Buddhist event planned this weekend in La Crosse

By Joe Orso, La Crosse Tribune, February 21, 2006

La Crosse, Wisconsin (USA) -- Jim Macur wasn’t blown away by the first book he read on Buddhism. The book was about Buddhist monks who live in a forest and occasionally go to the city to teach the masses. He admitted he doesn’t even remember the title.

It certainly made some impression, however, as Macur will lead a meditation retreat this weekend at the Diamond Way Buddhist Center in La Crosse.

Macur, 24, lives at the Diamond Way Buddhist Center in Minneapolis with his wife and 17 others, and studies classical guitar at the University of Minneapolis.

He’s not a monk. “I’ll never move into a monastery,” Macur said.

Although he respects the monastic life, he said, he finds it much more useful to integrate Buddhist ideals into mainstream life.

That’s what he’ll be trying to help others do when he comes to La Crosse.

Macur will speak Friday at the Franciscan Spirituality Center on the basics of meditating in Diamond Way Buddhism, a tradition with roots in Tibet. Saturday and Sunday, he’ll hold a retreat in which he will lecture and lead meditation sessions using mantras and visualization techniques.

The event will be Macur’s first weekend event as a traveling teacher. When his own teacher, Ole Nydahl, the Western leader of the Diamond Way tradition, asked Macur to take on the role in November 2005, Macur said he was grateful but concerned about his age. He wondered what people much older than him would think about a 24-year-old teaching about meditation.

“‘What am I going to tell people?’” Macur said he remembered thinking. “Then I started to trust myself a little bit more, and thought that this guy who’s been doing Buddhism since the late ’60s, if he thinks it’s a good idea, I can kind of trust that on one level.”

Macur’s age also is a reflection of Diamond Way Buddhism itself. Although other Buddhist traditions, such as Zen and the Dalai Lama’s school of Tibetan Buddhism, are more established in the U.S., Macur said the Diamond Way is newer, especially in the Midwest and South.

“We really depend on ourselves to grow,” Macur said.

For more information on this weekend’s events, call (608) 784-1566, e-mail lacrossedorje@hotmail.com, or visit the events’ Web page at http://www.diamondway.org/lacrosse/.


The Diamond Way Buddhist Center event this weekend costs $40, with meals, if you plan to sleep at the center in La Crosse, 1620 16th St. S. If you live in La Crosse, cost is $15 per day.

The schedule is:

Friday, Feb. 24

# 7 p.m., free public lecture on “Buddhism: Why Meditate?” Franciscan Spirituality Center, 920 Market St.

Saturday, Feb. 25

# 8 a.m., breakfast
# 10 a.m., personal practice
# 2 p.m., lecture on cause and effect
# 5 p.m., dinner
# 7:30 p.m., lecture on compassion and wisdom

Sunday, Feb. 26

# 8 a.m., breakfast
# 10 a.m., lecture on holding the pure view
# Noon, lunch
# 2 p.m.,lecture on the Diamond Way Buddhist lineage
# 5 p.m., public meditation and lecture on the four foundational practices