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2011 Radish magazine article about Meditation at Lamrim Kadampa Buddhist Center

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May 26, 2011 12:30PM 

Inner peace: A new location for ancient Buddhist teachings



By Ann Scholl Rinehart

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Ann Scholl Rinehart
Joe Gauthier, teacher at Lamrim Kadampa Buddhist Center in Iowa City. 
 
The Buddha gave 84,000 teachings for people to reach enlightenment, but all of them, according to Joe Gauthier, teacher at Lamrim Kadampa Buddhist Center in Iowa City, can be boiled down to this: "If you have a positive and peaceful mind, you're going to be happy -- regardless of your external situation. If you have a negative, disturbed state of mind, it doesn't matter what's surrounding you, you're going to be unhappy."

Cultivating that inner peace will be the focus of a community presentation from 6:45 to 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 7, at the Quad City Botanical Center in Rock Island, where Gauthier also offers meditation classes. The presentation, "Creating Happiness: The Art of Peaceful Living," will be given by Gen Kelsang Jampa, an American Buddhist monk and the U.S. national spiritual director of the New Kadampa Tradition – International Kadampa Buddhist Union (NKT-IKBU). The presentation is free and everyone is welcome to attend.

"Inner peace is the goal for someone trying to find happiness in this world, using an internal approach," Gauthier says. "You don't have to be Buddhist to understand it. It's practical for everybody. This talk will be about how to achieve that."

Gauthier, 33, who grew up outside of Boston, was raised Catholic. He developed an interest in Buddhism as a teen and has practiced it seriously the past 10 years. "I loved how they explained reality. It sounded very true, very accurate," he says. Meditation, he discovered, helped him calm down, gain control over his mind and relax. It also sparked his curiosity. "I wondered how far I could take it," he says.

Gauthier graduated with a degree in education from the University of New Hampshire. He taught troubled youths for a while, but left to pursue a better understanding of Buddhism and to deepen his meditation practice. He studied in Taiwan for a couple of years and in Europe for about a half-dozen years. It was his brother, Gen Kelsang Drubwang, the resident teacher at Akanishta Buddhist Center in Madison, Wis., who suggested he take a teaching position at the Buddhist center in Iowa City. 

Gauthier said he was interested because he had spent a year in Madison and found Midwesterners to be "so beautiful, down to earth, friendly and welcoming," he says. He moved to Iowa City in November 2009. In June, he will relocate to the Quad Cities, having recently found a second location for Lamrim Center in downtown Davenport. He'll continue to teach regularly in Iowa City.

He likes that Buddhism is still relatively new in the Midwest so he has the opportunity to introduce people to it. He enjoys people stopping by the center, not just for classes, but also to ask questions and learn more about Buddhism.

"I think people have a general caution when it comes to any sort of religion, which I think is good, personally. As soon as people attend classes and talk with me, they realize there's no ulterior motive. We're not looking to conquer the world. We just want to give people the chance to find happiness internally."

He continues: "To find deep, stable and lasting happiness, that's what we all want. We try in different ways to find it. A lot of times we're not successful. The reason is that we're neglecting our mind. We're leaving out the key ingredient to the recipe of happiness. If you really want to find peace in your mind, you have to do something internally."

Gauthier describes Jampa as "a very good teacher" who is "really looking forward" to his upcoming Quad-Cities presentation.

To learn more about the Lamrim Kadampa Buddhist Center, stop by the center's booth at the Healthy Living Fair, June 18, or visit meditateiniowacity.org.

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Lamrim Kadampa Buddhist Center

502 1/2 West 3rd Street., Davenport, IA 52801
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A member of the New Kadampa Tradition - International Kadampa Buddhist Union.

Meditation classes in Iowa & 2011 Radish magazine article about Meditation at Lamrim Kadampa Buddhist Center.