The Boise, Idaho Vietnamese temple where Treasure Valley Dharma Friends meet. The Quan Yin statue is a recent addition.
Treasure Valley Dharma Friends (TVDF) of Boise, Idaho was born of the vision of Dan Black. The group finally came to fruition with the help of friend and fellow practitioner, Tom Woodbury. Of course this idea was dependent on causes. Their Dharma teachers inspired them to form a group of practitioners who could support each other in their efforts at spiritual practice. These teachers included Venerable Thubten Chodron, Venerable Robina Courtin, Geshe Khensur Wangdak Rinpoche and Venerable Thrangu Rinpoche.
The group started meeting in 2000 and officially became known as Treasure Valley Dharma Friends in 2001. Dan Black established a connection with Vietnamese nuns who maintained a small temple in Boise, the Lien Thuu Thien Tu Buddhist Meditation Temple. Even though the TVDF follows Tibetan Buddhist practices, the relationship with the Vietnamese nuns has grown. The nuns have opened their small temple to TVDF and offered it as a meeting place for the weekly Saturday sessions and talks by visiting teachers. TVDF has helped the Vietnamese temple by assisting with overhead, upkeep and improvements.
TVDF members Jack, Chuck, and John paint the outdoor temple stage for the Vietnamese community. The stage is used for Buddhist festival days.
This relationship has been important to sustaining TVDF. Although there is a language barrier with the nuns, there is a strong dharma relationship. The nuns teach us selfless generosity through their kindness to the group. On cold winter mornings they never fail to have the temple warmed up. When TVDF members are working on the temple in the hot Boise summers, the nuns shower sangha members with cold drinks, treats and offer them their shady, conical straw hats.
Meetings on Saturday mornings begin with silent meditation and then recitation of prayers to set motivation for the session. Usually a discussion follows on a chapter or section of a book the TVDF sangha is studying together. Currently, that book is Shantideva’s Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life.
Visiting teachers are important to help group members deepen their understanding of the Buddha’s teachings and put them into practice. These teachers come from a variety of lineages and have included, in addition to the four above, Alex Berzin, Jampa Shaneman and Khenpo Jigme from Vajra Vidya Retreat Center in Colorado. Ven. Chonyi and Ven. Jigme of Sravasti Abbey taught a weekend of teachings on developing compassion.
Members of Treasure Valley Dharma Friends have different teachers and travel to do retreats with them. They bring back what they have learned to share with the group. TVDF also includes teachings of interest to non-Buddhists to help them learn practices of value in daily life.
Contributor: Jack Weinberg.
Photos: Jack Weinberg, Bobbie Johnson.