From 1994 to 2002, in a small country house in Sebastopol, California, Segyu Choepel Rinpoche, a renowned, Brazilian born Tibetan Buddhist master, operated a traditional Tibetan Buddhist center. He had been trained at the highest levels of Tibetan Gelugpa tradition, spending over 30 years under the tutelage of Kyabje Lati Rinpoche, one of Tibetan Buddhism’s most renowned masters. High lamas from Tibet regularly visited Segyu Rinpoche’s humble center, marveling at its authenticity and potency, and students came from all over the world for meditation and retreats.
Yet Segyu Rinpoche and four of his students – Hillary Brook Levy, Christina Juskiewicz, Pam Moriarty and Lawrence Levy – felt that it was possible to have a more widespread impact with these practices. They saw in them the hope and the possibility of refining our experience as human beings, and cultivating the very best in our potential. To realize that possibility today, they believed we would need a new approach, one that dropped the religious and cultural artifacts of the past and spoke to contemporary times, without diminishing the potency of the practices. Beginning on January 14, 2003, they set out to examine how we might accomplish this.
Six years later, in 2009, they launched Juniper, a meditation school in which the wisdom and experience of a long-standing meditation tradition are presented in a secular form, tailored to modern culture, knowledge and sensibility. Central to Juniper’s tradition of meditation are two ideas: the Bodhisattva vision: the heroic aim to train the mind for the sake of both oneself and others; and the Middle Way: going beyond limiting inner constructs—personal versions of reality—to discover deeper levels of harmony, joy and wellbeing. By cultivating the practice of meditation it is possible to integrate these ideas into one’s life and discover new levels of harmony and well-being.
Juniper remains a work in progress, an opportunity to forge in contemporary life a beautiful contemplative practice, with deep roots in community and tradition. In 2015, we opened a beautiful meditation center and integrative care clinic in San Francisco, California where we offer regular programs and retreats. We invite you to visit us.
(adapted from www.juniperpath.org/story/)