New Home for KTC Jacksonville

$4,597 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 40 people in 1 month
Hello! My name is Casey Stone. I serve as the Treasurer for Karma Thegsum Choling Jacksonville(KTC Jax), a Tibetan Buddhist Meditation Center of the Karma Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. We are an affiliate Dharma center of Karma Triyana Dharmachakra(KTD) Monastery in Upstate New York. For over 30 years, KTC Jax has been the face of Tibetan Buddhism in Jacksonville and the North Florida area. We have welcomed all those interested in studying the teachings of the Buddha and the practices of authentic Buddhist meditation regardless of ethnic background, gender identity, sexual orientation, or age. We offer North Florida a space to study and practice a pure and unbroken tradition of compassion, loving-kindness, and wisdom as taught by the Karma Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, which traces directly back to Shakyamuni Buddha.

KTC Jax was established because of the kindness of His Holiness the Karmapa and the Abbot of KTD Monastery, the Venerable Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche. Khenpo Rinpoche came to the West over 40 years ago from India to plant the seeds of Dharma. Several years after his arrival in the West, Rinpoche founded KTC Jax in 1986 with the help of his long time devoted student, KTC Director Michael Turnquist. Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche then visited Jacksonville for the first time in 1988 and continued to teach and bestow empowerments in Florida thereafter. Because of Rinpoche and the hard work of volunteers, the foundation of KTC Jax was laid so that many great Buddhist masters could teach the Dharma. These teachers include Venerable Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche, Venerable Bardor Tulku Rinpoche, Lama Tashi Namgyal, Khenpo Ugyen, and Lama Yeshe Gyamtso.

Today, KTC Jax’s relationship with KTD Monastery is the strongest its ever been, and we regularly host KTD Lamas for weekend programs for the community. We receive visits from Lama Lodro Lhamo, Lama Karma Drodhul, Lama Losang, Lama Tsultrim Yeshe, and Lama Kathy Wesley. Lama Losang, a graduate of Karme Ling Retreat Center and a fully ordained monk, is one of Khenpo Rinpoche’s close students and the Spiritual Director for KTC Jax. Our two resident monastics, novice nun Ani Lhamo and novice monk Gyamtso, also devote themselves to KTC Jax to cultivate the Dharma and benefit beings. We are very fortunate for all this support!

During the last several years it has been the aspiration of KTC Jax to be able to have a place we can call our own. In Jacksonville we have several Cambodian Theravada Buddhist temples and Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist temples, but we have no permanent Tibetan Buddhist temple. For a long time, our home has been a rented office building in the Riverside neighborhood of Jacksonville. Our rent is increasing every year and the infrastructure of the building is decaying. Our need for a new home became even more urgent in 2016 when a pipe ruptured one night and flooded the entire center with several inches of water. The cost of the damages and restoration was over $12,000. With the help of insurance and generous donors, however, we were able to get back onto our feet.

We can see how important Karma Thegsum Choling Jacksonville is and I have organized this fundraiser to raise the necessary funds so we can put a down payment on a property in Jacksonville that will better serve the needs of the KTC Jax community. We have been organizing benefit dinners and silent auctions with the local Sangha(Buddhist community) to make this happen but we have only raised a small amount compared to what we would need. Our local membership is giving what they can. We do not have wealthy members or corporate benefactors. We are a small community of Dharma practioners. The reality is that we need the help of generous donors outside of Jacksonville to make this possible. I truly believe with the support of our friends around the United States and elsewhere, we can come together and make this dream of KTC Jax come true.

Karma Thegsum Choling Jacksonville will always be more than a building. It is a community committed to Dharma activity to benefit sentient beings by cultivating compassion and loving-kindness. Thousands have come into contact with meditation and Buddhism because of KTC Jax. We also serve our local community through outreach such as doing supply drives for LGBT homeless youth and animal rescue groups. We frequently receive visits from local university students and are asked to visit classrooms. Our Board of Directors are invited to Interfaith events to represent Buddhism. A permanent home we can call our own will help us expand our activity and benefit the community even more. Your support to help us purchase a permanent home will increase our capacity to offer even more programs and activities that will benefit the North Florida community and elsewhere.

