The Jefferson Tibetan Society

P.O. Box 874  Charlottesville, VA  22902 

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The Jefferson Tibetan Society


Saturday Buddhist Study/Practice Group Series:
Please note that we are no longer having our Wednesday evening class sessions.

Saturday sessions are at 11AM and are focused on meditation, Heart Sutra, Equanimity and Compassion practices.  There will be no sessions on Saturday, Feb 11th or Feb 25th.

Our next Saturday session for silent mediation, prayers, and the Heart Sutra will be on Saturday February 18th at 11AM.  This session will include instruction on equanimity/compassion practice for all the turmoil in the world.

On Saturday, March 4th at 11AM, we will be celebrating the first week of the Tibetan New Year with meditation, reading of the Heart Sutra and continued equanimity/compassion practice for ourselves, our country, and our world.

All are Welcome!

Our Saturday sessions meet at our temple at 118 Olinda Drive, Charlottesville, Va. 22903,  which is about 5 min. from U.Va.   Please e-mail if you have any questions or need directions.


~~~~~~PAST EVENTS~~~~~~
"Lo Sar" Tibetan New Year Celebration

Join us for our Tibetan New Year Celebration 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 at our temple at 118 Olinda Drive, Charlottesville. We will be meeting for meditation, prayers, and a puja for the Green Tara. A short talk by Ven. Gephel of inspiration for practic in the  New Year, a brief puja, tea & traditional Lo Sar snacks. Ven. Gephel is in the process this week of making the various traditional auspicious offerings for the altar for the NewYear and a talk on the history of the center will also happen this day. All are welcome!

New Years Eve Practices
 December 31st, 5:00pm to 7:00pm
and January 1st, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

We will be having special New Year's Eve & New Year's Day practices and hope you'll join us!  We'll be focusing on purification meditation practice (Vajrasattva), shamatha meditation, & the Heart Sutra for blessings for our wisdom practice.  (Please note that we will be doing a form of Vajrasattva meditation that does not require having had the empowerment.)  It's a good way to end the year & start our new year off on the right foot.  We'll be dedicating our practice for personal purification, for the well-being of our center, and for increasing peace in our world.

Saka Dawa 2015: SAGA DAWA
Holy Day & One Day Mahayana Vows

     Continuing in our annual tradition, Tuesday June 2nd 2015 at 5:30 AM Ven. Gephel will deliver Tegchen Sojong (one day Mahayana vows) for anyone who is interested at our temple at 118 Olinda Drive.  This is a wonderful opportunity to accumulate vast amounts of merit on an extremely auspicious day celebrating Buddha Shakyamuni's birth, enlightenment & parinirvana.  

August 2nd Chokhor Duchen
  Saturday July 25th we observe Chokhor Duchen, commemorating Buddha's 1st sermon, the Four Noble Truths. We will meet at 11:00 am for 30 minute meditation and a recitation of the Heart Sutra. This is a very auspicious time and hope you will join us. There will be an opportunity to volunteer after the session to help with the center. Please make it if you can!

Meditation Retreat March 15th and 16th 2014

Jefferson Tibetan Society is offering a day and half-day retreat in the Practice of Meditation. This will be a blend of Shamatha, Analytical meditation, Compassion and Bodhicitta meditation Practice. Ven. Gephal will be leading the analytical and compassion meditations and Dr. Sandy Newhouse will lead the shamatha meditation instruction.

6 perfections

Last topic for Wednesdays series was "The Six Perfections". 

Special Saturday's in July 2014

Saturday July 6th is H.H. Dalai Lama's 78th Birthday. Join us in study/practice of H.H. Dalai Lama's Book How to Paractice the Way to a Meaningful Life. In addition to the regular study and meditation, we will do some special prayers dedicated to the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Saturday July 13th -- In addition to regular Saturday class at 11:00 am, we will celebrate Chokhor Duchen (officially falls July 12th) commemorating Buddha's first sermon on the Four Noble Truths. The Buddha's first sermon is called the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, meaning the sutra (sermon of the Buddha) "setting the wheel of Dharma in motion". It is typical on the day for Tibetan Buddhists to make pilgrimages to holy places, offering incense and hangind prayer flags.

Saturday May 11th, 11:00 am to 12:30 2014

