Service Industry

Vajrayogini Buddhist Center Dupont Circle

Teacher

Gen Kelsang Varahi

Service Length

1 hour

Attendance

4

Sample Worshipper Dress

jeans, pink golf shirt, Hillary Clinton T-shirt

Shoes

None

Congregational Fervor

Taught by Varahi, a Buddhist nun, classes at Vajrayogini Buddhist Center generally include a brief guided mediation along with a 30-minute period of instruction in basic wisdom. Although a $10 donation is requested at the door, a brochure states that nobody will be turned away for lack of funds. Good thing: A few attending a recent meeting seemed reluctant to “donate.”HHHHH

Food for the Soul

Classes held during the month of April at Vajrayogini are dedicated to the discovery and experience of bliss, chiefly through the study of Tantra. No, not that kind of Tantra. “This is about more than having better orgasms,” said Varahi, who offered a less saucy application. “We are suffering constantly from the problem of ordinary perception; Tantra is about getting outside of the ordinary.”HHHHH

Food for the Body

Though all manner of sweets are placed around the classroom’s two shrines, they are not intended for student consumption but as offerings to Buddha. Instead, a modest offering of tea and cookies was made available in the center’s office after class. HHHHH

Overall Worship Power

If you get a little confused during the process of tearing down your “I,” not to worry—Vajrayogini Buddhist Center will do its best to keep you from losing the Middle Path. After a recent class, Varahi and some of the more learned students were happy to stick around to answer a pupil’s questions about the extremes of existence and nonexistence. “Tantra turns brick walls into glass ceilings,” assured a longtime student. “It’s about attaining freedom.”HHHHH

—Aaron Leitko

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