937-244-1961 | 1570 S. 1st Avenue, suite I, Iowa City, IA 52240 | sangha@milarepaiowa.org

Special Events 2018


Each year our community invites lamas and other qualified teachers to visit Iowa City to teach.  During these special events we bring in highly qualified teachers who have had many years of Buddhist practice and study.  At the request of our Spiritual Director, H.E. Garchen Rinpoche, our center is a Rime center and we welcome teachers from various lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. 

All of our special events are suitable for people curious about Buddhism, those new to the Buddhist path, and more experienced practitioners.  It is not necessary to be a Buddhist in order to attend special events at Milarepa Buddhist Center of Iowa. 

EXTENDED VISIT with TSUNMA YESHE – January 10–February 27  2019

We are very excited to announce that Tibetan Buddhist nun Acharya Tsunma Yeshe will be visiting our sangha from January 10 thru the end of February.  Tsunma Yeshe is visiting the Milarepa Buddhist Center as part of the Drikung Acharya Nuns Leadership Fellowship program.    The Drikung Acharya Nuns Fellowship is a year-long fellowship for Tibetan Nuns from India providing skills for international leadership and future growth of Drikung Kagyu Samtenling Nunnery and its graduates. Drikung Kagyu Samtenling Nunnery is located in Dehradun, India  close to Jangchubling Monastery, Songtsen Library, and Kagyu College. 

As the first Fellow in the Acharya Nuns Leadership program, Acharya Yeshe has spent 5 months at Vajra Dakini Nunnery, Samtenling’s affiliate in in Maine. Iowa City will be her second destination this year. 

Tsunma Yeshe is an Acharya, or graduate, of the rigorous philosophy program at Samtenling Nunnery.  Currently she is on their teaching faculty, working with the youngest nuns.  Arriving in the US August 2018, her work began at Vajra Dakini Nunnery’s Liberation House in Portland, Maine, where she studied English, assisted in Dharma classes and interfaith activities, and visited other nunneries. In Iowa City Tsunma will continue to work on English Language study and also on computer skills.  She will attend practices at Milarepa Center.  


During Tsunma Yeshe’s stay we are looking for individuals and families to participate in hosting her for conversational hours.  What this entails is making arrangements with Ellen Marie to spend time with Tsunma during her stay.  You can either talk with her at the home of Ellen Marie & Naomi or simply bring her to your home or a restaurant or a coffee shop and talk for an hour or so.  If you have another event or activity that you think would be helpful for her – then we can talk about that too! This is a wonderful opportunity for you also to get to know a Tibetan nun. 

I have put together a loose ideas of times that might work for conversation hours. You are welcome to sign up for more than one hour a week.


• ESL instruction and/or conversation
• Occasional transportation
• Occasional cooking assistance
• Offering a meal with conversation
• Other ideas?
Interested in helping?
Email: sangha@milarepaiowa.org
Phone:  937-244-1961


SPECIAL EVENTS WITH TSUNMA YESHE – specific dates to be announced

  • Tsunma Yeshe will join us for practices and classes while she is here.
  • Weekly Question & Answer Sessions
  • Tibetan New Year Celebration (Losar)
  • An evening discussion about Tsunma Yeshe’s life story
  • An evening discussion about daily life in the nunnery
  • A demonstration of ritual instruments
  • A discussion of how to set up a shrine at home



We are delighted that Drupon Rinchen Dorje will be coming to Iowa City this Spring to offer teachings. 

EVENT LOCATION: 15 Oak Park Place NE, Iowa City IA 52240


Friday, April 5:    7-9pm                       
Empowerment:   Vajrasattva Empowerment
On Friday evening Drupon will offer the empowerment for Vajrasattva practice. Vajrasattva practice is one of the foundational methods for purifying negative karma and obscurations.
Fee: $15-35 sliding scale

Saturday, April 6:    9-noon                        
Teachings on Vajrasattva Meditation Practice
Fee: $10-35 sliding scale

Saturday, April 7:    2-4                       
Introduction to the Prayer of Kuntuzangpo
Join us for a detailed teaching on the Prayer of Kuntuzangpo which contains pith instructions on the development of ignorance and the points the way towards the development of wisdom.
Fee: $10-35 sliding scale

Sunday, April 7:     9-10                           
Refuge Ceremony
For those who would like to undertake the Buddhist path, we are offering a refuge ceremony with Drupon Rinchen Dorje.

