Enlightenment is coming to Gainesville.
Lama Tashi Topgyal, the Tibet-born teacher from a New York Buddhist center, is coming to Gainesville to teach Buddhist history and lead meditations today through Sunday.
Topgyal and his translator, Lama Yeshe Gyamtso, will be conducting several sessions throughout the weekend.
The first session is at tonight at 7 at the United Church of Gainesville, 1624 NW Fifth Ave. On Saturday, three sessions will be held at Atlantic Design Homes, 1502 Northwest Sixth Street, at 10 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. On Sunday, sessions will occur at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
A historical session will be Saturday afternoon, and an empowerment ceremony, which is considered sacred to Buddhist practitioners, will be Saturday evening.
“He is a wonderful teacher,” said Kathryn Lehman, an event organizer. “The two of them together are a pretty dynamic duo.”
She said attendees of the Saturday evening service can expect a group meditation atmosphere in which Topgyal gives a special blessing.
Tom Vogler, a 62-year-old registered nurse at Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, plans to attend all of the events.
As an 18-year-old, Vogler was introduced to meditation by a friend who recommended books on the subject. He began regular meditation and joined a Buddhist group at age 30.
Although Vogler has helped host similar events in the past, he said he’ll be “attending as a student” for the weekend.
“You go hungry and come away satisfied,” he said.
A version of this story ran on page 8 on 10/25/2013 under the headline "Tibetan to teach Buddhist history"