WE NEED YOUR HELP! 

If we reach our goal by January 7, 2024 we will have raised enough funds to cover Songtsen Gampo’s total expenses for the first three months of the year. Every dollar you give helps pay our rent and utilities, provides some living expenses for Resident Teacher, Ani Palmo Rybicki, and helps us offer program discounts to those in need. Find out more on our website at BuddhistCleveland.org.

I want to help, but I’m not sure how much to give! What do you suggest?

Please contribute whatever you can, even if it’s only a few dollars. If you are financially fortunate, please consider a larger gift! Suggested donation levels below:

Suggested donation levels below:

 $1500 Plus: Magnanimous Patron – Thank you for paying our rent for a month!

 $250-$500: Precious Benefactor – Thank you for supporting our Resident Teacher!

 $100-$200: Noble Sponsor – Thank you for helping us keep the lights and the heat on!

 $50-$100: Kind Contributor – Thank you for helping us give discounts on our programs!

 $15-$50: Generous Friend – Thank you for helping us pay for our website!

 

WHO ARE WE?

Songtsen Gampo Buddhist Center is located in Lakewood, Ohio (a suburb of Cleveland) where we provide instruction in Buddhist meditation and philosophy in a way that is applicable to Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. The Center also serves as a focal point for forming a supportive spiritual community and as a starting point for benefiting the wider world.

Today, our Resident Teacher Ani Palmo Rybicki–a native Clevelander and ordained Buddhist nun–leads Classes, Guided Meditation, Seminars, and Retreats. She also heads a three-year graduated program called “Exploring Tibetan Buddhism” for those interested in serious practice. In addition, we host Family Meditation, Lama Visits, and more!

Songtsen Gampo offers both in-person and worldwide access via Zoom for all of our programs so that everyone has the opportunity to come into contact with the Dharma and begin their journey toward enlightenment.

We are a vibrant, generous, and inclusive community open to one and all! Seasoned Buddhist practitioners, newcomers, and the simply curious, LGBTQ+ friends, friends of other faiths, or no faith at all—all are welcome in our home!

The best way to stay up to date on all of our activities is to sign up for our newsletter here.

Tulku Pema Wangyal Rinpoche

WHAT IS OUR STORY?

Long ago and far away (2005 in France, to be exact) Tulku Pema Wangyal Rinpoche, one of our Spiritual Directors and Ani Palmo’s main Teacher, asked her to return home to share the precious Dharma. This was an extremely rare request from Rinpoche. He had asked people to lead small meditation groups in the past, but never explicitly to teach. So, wanting to fulfill her Teacher’s wishes, Ani Palmo returned to Cleveland and started teaching in January of 2006.

After about a year of giving classes and public talks on Buddhism and Meditation throughout the Greater Cleveland area, Ani Palmo’s Dharma friends asked if she might be able to start a Center so they would have a place to study and practice together, as well as invite our Lamas to come and teach.

She relayed their request to Tulku Pema Wangyal Rinpoche and he gave his blessing, naming the Center “Songtsen Gampo” after King Songtsen Gampo, the first of Tibet’s three great religious kings and an emanation of Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of Compassion. (The literal translation of “Songtsen Gampo” is “Profound Brilliant Justice!”)

Thus, the long journey began. While searching for a place Ani Palmo taught in church basements, led regular meditation sessions at the Cleveland Museum of Art, and spoke at various universities. After eight years, she found a double house in Cleveland where she lived in the upper half and the Center took the lower half. For three years this was our place.

However, between the difficulty with parking and the rather dangerous neighborhood, it became clear that it was time to move on. In 2017 Ani Palmo found the perfect place, a double storefront in Lakewood, Ohio. One side could be used for a classroom and the other for the temple. To her great surprise and delight a very generous acquaintance bought the whole building!

Many wonderful friends, old and new, worked for months painting and decorating, collecting artwork and supplies, and making the place our own beautiful Center. In February of 2018 we held our Grand Opening and our adventure as Songtsen Gampo Buddhist Center began!

HOW WILL YOUR DONATIONS BE USED?

When you pay for classes, events, memberships, and donations, each and every penny goes to keeping the Center running so that we can continue to provide the space for everyone to access the precious teachings. While the teachings themselves are free, the expenses to provide them are not!

This includes rent, utilities, insurance, supplies, and more, including Ani Palmo’s rather modest salary. As Ani Palmo is our only local source of the Dharma, and is wholly dedicated to this work, it is really important to pay her a living wage. Her 35 years of education and experience, and her skill in teaching are extremely rare and so precious to us all!

Unfortunately, the salary we are able to offer still places Ani Palmo below the poverty line. Since the beginning she has been drawing from her personal savings just to pay her bills—the same bills you and I have like rent, utilities, car repairs, gas, etc. One day we hope to be able to pay her a proper salary, in addition to finally covering her health insurance, travel costs, and other expenses she incurs while working for Songtsen Gampo.

We can say with confidence that your donations are being put to good use!

Thank you for giving generously!