversity or directly through the Rime Center.
Sunday service/practice and retreats are open to anyone who is interested. For the Sunday meeting, the entire service is printed in a program that includes an annotated guide with a description of any visualizations involved. Meditation sessions on Wednesdays at 6 PM are free of charge, no appointment necessary. Meditation instruction is also offered as requested. For up-to-date information, sign up for the postal and email lists at the Rime Center website.
The Rime Buddhist Center has a four-fold outreach program including prison and hospital ministries. Community outreach includes help with food preparation at Grace & Holy Trinity Cathedral. Rime Center also finds American sponsors for needy Tibetan refugees who risk their lives by walking across the Himalayas simply for religious freedom.
A few years ago, HarmonyNCCJ offered education about LGBT issues and LGBT youth to local organizations and businesses. The Rime Center Board was one of the first groups to take this training. Lama Chuck affirms that the Rime Center’s goal is to “be the most welcoming spiritual community in Kansas City.”
Rime Buddhist Center Schedule
Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday
Group Meditation - 7:00 to 7:30 PM
Classes - 7:45 to 9:00 PM
Service/Practice - 10:30 AM
Rime Buddhist Center Location
700 W. Pennway
Kansas City, MO 64108-2134
For all of the articles in this series, go to campkc.com/uploads/welcoming.htm. Check this URL later, as we add articles from future print editions.