our centre

Nesletter pics 011

our centre

The Amitabha Centre was established in Palmerston North by Gen Kelsang Demo in 2004, and over the next 15 years, until her death in late 2019, she worked hard establishing classes in a number of centres across the central north island, and in a variety of community settings (e.g: prisons, tertiary education centres, health service providers, the council and so on). Her mission was to make dharma accessible and meaningful to as many people as possible, and over the years her teachings have touched the lives of many, many people. Our new resident teacher, Birgit Saunders has been a very active member of the Amitabha Centre over the last four years, and her experience as a student, teacher and administrator both in Palmerston North and Wellington has meant that we have maintained a very stable base despite the challenges associated with change.

We moved into the current location in 2012, and transformed what was a pretty ordinary run-down suburban house into a small oasis of peace and calm. If you go towards the back garden you will see a covered sitting area and the 'Gompa' - the meditation room where we hold classes, and have formal Buddhist prayers and ceremonies. The room itself is a place of 'quiet learning' - there are statues of various Buddhas on a shrine at the front - together with simple but quite beautiful offerings.

There are not too many rules!!! We usually leave our shoes at the door. And when you come into the centre you can either sit on a chair, or on cushions on the floor. We usually stand when our teacher comes into the room, and there are some special teachings and ceremonies when we are 'silent'  - but in general things are very relaxed and friendly, and in most classes there is time to talk with others and ask questions. If you are coming along to class for the first time, Deden will usually be the person who will greet you at the door, and many of the students are regulars who are always willing to help explain things if you are uncertain of what to do.

The garden at the centre is a delight. When the weather is fine, we often have lunch or coffee outside on day courses or after class. In the winter, we retreat inside and enjoy the fire.

If you are attending one of the regional classes, please feel free to drop in and visit the centre if you are in Palmerston North. There is usually somebody at home, though you can always ring beforehand to check.