By Kathy Chouteau
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic it’s reassuring to know opportunities for respite and renewal still exist, even virtually.
The Gyuto Foundation, a Tibetan Buddhist monastery located on picturesque grounds adjoining Wildcat Canyon in East Richmond Heights, is presenting the community with opportunities of this kind by livestreaming some of its offerings.
During the shelter-in-place the foundation is unable to hold “pujas”—or acts of worship—in person, however, monks are continuing to perform them (including Guru puja, Tara puja and Medicine Buddha puja) and dedicate them to people around the world, per a statement on its website.
According to the foundation, it is now livestreaming its pujas, including its Monday night meditations, on Facebook Live. Pujas and meditations can be found there from 7-8 p.m. Meditation sessions are hosted by either Sujatha Baliga or Scott Snibbe each week, with a Q&A session at the end.
“It is a very difficult time for so many people in America and around the world right now,” stated the foundation on its website. “Many have died and many have been affected due to the coronavirus. So many medical health professionals are working tirelessly to save others’ lives and many doctors and nurses have lost their lives as well. So many people are panicking and feel unsafe.”
“Unfortunately, there is not much we can do other than continue to say prayers for those who lost their lives and those who are sick,” the foundation added.
In that spirit, the foundation is welcoming prayer requests from the community; to make a request, email [email protected]. Per the foundation, these pujas will be performed privately by the monks.
All of these offerings are available to community members regardless of their religious or spiritual inclinations, per the foundation.
And as it turns out, the path to enlightenment isn’t just found through meditation. While the foundation is currently closed to the public, its canyonside trail—aptly named “The Path to Enlightenment”—is open to all. It offers a serene escape for anyone looking to get out of the house and enjoy nature for a while.
The Gyuto Foundation is located at 6401 Bernhard Ave. in Richmond. To learn more, click here.