Dharma Leader Training Program Concludes

Top, L-R: Thia Powers, Debbie George, Denise Owens, Middle, L-R: Larry Dawalt, Ward Simmons, Clyde Alexnder, Bottom: Alexis Stein

On May 14, 2019, five aspiring Dharma Leaders gathered as the first class of IMC Charlotte’s Dharma Leader Training Program. While one had to withdraw due to work and family obligations, and another, our dear friend Bob Bushorn, died unexpectedly during the program, three completed the training.

On Saturday, April 10, Thia Powers, Larry Dawalt, and Denise Owens celebrated their graduation. Program teachers Clyde Alexander, Debbie George, and Ward Simmons recognized the graduates with a ceremony, a certificate, and a meditation bell for each of them. Dharma Leaders Joy LiBethe and Alexis Stein also attended program sessions, and Alexis was able to be present for the graduation ceremony. The next time you have the opportunity, please take a moment to congratulate Denise, Larry, and Thia.

The long-standing group of five Dharma Leaders is delighted to have this infusion of talent and energy.

Letting Go, Letting Be: Reflections 2019 IMCC Fall Retreat

Letting Go, Letting Be, our sangha retreat at Heartwood Retreat and Refuge Center in Hendersonville, N.C., September 20-22 of 2019, gave participants opportunities for meditation and learning with three of our dharma leaders – Clyde, Debbie and Alexis. The mountain setting, nearby lake, mild temperatures, star-filled evenings and the serenity of Noble Silence helped create a beneficial experience for new and experienced meditators alike.

IMCC Retreat Featured In Charlotte Magazine


What I Learned from Sitting Still and Shutting Up

Lessons from a silent meditation retreat


Try something.
For the next minute, focus on the present moment.
On sounds and smells, on feelings that come and go.
Don’t think about tomorrow’s deadline or yesterday’s screw-up. Be fully where and when you are.

How’d you do? If you’re like most of us, pretty badly. It’s not our fault—our brains crave distraction. We jump from thought to thought, regret to anxiety, like kids who jump from the couch to the table to the chair because the floor is lava. As adults, our lava is the present moment. It’s the only real thing we have—the past is over; the future hasn’t happened—yet we pay little attention to that space in between.

I wanted to hang out in the lava. In March, I attended a silent meditation retreat with Insight Meditation Community of Charlotte. The retreat would be held in the 2,600-year-old Buddhist tradition of noble silence, which in 2019 looks like this: no talking, no eye contact, no phones or computers, no reading or writing. Four days of just meditation, yoga, and mindfulness. The idea both terrified and excited me. Click here to view entire article.

Retreat with Bhikkhu Jayasara

On August 23rd and 24th, 2019, IMC Charlotte had the pleasure of hosting a new guest speaker for our sangha: Bhikkhu Jayasara. Bhante J, as he is affectionately called, taught Friday night about “Anger Arising” and Saturday about “Living with Uncertainty.” Both were valuable teachings with easy application to daily life. Bhante J resides at Bhavana Monastery and Retreat Center located in West Virginia.

Dharma Leaders in Training

In May 2019, IMC Charlotte launched its first-ever Dharma Leader Training Program (DLTP). The two-year program’s objective is to expand the pool of Dharma Leaders serving the sangha, helping to ensure the continuity of the teachings available to sangha members over the years and decades to come.

The five participants (pictured from left) are Gray Clark, Thia Powers, Denise Owens, Bob Bushorn, and Larry Dawalt. All are graduates of the sangha’s 2017-2018 year-long Dharma Study and Practice Program.

As DLTP unfolds, participants will serve in a variety of roles, including teaching classes, multi-week series, study groups, and retreats as well as leading Wednesday evening instruction periods, and Tuesday lunchtime / Wednesday evening sangha meetings.

We are excited about this step in the growth of IMCC and grateful to the students and teachers for their commitment to the Dhamma as well as our sangha.

Intensive Dharma Study Program

IMCC offered its first one-year Dhamma Study and Practice Program from September 2017 through August 2018.  The program integrated meditation practice with the study of the teachings of the Buddha. The first class of students delved more deeply into the meaning and significance of the Buddha’s teachings and creatively explored the relationship of these teachings to meditation practice and daily life.

The program was led by Dharma Leaders Ward Simmons, Debbie George and Clyde Alexander (front row).  The group met monthly, including four daylong sessions.  The students also worked with partners on the recommended readings and reflections.

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