Wilmington, NC is at the end of the line. Literally. The cross-country route of I-40 ends in Wilmington. The other end of the line is Barstow, Ca., a short two hours from Los Angeles. A quick search reveals over 40 Buddhist centers of one type or another in the Los Angeles area. Ha. There aren’t 40 Buddhist centers in all of North Carolina! And in Wilmington, we have no Buddhist teachers and one Buddhist temple—Wat Carolina—located near Bolivia. Wat Carolina is in the Thai forest tradition.
Because of Wilmington’s relative remoteness, people from our area must leave for other places to hear noted teachers, practice in a temple or center, or interact with other practitioners of the same lineage or tradition. To get a sense of Buddhist practice groups here, just visit wilmingtondharma.org. All of the practice groups meet in homes or rent space from a church. All of the practice groups tend to be an eclectic mix of people who seem to be interested in basic Buddhist concepts first and specific traditions or lineages second.
So, when a noted teacher from a specific tradition comes to town, it’s always an occasion. This week and next, noted Dharma teacher Brendan Kennedy will be in town. Brendan Kennedy has been practicing Tibetan Buddhism for the past 27 years. His main teachers are: H.H. Dalai Lama, Khyentse Rimpoche, Chatral Rimpoche, Sokste Rimpoche and Lama Surya Das. Two Wilmington residents interested in Tibetan Buddhism—Bill Ruoff and Marvin Moss—know Brendan through their teacher, Lama Surya Das. They helped arrange for Brendan’s stay in Wilmington.
While here, Brendan will work with Beverley Foulks, an assistant professor of East Asian Religions who received an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School and a Ph.D. in East Asian Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University. Brendan will participate in two of Bev’s classes. Brendan will also teach at a half-day retreat open to the public. This retreat is on Saturday, December 3. 2011. The event will be at the Community Action Center, 317 Castle Street, Wilmington. More information may be found here.
The opportunities in Wilmington to learn from well-known, prominent teachers are rare. You are invited to participate!