All of the Centers in North America so far are located in rural settings. Basically, they’re all in the middle of nowhere about a one hour drive from civilization. This is great for a quiet 10-day retreat, but it’s difficult to get support from the local community. What would it be like to have a Center right in town? To have a Center that I could drop by once a week, sit and serve for a couple hours, and go home? How would the center be received by the community? Would it be happy to have a wholesome neighbor working towards a noble goal or would it be confused and resistant to this unusual practice? How would an urban Center need to be managed differently from the other North American Centers? Would the Center be able to afford the added property expense of being in town?
We will soon have the opportunity to answer these question because a Center property has been purchased 30 minutes outside of Philadelphia which is within a 2 hour radius of New York City, Washington DC, and Baltimore. I haven’t been there but apparently the property is within a housing community and 5 minutes of the Interstate.
I hope this Center is successful as it navigates to new challenges of being in an Urban environment. This is a big step towards Dhamma impacting the daily lives of a community. Hopefully they can discover the blueprint for other Centers to follow. Or maybe other Centers around the world have already discovered this blueprint that is already being followed. Have any of you been to an Urban Center? What is it like? Time to meditate.