 Victor will be leading a discussion on the 4 schools of philosophical thought in Tibetan Buddhism and leading us in some analytical meditations in conjunction with our Saturday classes current emphasis. We are studying the meaning of emptiness and how to practice it though meditation

May 18th Shamatha Meditation Retreat 2014
One day retreat held at a quiet location on East Market Street, not far from Charlottesville downtown mall, with Ven. Gephel. The schedule will be 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 or 6:00 p.m. The day involves about 4 hours of silent meditation, divided into about 8 periods of 30 minute meditation each. Lunch will be provided at the retreat and several tea breaks.

The fee for the retreat will be $55. which includes a vegetarian lunch.  This fee can be lowered for those who make a monthly pledge to the center or for those who have very limited finances. 


Compassion Retreat - Tibetan Medicine
Workshop Downtown Mall, Charlottesville
Saturday Feb 2
10:00 am to 5:30pm and Sunday Feb 3rd 10:00am to 1:00 pm 2013

We are pleased to welcome Dr. Tsampa Ngawang, Tibetan Dr. & Lama from Mustang, Nepal , 10th generation Himalyan Tibetan medical doctor and Lama (Nyingma lineage) from Mustang, Nepal. He was featured in the beautiful film from the Virginia Film Festival: Advanced registration required. E-mail if you are not currently on our e-mail list and would like further information.

$60 Feb. 2nd and $30 Feb. 3rd or $80 for both days


Four Foundations of Mindfulness Retreat Dec. 31st and Jan 1st
We are excited to announce that Ven. Gephel will be teaching and leading meditation practice on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness (from the Mahayana perspective) on Monday, December 31st and Tuesday, January 1st. This is a great way to end the year and start the new one in a very positive way

H.H. Dalai Lama's Book- How to See Yourself As You Really Are

Past topic:  Reviewing the Meditative Reflections -- deepening our understanding,        transforming ourselves into pure Dharma through meditation on these topics.
Saturday Buddhist Study/Practice Group Series: The focus is on His Holiness Dalai Lama's book,  How to See Yourself As You Really Are, a beautiful book translated by Jeffrey Hopkins which covers the key concepts of how compassion, love and insight work cooperatively with each other to progress on the path.

Saturday, February 25th, 2012 -- Tibetan New Year Celebration!
Join us for our Tibetan NewYear Celebration Saturday, February 25th, 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 at our temple at 118 Olinda Drive, Charlottesville.  We will be meeting for meditation,  prayers, recitation of the Heart Sutra,  tea & traditional Lo Sar snacks.  Ven. Gephel is in the process this week of making the various traditional auspicious offerings for the altar for the NewYear.  Reciting the Heart Sutra and doing these other practices contributes to removing obstacles to one's spiritual practice & life for the coming year.  $10. suggested donation.

A Gift for the Village
at Vinegar Hill Cinema as part of the Virginia Film Festival
Showing at 10:00 AM
November 7th, 2010

The film tells the story of Blacksburg, Virginia artist Jane Lillian Vance and her long connection with a Buddhist healer named Amchi Tsampa Ngawang Lama of Jomsom, an ethnically Tibetan village on the Annapurna Circuit in the Himalayas of Nepal. In 2007 a team of Virginians traveled to his village to deliver a thangka, or Tibetan life narrative painting. Along the way we visited the restricted area of Lo, in Upper Mustang, and documented the traditional way of life and the changes taking place there. Tickets are $7 at Vinegar Hill.

Puja in Honor of Geshe Jampel Thardo

Sun. Sept. 26th,  6:30 p.m., 2012 ANNUAL BUDDHIST PUJA & POT-LUCK with local Tibetan & Buddhist community in honor of Geshe Jampel Thardo's kindness in teaching Buddhist practice for numerous years in Charlottesville and to honor his clear light meditative state realizations at the time of his passing from this world!  Please bring vegetarian food to share for the pot-luck.  Khenpo Ngawang Dorjee is kindly leading the puja for us.  There is the opportunity to bring flowers & healthy snack food offerings for the puja.  Any monetary donations given at the puja will be used towards an offering for Khenpo-la; any remaining donations collected will be donated to Geshe Jampel Thardo's Tsang-pa Khamtsen at Drepung Loseling Monastery, India.  They have a special need now for donations to help provide medicines for the elderly monks in the khamtsen.  