Sunday, April 7:     10-noon                     
Introduction to the Prayer of Kuntuzangpo (continued)
This is the second day of teachings on on the Prayer of Kuntuzangpo. (You are welcome to attend this teaching even if you missed Saturday afternoon.)







RSVP:  We appreciate an RSVP so that we will know how many texts to prepare:   sangha@milarepaiowa.org

Seating: There will be cushions available.

Volunteer Opportunities:  There are volunteer opportunities still available for this lama visit. These include things like bringing flowers, serving tea for the lama, helping with meals for the lama and several other things. Please let us know if you are interested in volunteering:   sangha@milarepaiowa.org

Parking:  This retreat will be held in a private residence. Please park on the street. 

About Donations:    Making teachings available from visiting teachers involves expenses for our young community. These include transportation costs, translator fee, and publicity. Most importantly, as a community we will make an offering to the lama at the end of his visit. Your donation will make the communal offering possible.  At the same time, your donations are the beginning of building something for future generations in Iowa City –a vibrant community that is able to offer a full range of opportunities for both practice and study in Buddhism.   No one turned away due to lack of funds.

Questions:   sangha@milarepaiowa.org or 937-244-1961

Other Wonderful Events Near and Far in 2019


We encourage all of our sangha members to attend this special event in Chicago with His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche!


His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche is an extraordinarily rare and precious teacher. We encourage all our sangha friends to make a connection with him by attending teachings. Naomi and Ellen Marie can help you make preparations for these retreats. 


03/20/19 – 04/10/19:  Drikung Rinchen Choling, Los Angeles

04/10/19 – 05/01/19: Drikung Seattle

05/01/19 – 05/08/19: Garchen Dharma Society, Vancouver/Canada

05/08/19 – 05/14/19: Jamtse Choling, Colorado

05/14/19 – 05/20/19: Rigdzin Dharma Foundation, Albuquerque

05/20/19: Return to Arizona

Past Events


October, 2017: In October we moved Milarepa Buddhist Center to our present location on 1st Ave. in Iowa City.

September, 2017: Retreat with Drupon Thinley Ningpo Rinpoche: Compassionate Mind, Heart of Peace. Rinpoche’s visit included a Green Tara Empowerment & teachings as well as an Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism and Teachings on the Nature of Mind.

May, 2017: In May we co-hosted a One-Dharma picnic along with the Iowa City Zen Center and Iowa City Sangha (now Winding Path Sangha).

April, 2017: In April we hosted a spring retreat with Khenpo Choephel Rinpoche. At this time Khenpo offered teachings on Nagarjuna’s Letter to a Friend.  In addition, Khenpo offered an empowerment for the Ten Dharma Activities: 1. Writing Dharma texts / 2. Practicing offering to Buddha Dharma Sanghas / 3. Practicing Generosity for the Buddha’s teachings / 4. Listening to Dharma teachings / 5. Reading Dharma texts such as Sutras and Tantras / 6. Taking Dharma transmissions from Masters/ 7. Giving Dharma teachings / 8. Practicing Dharma in our daily life / 9. Contemplating perfect Dharma / 10. Meditating Perfect Dharma. We practiced Shamata meditation with Khenpo as well as Chenrezig Meditation.

February, 2017: In February we co-hosted a One-Dharma vegetarian potluck at our center.

January, 2017: We hosted a winter retreat with Khenpo Choephel Rinpoche which included a Medicine Buddha empowerment as well as teachings on Medicine Buddha practice, teachings on the Four Immeasurables and on the Four Seals. At the end of this retreat Khenpo instructed us in torma making and how to set up a personal shrine.



October, 2016: In October Drupon Rinchen Dorje offered a White Tara Empowerment, White Tara Teachigns & Practice and Teachings on the Life of Milarepa.

October, 2016: Milarepa Buddhist center was established.

April, 2016: Khenchen Konchok Gyaltshen Rinpoche on the topic Loving Kindness and Compassion: The Source of All Happiness and Joy. In addition Khenchen gave a two-day teaching on The Display of Discursive Thought & the Natural Radiance of Awareness.



September, 2014:   Khenpo Samdup was the first teacher that we hosted in Iowa City. Khenpo taught on the following topics:  Introduction to Buddhism, What is Buddha Nature?, Introduction to Calm Abiding Meditation and Individual Meditation Instruction.