By Alicia Doyle

The Writer
Specializing in Good News
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Photo by Richard Quinn, Ventura County Star

Buddhist Center dedicated

to development of inner peace

March 17, 2014

A member of the Tushita Kadampa Buddhist Center since he was 7 years old, Spencer Ladin said practicing the philosophy through meditation has calmed him down in many potentially stressful situations.

“When I lose my cell phone I usually get all stressed out,” said the 12-year-old in reference to a common example. “Now I’ve gotten so much better using meditation to calm myself down.”

“All it really takes is just practice,” the boy added. “When I do it, I become stress-free.”

Spencer, his little sister and his parents were among a crowd that gathered for the open house celebration of the Tushita Kadampa Buddhist Center on Saturday at the Water Court in Westlake Village.

Established in the Conejo Valley six years ago, the center moved to the Westlake location three years ago after outgrowing its previous location on Pierce Court in Thousand Oaks.

“What makes the center unique is that it is open to everyone Buddhists, non-Buddhists, children, teens, adults, working professionals, and parents,” said Rebecca Gauthier, resident teacher.

The Tushita Kadampa Buddhist Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the development of inner peace in the mind through the method of meditation, she continued.

“Our mission is to help accomplish world peace,” Gauthier said. “We believe by becoming more peaceful ourselves, we can impact our family, friends, community, and society in a positive way, and thus create more peace, positivity, and harmony globally.”

The center is open to anyone with an interest in improving their mind so it is more calm, peaceful, relaxed, less stressed and agitated, Gauthier said.

“This (meditation) was originally introduced by Buddha thousands of years ago and is still around today because it is so effective,” Gauthier said.

Brooke Hampton, education program coordinator, said members resonate to the peaceful environment where kind people simply want to improve themselves.

“We offer lunchtime meditation every weekday and we often have a full house; it changes your whole day,” said Hampton, of Newbury Park. “We learn there are no external problems; rather, it’s the way we see them. So when we change our minds, our life changes.”

The whole goal is to train the mind to be peaceful and happy and to cherish others, Hampton added. “It sounds so basic but it’s what life is all about.”

Lily Ladin, 8, describes Buddhism as “something that calms yourself down and when you’re stressed it releases it.”

“It does that for me,” continued the girl, of Camarillo, who attends the children’s meditation class on Sundays while her parents attend the adult service. “Buddha is someone who is like technically everywhere.”

Zac Bolick, of Camarillo, attended the open house on Saturday with two friends in his multicultural communications class at California State University, Channel Islands.

“We have to investigate religions,” Bolick explained. “I really like the idea of Buddhism, especially the inclusionary aspect of it. It’s more about being internally centered, which I find really cool and interesting.”

Marie Oser, who teaches a Dharma for Kids class for ages 3 to 12 on Sundays, said the philosophy is especially helpful in today’s challenging times.

“These are real stressful times and meditation is a way for us to have a peaceful and calm mind,” said Oser, of Westlake Village. “When you have a peaceful and calm mind, it’s very easy to be happy and focused.”

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