Our teacher, Venerable Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, never ceased his efforts to establish KTD Monastery and Karme Ling Retreat Center so that the Buddha’s teachings can be studied and practiced for lifetimes to come in the West. Even at 94 years old he continues to plant the seeds of Dharma tirelessly, such as helping to rebuild Columbus KTC. Because of the hard work of great teachers like Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, we have connected with the Dharma and it has changed our lives. We can give back a little by supporting this important cause. Buddhism will thrive in the West when we actively support our monasteries and centers that cultivate the pure, authentic Buddhadharma. It is my hope that we can show our gratitude for Khenpo Rinpoche’s kindness by establishing a permanent home for His Holiness the Karmapa’s Jacksonville Dharma Center so that the Buddha’s teachings can thrive here. But we need your help and support more than ever. Please look for a reason to give today!

Karma Thegsum Choling Jacksonville is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in the State of Florida. Your donations are tax deductible. Also, at my personal expense, if you make a donation of $150 or more I will mail you two sets of Tibetan prayer flags! Thank you!


Casey Stone
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Our hearts have been full of so much gratitude lately as KTC Jacksonville fundraises for a new permanent home for the Center in Jacksonville. Our Venerable Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, KTD Lamas(such as Lama Lodro Lhamo and Lama Karma), and a good amount of generous individuals have donated to the fundraising campaign. We still have a long way to go to fulfill the vision but everything is going well. I feel so grateful for our monasteries, temples, centers and our Dharma Masters. Without them the teachings of the Buddha would not have come into our lives. These preservers of the Buddha's teachings have made our connection to the Dharma possible. A couple days ago on the last day Chötrul Duchen, the sacred days known as the Buddha's Days of Miracles, Khenpo Rinpoche donated $1000 to KTC for us to have a new home and he thanked the KTC Jax Board of Directors for working hard for His Holiness Karmapa's center. Khenpo Rinpoche was sent to the U.S. by the previous Karmapa about 40 years ago to bring the Buddha's teachings here for the sake of benefiting sentient beings. Without Rinpoche's tireless, constant work and of other Masters after him, our access to the Dharma in the West, and even our connection to it, would be very limited. We rejoice in merit of everyone that has donated! Karmapa Khyenno!
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Thank you Gyamtso, Toni, Kai, Lucy, Corinne, and Francie for your donations this week! We rejoice so much in the merit of your generosity. Every donation gets us closer to our goal of having a permanent center for KTC Jacksonville. KTC Jacksonville has touched so many throughout its over 30 years of inception because of Venerable Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche. KTC Jacksonville is more than a building or temple. It is a community that, in the darkness, is able find the light within and extend this out into the world. I believe we are creating a culture based on kindness for all sentient beings, alleviating pain and suffering.
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We are very grateful for the donations made yesterday by Lama Losang, our Spiritual Director, and also Kim Miracle! Both have done so much for the Dharma community and KTD. I look up to you both.

Before I started this fundraising campaign on behalf of KTC Jacksonville, I felt insecure and a bit nervous. We are asking for donations so that we can put a down payment on a house we have not found yet. A place people cannot see yet. That's asking for a lot. I will use the analogy that we first must have the brick and cement to build a house. KTC Jacksonville does not have anyone saying "I will donate this land so a temple can be built" nor do we have anyone coming to us saying "I will make a big donation for a down payment on a house for the KTC." We have to start somewhere and I have faith that it can be done.

So I had some fear of rejection. We are asking our friends from all over to donate to fulfill this vision for the KTC and the reality is that many won't respond. That's normal. Also I felt insecure because I am helping to organize this campaign. I feel that I have many Buddhist friends but few accomplishments. I am not charismatic nor popular. I speak poor English and I am no Buddhist scholar. Far from it actually. But I thought, maybe I can do this for the Dharma and for KTC Jacksonville. Maybe it can help in some way. Even if we do not raise very much money, I tried doing something meaningful in my life and for the pure, authentic Buddhadharma.
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$4,597 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 40 people in 1 month
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