Kagyu means "transmission of the teachings" and refers to our lineage, Karma Kagyu, led by His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje. Shenpen Tharchin means "the complete accomplishment of benefiting others."
Kagyu Shenpen Tharchin came together to practice and study Tibetan Buddhism, as transmitted through the Karma Kagyu and Shangpa Kagyu lineages.
We meditate, pray and study to deepen our innate wisdom and compassion. We vow to accomplish completely the enlightenment of each and every sentient being.
We help each other along the path by meeting weekly, hosting teachers, and encouraging each other in individual meditation. Those who have been around longer share their experience and knowledge; those who are new open our eyes with fresh insights.
Our first meeting was on January 19, 1993. We have met nearly every week since then, rain or shine. We are able to meet at Ekoji Buddhist Sangha through the kindness and vast generosity of Ekoji's founder, K.T. Tsuji, Sensei.
We have been honored to host such greats of the kagyu lineage as Khenpo Tsultrim Rinpoche and Tai Situ Rinpoche, and our own teacher, Lama Norlha Rinpoche. Monks and nuns from the monastery also kindly visit us several times a year.
We get together now and then for special practices, such as a New Year's practice, and for meetings and potlucks.
Three of our members completed the traditional Tibetan Buddhist three-year retreat, which is held at our mother monastery, Kagyu Thubten Choling. Those of us who can visit the monastery for short retreats and seminars.
Kagyu Shenpen Tharchin (KST), our Tibetan Buddhist sangha in Richmond, has an interesting set up. We are completely independent, with our own treasury, bylaws, membership and Board of Directors.
We are also affiliated with two organizations:
Our teacher's monastery in New York (Kagyu Thubten Choling), which offers us spiritual guidance; and
Ekoji Buddhist Sangha of Richmond, which maintains the temple where we meet.
KST supports our Tibetan Buddhist practice in Richmond. Expenses include teachers visits from the monastery in New York, and supplies (incense and offering bowls, etc). KST does not pay rent or mortgage for meeting at Ekoji!
Ekoji Buddhist Sangha of Richmond supports several Buddhist groups, including KST, by maintaining the temple building and paying for utilities and other communal resources such as meditation cushions, a website, brochures, and so on. Ekoji also organizes Buddhist community activities during the year. Ekoji, like KST, has bylaws, membership, treasury, and Board of Directors.