Kagyu Shedrup Chöling: Tibetan Buddhist Site Visit Journal

Kagyu Shedrup Chöling, the Tibetan Buddhists down at Miami, welcomes outsiders with open arms. They extended an invitation to go visit on a work day for them so we could walk around, interview them, and gain some insight before attending any of their rituals. They were interested in helping us learn as much as we were interested in learning from their religion, and invited us to take part in some of their ceremonies and studies as well. They said while it might be difficult to follow in their Tibetan chants, we could try to follow along with a translated version of the chants if interested in seeing their rites. They invited us to take part on their teaching when they do what she called “similar to bible studies’ where they explain to new members of their religion what their sacred scripts say.
The person who was explaining their customs and the shrines in their site was most helpful. She explained to us that they sometimes walk among the shrines saying their Tibetan chants while, which showed she was willing to help us understand their importance to them. Not only was the person interviewed warm and friendly towards us, she was willing to listen to questions and answer them as best she could. The others who were present were also kind and willing to help however possible. The people present at were all willing to further assist us with any questions we may have that another person was not able to explain or answer for us.
At first I expected them to be a little bit skeptic about our interests in their religion, but it all cleared quickly. They were not as I was expecting them to be from what you see Buddhists to dress, they were respectful of our presence as much as we were theirs. In order to alleviate any feeling of awkwardness for those of us there to interview them, they walked us to the back where they had their stupa shrines located. The room that is connected to the entrance door is sacred to them so it is required that you take off your shoes to enter, and she thought it might create a sense of awkwardness for us.
Their willingness to help my understanding of their religion, as well as the way they expressed themselves towards outsiders of their religious beliefs was impressive and would make anyone feel welcome. The fact that they were trying to work on their worship area, and took time to explain to us their belief system, their view of the world and of how man is full of clouded wisdom. Their ability to understand our curiosity and desire to learn more about other religions was something awe-inspiring. While they knew we were there for scholarly reasons, they were still willing to take time to share with us information, share their beliefs, and let us walk along their stupa shrines. The belief is that all life comes with suffering. They taught us that they believe that man is wise, but is clouded by their pride and ego and in order to control the ego, you must meditate until you receive a revelation. Truly an interesting religion, and their believers are the most amazingly kind people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.

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