From Frances Howland, former director of HBMC and current trustee:
“Pam and Karuna Cayton, students of Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche, founded the Himalayan Buddhist Meditation Center (HBMC) in 1982 as the Himalayan Yogic Institute (HYI). At that time, Pam and Karuna were living in Kathmandu assisting with the development of Kopan Monastery. Pam’s sister Dale (and her husband Christopher) were then living in a small, charming historic house that had once been part of a Rana palace close to the Yak and Yeti hotel. It had green wooden shutters and stained glass windows and a beautiful garden with a pond in the middle. When Pam and Karuna took Lama Yeshe to see the house Lama stood in the garden and said “I’m going to call this the Himalayan Yogic Institute”, Lama then broke into laughter. HYI remained at this location until early 1985.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s brother Sangye Sherpa became director in 1985. The Center was then located in Baluwater in a large house that could accommodate paying guests. HYI remained there for 11 years. Many of the older students living in Kathmandu became director at some point: Frances Howland was the longest, serving as director for 10 years from 1986 to 1996. From 1997 onwards the Center was renamed and moved a number of times. The most beautiful location was a large house in Kamaladi with a beautiful garden; Uldis Balodis was the director then. Unfortunately it was during the Maoist conflict and eventually with no tourists there was not enough income to continue paying the rent even when the landlord agreed at Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s request to reduce it by half.
Over the years many great Lama’s and many Western dharma teachers have taught at the Center. It remains a place where people will hear the teachings of the Buddha for the first time.”
Many years later, and several different locations later, HBMC found it’s home on the top floor of a popular guest house in Thamel. This came to a sudden halt when Nepal experienced the devastating earthquake of April 2015, which resulted in the loss of countless lives and rendered the structure we were in housed in completely uninhabitable.
Shortly after the earthquake, Nepal again suffered another blow – this time from an Indian border blockade which severely restricted the flow of life sustaining goods from India into Nepal. This resulted in huge economic loss and a significant drop in tourism. Although HBMC soon found a new location at the historic 1905 House to operate from, the economic instability of Nepal in general greatly impaired the ability of HBMC to function, and it was difficult to sustain a regular teaching program.
By the end of 2016, change was once again in the air for HBMC. We have reorganised, and our teaching program now offers regular courses with a number of experienced teachers and ordained sangha from Kopan Monastery, as well as special events with visiting teachers from abroad.
We offer weekly guided meditations, and monthly pujas on special Buddhist prayer days. We are also introducing once monthly Buddha Dharma classes in the Nepali language.
In partnership with Dharma Adventures, we organise tours to important Buddhist pilgrimage and culturally significant sites within the Kathmandu Valley. The proceeds of our profits go directly to the support of HBMC.
It is our hope and wish to expand on our program – to continually offer the Dharma as taught by the founder of our lineage, Lama Tsong Khapa, and to engage as many people as possible who are interested in developing their highest human potential – from our local and world FPMT family, resident Nepalis and expats alike, and those travelling to Nepal from abroad.
And, of course, HBMC remains a place where people will hear the teachings of the Buddha for the very first time.
© 2017 - Himalayan Buddhist Meditation Center