Karuna Buddhist Center—Karma Shenphen Nyingtse Ling in Tibetan—was started for the study and practice of the Buddha’s teachings in a way that is accessible in modern America while maintaining the integrity of authentic lineage.

What do Buddhist practices have to offer us today in our busy, often stressful lives? How can they help those who have not connected with organized religion, yet have deep questions about life? Or who feel drawn to a spiritual path, but are wary of anything that seems cultish or weird?

It is such questions that inspired us to open an independent Buddhist center. Our main teachers have been trained primarily in the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, yet desire to create a rimé or nonsectarian environment where we can explore all of the Buddha’s teachings as well as their current manifestations throughout the world without any sense of “our” way being superior.

We have a major focus on integrating our spiritual practice into everyday life. While there is much to be gained from retreats and practice intensives, they are often not feasible due to the demands of work, family, finances, health, and the other logistics of life in the world today. There are many Buddhist techniques that can carry our practice beyond formal meditation sessions, helping us work with our thoughts, feelings, and actions at any time of the day or night.

It’s also important to address the many obstacles that arise in our practice–both the common ones like physical discomfort and maintaining a regular practice schedule, and the ones that are specific to you. Developing the enlightened qualities of our Buddha nature–our inherent compassion and wisdom–is well within our capabilities, but we can all use some guidance along the way.

Regular Schedule

Khenpo Chophel teaches meditation every Saturday, 10:30-11:30 am, followed by informal discussion and tea.* Then from 12-1 pm we have a different program every week, such as a Dharma talk, a discussion session, or “Songs of Realization.” Since Khenpo Chophel’s arrival in Ann Arbor in September, 2023, we have been in the process of developing new programs, which will be posted on this website as soon as they are scheduled. Click here for our event schedule.

Currently, all of our regular weekly events are free, and newcomers are always welcome. Donations are appreciated.

Location: Bethlehem United Church of Christ, 423 S. 4th Avenue, Upper Room, Ann Arbor, 48104. Use the Fifth Avenue entrance, take elevator to top floor, turn left.

NOTE: If the outside door is locked, please text the number listed on the sign and someone will come to let you in.

*10:30 meditation doesn’t take place on the 5th Saturday of the month.

About our logo

We have chosen the umbrella to represent Karuna Buddhist Center because of its rich and fitting symbolism. The precious umbrella, one of the eight auspicious symbols of Buddhism which denote the noble eightfold path, symbolizes protection: When we take refuge in the Three Jewels—Buddha, Dharma and Sangha—we are protected from adversity. And because our center is committed to an ecumenical or rimé approach, we welcome all Buddhist traditions under our canopy.

Our logo was designed by Khenpo Tshering Chophel. Here, the umbrella represents altruism which cares for all sentient beings without prejudice, and the nurturing hands represent compassion which holds their suffering. The three circles on top of the umbrella stand for the Three Jewels and the six tassels for the six perfections. The handle of the umbrella signifies the spiritual path, while the two hands represent wisdom and method, both of which we need to develop as we progress toward our goal. Finally, blue and yellow stand for the sky and earth—or emptiness and Buddha nature.