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2010 Moline Dispatch Article about Meditation Class at Quad Cities Botanical Center

Posted Online: July 30, 2010, 12:00 am

Meditation cultivates peaceful minds at Botanical Center 

By Leon Lagerstam,

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Photo: Gary Krambeck
Joe Gauthier of the Lamrim Kadampa Buddhist Center in Iowa City teaches a Buddhist Meditation class on Tuesdays at the Quad City Botanical Center in Rock Island.
ROCK ISLAND -- Peaceful plants and minds get cultivated weekly at the Quad City Botanical Center.

Buddhist meditation teacher Joe Gauthier makes a trip every Tuesday to the center, 2525 4th Ave., from the Lamrin Kadampa Buddhist Center in Iowa City to plant peaceful feelings.

Meditation classes are offered from 6:45 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays. Participants can drop in without advance registration for classes that cost $10 or $5 for students and seniors. 

It's only enough to cover expenses, said Mr. Gauthier, whohas spent more than 15 years studying Buddhism, an educational journey that has taken him to Europe and Asia, before coming to the Iowa City center.

Each Botanical Center session provides brief explanations about how to meditate, guided breathing mediation and a different Buddhist component each week, such as compassion, love and wisdom, he said. Time for questions, answers and discussion also is provided.

Subjects and methods taught are designed to help people cultivate and increase positive states of mind conducive to well-being and happiness, Mr. Gauthier said.

''We try to keep things simple, because everyone's not Buddhist,'' he said. ''But one of the main things we hope people learn is how to take time out of their busy lives to focus on what's going on in their minds and gain some clarity.'' 

Without taking time for such reflection, people may not understand why they experience recurring problems or understand why they are always worried or stressed out, Mr. Gauthier said.

''We need an underlying state of mind that's positive and contains some inner peace if we hope to find any degree of enjoyment from anything in our lives, such as what we do at work or in our relationships,'' he said. ''It's about an internal approach to happiness that you can build into the fabric of your mind to stop from developing negative states of mind.''

Everyone shares the same fundamental desire to find a ''deep and lasting state of happiness in their life,'' according to promotional materials about the meditation sessions.

Buddhist teachings shared more than 2,500 years ago remain relevant today because of that, materials said.

Mr. Gauthier became interested in those teachings as a teenager. After graduating from college, he turned his full attention to Buddhism and visited several centers and monasteries.

For example, he studied in Taiwan, taught by a monk who had more than 30 years of experience. He also traveled to Buddhist centers in Spain, England, Holland and in Madison, Wis., where his brother, Kelsang Drubwang, runs a center.

Mr. Gauthier's brother used to commute from Wisconsin to Iowa to run both centers.

''After he found out I was back in the U.S., he asked if I could run the Iowa City center,'' Mr. Gauthier said.

His brother assumed a Tibetan name after getting ordained. Mr. Gauthier hasn't decided if he'll follow his brother's footsteps.

The Iowa City Lamrim Center offers meditation classes, retreats, chanted prayers and day courses. For information, call (319) 351-9893 or visit

A Quad-Citian had asked center officials if they would consider offering meditation sessions locally, ''so we offered a six-week course that generated a fair enough interest that we decided to keep doing it on a permanent basis, as long as we can cover the costs,'' Mr. Gauthier said.

''We looked around at various places, but the one that most impressed us as a nice spot for meditations was the Botanical Center,'' he said. ''It's such a peaceful atmosphere that fits perfectly with our main goal of cultivating peaceful minds.''

Joe Gauthier 
Address: Iowa City.
Birth date: April 13, 1978.
Education: University of New Hampshire, with a bachelor's degree in education.
Hometown: Milton, Mass.
Family: A brother, two sisters, parents, stepmother and a nephew.
Favorite saying: ''The best things in life are free.''
Hobbies: ''Biking and hiking.''
One thing I feel strongly about: ''Everything you do is important; no matter how small, everything you do has an effect.''
I wish I knew how to: ''Get around town easier. Some Quad-Cities streets threw me for a loop.'' 

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Meditation classes in Iowa & 2010 Moline Dispatch Article about Meditation Class at Quad Cities Botanical Center.