The ultimate aim of our programs is to offer participants conducive conditions to develop their own personal insight, while opening their hearts to others. The monastery and center encompass a wide range of activities, reflecting the many interests of all those who make use of Deer Park’s facilities, and in keeping with the spirit of the Buddhist idea that a diversity of methods can be used to promote the welfare, mutual understanding and happiness of living beings.
This wide range of activities falls into seven broad categories:
- Community Outreach
- Interreligious Dialogue
- Group Spiritual Practice
- Tibetan Cultural Preservation
Drawn by Geshe Sopa’s renowned ability to clarify Buddhist concepts and to inspire students to live by those principles, students come from around the world to attend Deer Park’s annual summer programs—including from Mexico, United Kingdom, France, Puerto Rico, Australia, Taiwan, China, and Vietnam.
Our education programs include:
- Twice Weekly Classes (Thursdays and Sundays)
- Five Week Intensive Summer Course (Monday through Friday)
- Advanced Study and Tutorials
- Colloquial and Literary Tibetan Language Instruction
- Additional Courses Led by Eminent Visiting Teachers
- Family Dharma Group (first Sunday of the month)
For thousands of schoolchildren across Wisconsin, their class field trip to Deer Park offers a rare opportunity to have a personal encounter with the Buddhist religion, monastic lifestyle, and Tibetan culture.
- Each year, Deer Park hosts scores of elementary, high school and college classes from around the state.
- Guided tours and customized presentations are given by one of Deer Park’s resident monks or nuns. Many classes also attend Deer Park’s regularly scheduled activities.
- Deer Park monastics also visit a number of area classrooms on an annual basis, often as part of schools’ World History curricula.
It is Deer Park’s conviction that interreligious dialogue promotes harmony and understanding among different communities, and lays an important groundwork for world peace.
- We reach out to Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and members of other faith communities, to help us recognize areas of common concern, as well as to understand areas of difference.
- Deer Park representatives are actively involved in local and international religious councils, including the Greater Madison Interreligious Association, Monastic Interreligious Dialogue, and the International Committee for the Peace Council.
- Clergy from other faiths have participated in our celebrations and discussions.
- We organize and host interreligious meetings and retreats—an activity that our expanded facilities will allow us to greatly increase.
Group Spiritual Practice
Deer Park provides community experiences to support individual development.
These group practices involve:
- Regular prayers and rituals
- Vows and initiations
- Weekend retreats
As a means to promote Tibetan Buddhist values and teachings, Deer Park provides guidance and services, such as:
- Buddhist counseling to the lay community
- Prayer and ritual services for the ill, dying and deceased
- Bereavement services
To further its aim of providing public access to information about the Buddhist religion, the center engages in the following enterprises:
- Continuing the vigorous production of specialized books, as well as books for the general public. Published titles include:
- The Crystal Mirror of Philosophical Systems
- Cutting through Appearances
- The Wheel of Time: The Kalachakra in Context
- The Practice and Theory of Tibetan Buddhism, Introduction by the Dalai Lama
- Lectures on Tibetan Religious Culture
- Peacock in the Poison Grove: Two Buddhist Texts on Training the Mind
- Steps on the Path to Enlightenment, Volumes 1, 2 and 3
- The Three Principles of the Path (in Chinese only)
- Developing Patience: A Commentary on Shantideva’s Guide to a Bodhisattvas’ Way of life, Chapter Six (in Chinese only)
- Books have been translated into Chinese, Spanish, French, and German
- Preparation of textual materials for classes and ritual ceremonies
- Recording and editing transcripts of courses
Tibetan Cultural Preservation
We support the preservation of the rich and ancient Tibetan artistic and cultural heritage, the cause of Tibetan autonomy and the needs of the Tibetan diaspora.
- Maintain an extensive collection of Tibetan art that is not currently on display, due to space limitation.
- Sponsor educational and cultural programs, including Tibetan dance, drama, and musical performances.
- Work to raise awareness of the Tibetan situation in the Midwest.
- Cooperate closely with the growing local Tibetan community to coordinate cultural events, and support the activities of the Wisconsin Tibetan Association.
- Offer instruction in Tibetan language and culture to refugee children.
- Host Tibetan holiday celebrations.