August 20, 2020

As this Covid-19 pandemic has unfolded, the Bozeman Dharma Center’s board has been evaluating the conditions for safely re-opening in-person practice. We’re glad to report that our program offerings have been successful online and we can fulfill our mission to offer teachings and practice opportunities, even if the conditions are sub-optimal. At this point, we don’t foresee the Center being able to reopen to in-person meetings this fall or winter. The most informed advice suggests that we probably won’t be safe to open until at least after the winter cold and flu season and possibly longer. Tough news but something we must factor into our stewardship of the Bozeman Dharma Center.

Recently, our landlord approached us with the possibility of another tenant taking over the remainder of our lease. The timing of their interest is fortuitous, allowing us the option of being relieved of monthly rent as of September and to exit an otherwise binding two-year lease.

Given the pandemic outlook and this new option, we’ve made the very difficult decision that the most practical and financially responsible choice is to let go of our physical space, focus our efforts on quality online programs, and reopen once conditions are safe for in-person meetings. Moving out of our current space will save us approximately $20,000 – $40,000 in rent, depending on how long our closure extends. These resources, entrusted to us through grant support and your dana, could go a long way toward preparing a new space and to supporting online programs in the meantime.

We realize that this may come as sudden and unnerving news, but be assured we have not made this decision lightly. Now that it’s made, we are fully energized to figure out what’s next for our beloved Center. We’ll be moving everything into storage over the next 10 days and vacating our space by the end of August.

We want to be clear, the Bozeman Dharma Center will fully exist and we will move back into a physical space when the pandemic allows. Programs and group meetings will continue over Zoom and events with visiting teachers will be offered online in the meantime. It may be unsettling to be without a physical home for a period of time, and we’ll have to weather the uncertainty of finding a new space in a changing Bozeman landscape. But we are willing to shoulder this short-term turbulence to maximize the long-term well-being and stability of our dharma offerings and the sanghas that we host.
We are looking for volunteers to help with the move. You can sign up to volunteer here or email Michãel Palmer, BDC General Manager, at Info@bozemandharmacenter.org to sign up for a task and a time slot. (To comply with Covid safety requirements, we’ll need to work mostly alone and always in masks.)

If you have any personal items or cushions at the center, please arrange with Michãel to pick those up as soon as possible.

If you have one of our library books, we’d appreciate it if you’d return it at this time. There will be a box in the building atrium outside our door for book returns, no co-ordinating needed – the building is open from 9 am to 5 pm.
1019 E Main St has been our home for six and a half years, since the founding of the Bozeman Dharma Center, and we’ll savor memories of rich experiences with you in that reverent space. We appreciate the support of our community as we navigate this phase of uncertainty and fresh possibilities. We trust that we’ll emerge from this online cocoon into a newly formed, beautiful Center.

With warmest regards to everyone in our extended dharma family,
The Bozeman Dharma Center Board of Directors,

Steve Barkley, Marilyn Raffensperger, Wendy Roberts, Nick Woodward, Reva Parker and Suzanne Colón

July 2, 2020

We stand with Bozeman’s Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) community in this time of social unrest, calls for justice and collective awakening to systemic racism. 

We join dozens of community businesses and organizations in taking the Freedom Pledge, committing to anti-racist education, action and systemic change.

Through our mission to provide meditation practices and the teachings of the dharma, we commit to foster wisdom and compassion in our community as we collectively undergo a re-awakening to racial justice in our country.

  • The teachings and practices of the dharma are time-honored, supportive tools in
    • becoming aware of the mind and heart’s conditioning
    • feeling through the painful process of examining that conditioning, its horrific consequences and legacy of harm
    • supporting action to collectively dismantle the racial hierarchy embedded in our culture.

We offer these supports of the dharma to all those seeking to awaken to racial conditioning, dismantle systems of oppression, and heal from the intergenerational harms of racism in its many forms.

We commit to ongoing training for our leaders and staff to be more fully informed, sensitive agents of racial equity in our programs and events.

We commit to offering programs in anti-racism education and meditative practices, healing of minds, hearts and bodies of all races.

We will prioritize growth, understanding and healing over maintaining comfort for the status quo.

We welcome feedback from our community as to how we can better serve these goals and practices.

April 29, 2020

We sincerely hope you’re all staying well and navigating these unprecedented times with as much ease as possible.  The Bozeman Dharma Center (BDC) Board wants to give our community an update on how things are going at the Bozeman Dharma Center. 

As you know, the governor began a phased re-opening of Montana on Sunday April 26. We are keeping a close eye on the easing of restrictions and will have news in the near future about how and when we plan to commence in-person programs at the Bozeman Dharma Center. We are using an abundance of caution in considering re-opening our doors to in-person meetings.

Like most community businesses and organizations, the BDC has felt the impacts of the restrictions due to Covid-19.  We’ve seen a significant decrease in Dana to the Center and have had to cancel or postpone some of our programming. But we’ve also had many who’ve donated especially to support the viability of the BDC in these tough times in addition to our monthly donors’ contributions – Thank You!  Our programming committee quickly adapted to the new reality and adjusted many of our planned programs to online only, which continues to be a source of income for us. We’d like to reassure you that with a strong and diverse leadership group and financial planning for unforeseen events like this pandemic, the BDC is on a strong footing and we’re confident that we will weather this storm. 

Moving online has meant that some programs have shrunk, some have been suspended, but some have expanded. We’re grateful that several visiting teachers were willing to move their programs online and engage our community as thoughtfully as they would have in person. The upcoming month-in-residence with Tempel Smith will offer an array of online programs — for those who’d like to deepen their practice or those just getting started with an introductory workshop. 

The BDC typically offers fewer programs in the summer as our community heads outdoors and has more going on. But this summer, we may offer a bit more if people are not traveling as much and guest teachers are available. We’re in conversation with Dave Smith about another of his offerings on Emotional Balance (CEB) and Buddhist psychology. 

In the fall/winter we’re planning a series of retreats on Women and Buddhism which are now scheduled at the Bozeman Dharma Center.  If we’re still not able to gather in person, we hope to move as much of this programming as possible to an on-line format. (And not to worry, we know men will love these offerings too.)

So, as you can see, we are trying to make the most of this time period. If you want to contribute right now, you can help the Bozeman Dharma Center in two ways:

1- Please consider donating to the Give Big Gallatin Valley event (6 PM April 30 –  6 PM May 1st) in any amount you are able. Or you can give any time through our donation page.
2- Although we may not be able to meet in person, we can still share the Buddha’s teachings on meditation, compassion, and mindfulness– all important tools to get by while we shelter in place! If you have been considering it, now is a great time to try meditation in the comfort of your own home. Each way will support our beloved Bozeman Dharma Center being there for us all well into the future!

Finally, we’d like to take this opportunity to thank Steve Wallingford (who stepped down from the board last Fall) and Ellen Sagmyr who recently stepped down as board president for their long, dedicated, and invaluable service to the BDC.  With the addition of several new members, we feel we have a board well suited to guiding the Dharma Center into the future! 

  • The current board consists of:
    • Steve Barkley – President
    • Marilyn Raffensperger – Treasurer
    • Suzanne Colón – Secretary
    • Reva Parker
    • Wendy Roberts
    • Nick Woodward

May you all be well,
The BDC Board
Programming Committee and
Finance Committee