Mention “Nirvana” these days and you’re more likely to conjure up images of dead rock stars over chanting Buddhist monks. In this peaceful little enclave however, there are no reincarnated grunge singers, but singing bowls and Tibetan maestros taking the stage in the quest for happiness and enlightenment of all.
Like a lotus flower floating peaceably along a rushing river, Thubten Dhargye Ling in barrio Prosperidad near Avenida de America is a center for Buddhism studies and Tibetan culture. I personally call it my “one-stop pit stop of good vibes”.The pleasant aroma of incense wafts through the air as you first enter and discover an exquisite little store peddling authentic Tibetan, Indian and Nepalese handicrafts and silver jewelry, crystals, medicinal incense, Buddhist malas or prayer beads, meditation bowls, and reasonably-priced books on Buddhism. But there’s so much more going on here – in fact, their weekly calendar is packed with well-being courses from Tibetan massage training, beginner and advanced meditation classes (including meditation classes for kids), and Reiki.
Downstairs, at the heart of the center, is a spacious and cozy Buddhist temple. Here, the resident monk, the Venerable Lama Palden Guese Lharampa, gives classes on meditation and practical Buddhist philosophy.
Truth be told, I find myself here regularly now on Monday evenings for the Lama’s talk, “Consejos budistas para la vida diaria”. I happened to be there just as a class was about to begin and a friendly monk told me I could check it out if I wanted.
It turned out to be quite a beautiful experience, and I was hooked ever since. You don’t even have to be a practicing Buddhist as it is open to all for a small “contribution” of 4 euros.Inside the temple, you sit on cushions and listen to the Yoda-like monk explain certain Buddhist tenets and how we can apply it to our everyday life. While the Lama speaks English, he dispenses the class in Tibetan, while his assistant monk translates it to understandable Spanish. It is nothing at all like a serious, boring, dogmatic Sunday school class either – in fact it’s really intriguing, practical and quite funny (the monks like to laugh a lot) and I personally leave with a really warm and fuzzy feeling after.
Of course, if you are a budding Buddhist and thinking of getting seriously into Buddhism, this is the perfect place to get going along your path. Aside from a wide array of books in their library about the teachings and practice, the center offers advanced courses on meditation and regular retreats.
So go forth, young Padawan, there is no try in the road to enlightenment.
Longtime newspaper journalist, children’s book writer, retired fire dancer. I moved to Spain in 2008 for the wine, food, and football.
Image Credits: Sanjib Mitra