OUR STORY

Guiding Principles

Tashi Gatsel Ling Buddhist Center is led by its founder Khen Rinpoche Lobsang Tsetan, a highly esteemed monk and leader in the Gelugpa tradition. Tashi Gatsel Ling has a strong connection to Gelugpa lineage yet promotes the Rime (Ree-may) non-sectarian tradition as encouraged by His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama. Tibetan Buddhist teachings are offered only by teachers who have been recognized by their Tibetan Buddhist teacher to be a teacher.

TGL Objectives

At Tashi Gatsel Ling Buddhist Center we will assure, to the best of our abilities, that we…

● Create an open, inviting atmosphere of acceptance that welcomes all and where all can benefit from the teachings of the Buddha

● Establish an environmentally green, dedicated, non-sectarian Tibetan Buddhist retreat, educational and spiritual center which welcomes all and promotes awareness of Buddhism

● Sponsor and host recognized teachers and guest lecturers for Buddhist teachings and retreats, with special emphasis placed upon intercultural exchange through targeted support of female Tibetan Buddhist monastics

● Maintain a sacred space dedicated solely for spiritual practice

● Observe, honor and study the precepts, principles, scriptures and teachings of Buddhism

● Utilize the Center’s Board for transparent decision-making, communications and oversight of the Center’s programming, operations and finances

● Uphold and maintain a flourishing harmonious Dharma Center that enhances the public good in Maine and beyond through genuine expression of the ethics and values of living Buddha Dharma and interfaith harmony

● Keep the vision and long-term goals of His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama and Khen Rinpoche central to the Center’s activities, bringing Dharma to the West as an expression of ethics that benefits all – promoting kindness and compassion, transparency, non-sectarianism and inclusivity

Background

We began in a small artist studio in Freeport, Maine in 1990s when as a monk in his mid-forties he was visiting the state and learning English. He had a strong wish to learn the language in order to transmit authentic Buddhist Dharma in the West. Twice each year he visited our state and gave teachings over a period of a month, often twice a week with weekend intensives held at Portland Yoga Studio, with room for larger audiences.

Almost no one who attended initially was following Buddhism. People came for a variety of reasons: curiosity, seeking peace, stress reduction, healing, or were just gravitating toward his open-hearted warm smile.

As interest in the Dharma grew, so did his audience. Many Mainers decided to become practicing Buddhists by taking refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. In the following decades, Rinpoche began attracting large audiences and devoted students, so a larger space was organized at 429 Elmwood Rd. in Pownal. We met there for three years, before relocating to a more accessible center off of Route 1 in Freeport. After two years, Tashi Gatsel Ling volunteer organizers relocated the shrine room, cost-free, to Gray.

Khen Rinpoche’s schedule and responsibilities continued to increase, limiting the amount of time he was able to spend in Maine each year. He instructed his disciples to keep going with their Dharma practice by working together to keep the center and their practice growing.

His longtime disciples accepted the responsibility to continue to support his and Tashi Gatsel Ling’s legacy in Maine by maintaining an active, thriving Buddhist Dharma community in Gray. We are currently beginning a project to establish a permanent site for a new, eco-built Tashi Gatsel Ling Buddhist Center. Stay tuned…