Rimé Buddhist Center


Located in the Westside North area of Kansas City, Missouri, the Rimé Buddhist Center is a thriving non-sectarian Buddhist community. The center places their focus on compassion, kindness, wisdom, inner peace and many other fundamental Buddhist teachings. Their self-proclaimed primary objective is to create a receptive connection between the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and western culture. They assert that by teaching Westerners the Tibetan Buddhist teachings, we can better coexist and understand one another.



The Rimé Buddhist Center was established in 1993 by Chuck Stanford, Lama Emeritus Changchup Kunchok Dorje and Chaplain Mary Stanford, BCC. Lama Stanford studied for twenty years under the Dalai Lama, learning the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. He is very active in the larger religious community of Kansas City. Lama Stanford served as the Buddhist representative to the Interfaith Council of Kansas City for two decades and has written for the Kansas City Star’s religious column since 1995. Lama Stanford has focused a great deal of his career on prison outreach, making Buddhism available to those who are incarcerated. He served as chaplain at the Leavenworth USP, the United States Disciplinary Barracks prison and Lansing Correctional Facility. After establishing the Rimé Buddhist Institute he served as their spiritual leader until 2015. [1]

Co-founder, Chaplain Mary Stanford, was also a student under the Dalai Lama studying the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. She is a certified Buddhist Chaplain and focuses a great deal of her community outreach on those in hospice care. Chaplain Stanford is very interested in the art and culture of Tibet and Tibetan Buddhists in particular.[2]

The Rimé Philosophy


Rimé translates to “non-biased” or “non-sectarian.” Their philosophy is based on finding the importance and value of many different viewpoints. By using multiple points of view, Rimé Buddhists are able to choose their own individual unique religious experience which works best for their spiritual needs. This pluralistic tradition requires that its practitioners be open minded, respectful and non-biased in their teachings and practices.

The foundations of the Rimé tradition first appeared in Tibet in the 16th century with Jonang Kunga Drolchok. Drolchok’s work, “The Hundred Teachings of Drolchok” chronicles his travels through Tibet and his findings from the different religious institutions therein. Following his death, his reincarnation, Kyabdak Drolway Gonpo, continued Drolchok’s work focusing on collecting information from lineages that were at risk of becoming extinct. Gonpo was very interested in the Shangpa Kagyu tradition and went to great length to preserve it. Following Gonpo, Khyentse Wangpo and Jamgӧn Kongtrul distributed the work of Drolchok and Gonpo to many Buddhist communities while also providing commentary on the existing teachings in “The Five Great Treasures.”[3]

The result of their combined work was a philosophy which placed value in all Buddhist views not just one. By respecting and finding value in all traditions, Rimé Buddhists are able to base their religious practice on a wide array of Dharma teachings to better enhance their experience. It is important to note however, that those who subscribe to the Rimé tradition do usually follow one main lineage of teachings. This is to say non-biased does not mean studying all practices and rather affirms the differences between lineages. In this affirmation they also note the varying benefits of different lineages to individuals. And most importantly, they stress that all paths work in harmony with one another as they are based on the same teachings of Buddha.[4]

Services at the Rimé Center

Shrine Room The Rimé Center offers a great deal of services to their members including a monthly newsletter, a podcast which focuses on different aspects of Buddhism and access to special meditation retreats and practices. However, prior to becoming a full member, individuals are required to take four classes to ensure they have all of the information necessary to be a productive member of the center. These classes include a class on the Three Jewels, meditation and Tibetan Buddhism, the Rimé Center itself, and empowerment. After completing these courses, they are now eligible to become members of the Rimé Center.

Many resources are offered at the Rimé Center especially in the realm of meditation. Meditation sessions occur every day, if not twice a day, at the center as well as a twelve-hour meditation retreat each month. They also offer instruction in Sadhana practices which is very popular at the center. Sadhana is described as working to, “see all beings and environments, to hear all sounds, and to experience all thoughts as divine and pure.” Through this, they assert that practitioners are brought closer to spiritual realization. The main form of Sadhana involves chanting mantras and tantric liturgy while meditating, but the center also teaches other forms. Green Tara is one form of Sadhana in which practitioners work to eliminate their life’s fears and obstacles with the help of Tara, an enlightened Buddha, who promised to protect all from the eight great fears. Additionally, the Sadhana practice of Medicine Buddha is taught at the center. Medicine Buddha removes any physical or mental illnesses from those who practice. Specifically, it heals those illnesses which are caused by an imbalance in the elements. There are also two more advanced Sadhana practices which are taught at the center. Black Hayagriva works to incinerate any inner demons, misdeeds, obstructions or physical illnesses and requires that the empowerment in tantric practice is received before attempting the practice. The last Sadhana practice taught at the center is Rimé Chӧd Tsok. This is a visualization practice in which the individual offers their body as food to different dangerous spirits and evil forces in order to destroy the four maras, the ego-clinging mara in particular. Again, this is a more advanced practice and it is therefore advised that the empowerment of Machig Labdron or Trӧma Nagmo is received prior to attempting Rimé Chӧd Tsok.[5]


