Ryan Shelton

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Introduction: This is the first post of the Friendship Chain.

Dhamma Story: One of my biggest dhamma adventures was helping Dhamma Delaware become a Center. I was finishing graduate school at University of North Carolina, and I had a strong desire to create a householder’s life near a Vipassana Center. Since most Vipassana Centers are long distances from urban centers with job opportunities, my fiancee (now my wife) and I were struggling to find a plan that worked for us. When a property was purchased in Delaware for a new Center only 30 minutes from Philadelphia, we were drawn to give it a try.

The property that was purchased in late 2013 had 5 structurally sound buildings that had been abandoned for many years. All of interior utilities had been stripped, the walls and ceilings were crumbling, and the ground was covered with trash and drug paraphernalia. I moved onsite in July living in a travel trailer, buying drinking water, showering at the YMCA, and going to various local chain restaurants for their wifi. Two others quickly followed me, and we slowly added electricity, internet, phones, water, and plumbing. With the help of many hands supporting from the outside, we transformed the first dilapidated building into a residence that could support 15 student single gender courses, holding our first course in November of 2014. My fiancee moved up in January of 2015.

In July of 2015 my wife and I got married, bought a beautiful house, and both found great jobs in Wilmington, Delaware. Our entire lives were within 15 minutes of this brand new Meditation Center. We are still amazed that after jumping into a project we knew very little about, meeting the local meditators for the first time after we arrived, and leaning heavily on Dhamma to guide us in the right direction, that everything worked out as wonderfully as it did. The Center expanded to 60 students in January of 2016, and there is already work being done on a 3rd building. It’s hard to say where this adventure will lead us next, but it has been a fun ride.

Dhamma Friends: Nate Kretzschmar, Aaron Cashman, Jonathan Penn, Mark Hoefer, Devika Patil

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About Ryan Shelton

In March of 2010 I discovered a path to peace and happiness through a 10-day Vipassana meditation course in the tradition of S.N. Goenka. After establishing my personal practice, and witnessing how it changed my way of life, I'm now curious to explore how the growing community of meditators can help to support each other and make the world a better place.
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