The Four Noble Truths
with His Holiness The XIV Dalai Lama

We all posses this innate desire to seek happiness and to overcome suffering. How do we become a Buddha, enlightened, awakened, omniscient and compassionate? How do we realize the meaning of our existance? In his first teaching the Buddha presented the world with these answers. It consisted of four expositions or Noble Truths: The truth of suffering, the origin of suffering, the cessation of suffering and the path that leads to the cessation of suffering.

On July, 1996, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama gave two days teachings on the Four Noble Truths at the Barbican Hall in London. This was the first time he had given these teachings to the west.

The Saturday meetings are led by Sandy Newhouse, Ph.D., one of Geshe Jampel Thardo's most senior students, who has studied and practiced Buddhism for the last 30 years.  She completed her Ph.D. at the University of Virginia and is a clinical psychologist.

advice from

 WEDNESDAY EVENING CLASS: Wednesday class finished the discussion of "Mind Training for Cultivating Happiness" based on Buddhist verses of "The Seven-Point Thought Transformation"  on December 21st, 2011.  Composed centuries ago, these verses teach us to respond to difficulties with patience and joy, gradually changing our attitudes about ourselves and others, we can enjoy peace of mind in every situation.

Ethics for a New Millennium movie with H.H. Dalai Lama
In honor of our new decade!


Part One: Saturday, January 16th, 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Part Two: Saturday, January 23rd, 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Ethics for a New Millennium is a film of an intimate talk H.H. Dalai Lama gave at the Royal Albert Hall in London.  His Holiness speaks of a new and transformed outer world in this millenium.  With warmth, directness and humor, he urges us to link individual happiness to an ethical vision of the world in which we care about others.  Adopting an approach that blends realism and optimism, he recommends ways in which each of us can begin to make inner changes that will affect these problems.

Discovering Buddhism Series

Each week includes a 25 min. videotape from the FPMT (Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana tradition), shamatha meditation, brief prayers, discussion & question/answer time.

Saturdays, 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.; meets at JTS temple, 5 min. from U.Va. 
Saturday, December 5th,
Saturday, December 12th, 
Saturday, December 19th,
Saturday, November 21st,
Topic: "The Power of Meditation"
Saturday, November 14th,
Topic:  "How to develop Bodhicitta"
Saturday, October 31st, 
Topic: Understanding Taking Refuge in the 3 Jewels 
Saturday, October 24th,
Topic: Transforming Problems
Saturday, October 17th,
Topic: Samsara and Nirvana
- Understanding Suffering & Developing Lasting Happiness
Saturday, October 10th,
Topic: Meditation & General Discussion
Saturday, October 3rd,
Topic: "Impermanence, Death & Rebirth and Shamatha Meditation" 
Saturday, September 26th, 
Topic: "Overview of the Buddhist Path- Practice & Goals" 
Saturday, September 19th, 
Topic: "Karma & Our Spiritual Practice"

Special Prayer Ceremony: Anniversary commemoration of 
Venerable Geshe Jampel Thardo's passing.

 Sunday, September 20th, 7:00 p.m.
The puja for Geshe-la will be proceeded by a 6:00 p.m. potluck. It is traditional to bring flowers, candles and donations as offerings to the puja. All are welcome to attend. 

Buddhist Study Group
Taught by Ven. Geshe Jampel Thardo

  • Last Wednesday evening topic was the classic text on Nagarjuna's Letter to a Friend.
  • The text is a poetic rendition of 123 verses which covers the entire Mahayana (the Great Vehicle) path.  It is known for its unusual clarity & memorable imagery; this text is frequently quoted in written and oral commentaries on other Tibetan texts.
  • Nagarjuna is generally considered to be one of the most important historic figures of Mahayana Buddhism
  • Excellent translation was provided by Jann Ronis, Ph.D.
    candidate in Buddhist Studies, University of Virginia. This was of great benefit in allowing for Geshe-la's profound knowledge of this topic to be presented, as well as participants' questions to be fully answered.
The JTS temple is located at 118 Olinda Drive  near UVa.  Please call or e-mail If you need directions.  The JTS temple is only open during scheduled activities.  To visit at other times, please call or e-mail to schedule an appointment.