There is also a Sunday Dharma school offered to the children in the congregation. An idea first introduced by Anagarika Dharmapala, the Sunday Dharma school is aimed at children, particularly 4 to 12-year olds. Children are taught basic dharmas with a great emphasis on understanding, community, kindness and inner peace. By introducing these ideas early, children are able to create a life long relationship with Buddhism and bring themselves closer to spiritual enlightenment.  


Many special events are also held at the Rimé Center and are often open to the general public to attend. Guest speakers come to the Center to present on many different aspects of Buddhism and spirituality. They also host concerts and other special events. The most important event of the year however, is the birthday celebration for the Dalai Lama. They perform a Tsok Offering and White Tara Puja before partaking in a large pot luck dinner. This event brings a great number of attendees from not only the Buddhist community but the larger community to celebrate the life and teachings of the Dalai Lama.

Community Outreach


The Rimé Center also engages in a great deal of community outreach. The center works with food pantries and other organizations which aid the homeless. Following in the interests of their founder, Lama Stanford, they also participate in prison outreach. For members, the Center offers “Sangha Care” which utilizes the four boundless attitudes of lovingkindness, compassion, equanimity and empathetic joy to aid those who are experiencing hardship, specifically those in hospice care. The Rimé Center also grows a community garden to aid in their mission to help those in need.

Future of the Rimé Center


The Rimé Center has a thriving community. While the center was founded by converts, there is great influence from the Tibetan tradition. The current spiritual director is Lama Matthew Palden Gocha. He has studied under many teachers, mainly Younge Khachab Rinpoche but most notably by the Dalai Lama himself. Lama Palden’s teachings all stem from traditional Buddhist teachings and have allowed him to accumulate a large number of empowerments and instructions. His main lineage is that of the Nyingma, but he holds a strong commitment to the Rimé philosophical tradition and applies it to his teachings at the center. He currently serves as the Buddhist Director for the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council as well as many other interfaith organizations. Lama Palden focuses his outreach in the realms of social and economic injustice. In addition to Lama Palden, a diverse board of directors and advisory committee work to ensure that the Rimé Buddhist Center is meeting the needs of their community and staying true to the traditional Tibetan teachings upon which the center was originally founded.[6]

The Rimé Buddhist Center aims to spread its message across the Western world. With the center set in the large metropolitan area of Kansas City, as well as their large social media presence, they are able to reach a large number of people and share their message of wisdom and compassion. Combining this with their non-sectarian outlook, this further broadens their outreach and allows connections with a number of other Buddhist communities. The Center works to make the ancient Tibetan Buddhist teachings accessible to Westerners by deveiling the alien elements of the Rimé tradition.

–Jamie Brandenburg

[1] Gocha, Lobpon. 2018. “Rime Buddhist Center | Achieving Peace Through Compassion”. Rimecenter.Org. Accessed November 25 2018. http://www.rimecenter.org/.

[2] Gocha, Lobpon. 2018. “Rime Buddhist Center | Achieving Peace Through Compassion”. Rimecenter.Org. Accessed November 25 2018. http://www.rimecenter.org/.

[3] “Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo”. 2018. The Treasury Of Lives. Accessed November 25 2018. https://treasuryoflives.org/biographies/view/Jamyang-Khyentse-Wangpo/TBRC_P258.;”Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye”. 2018. The Treasury Of Lives. Accessed November 25 2018. https://treasuryoflives.org/biographies/view/Jamgon-Kongtrul-Lodro-Taye/P264.; “Chokgyur Lingpa”. 2018. The Treasury Of Lives. Accessed November 25 2018. https://treasuryoflives.org/biographies/view/Chokgyur-Lingpa/8181.; “Kunga Drolchok”. 2018. The Treasury Of Lives. Accessed November 25 2018. https://treasuryoflives.org/biographies/view/Jetsun-Kunga-Drolchok/4085.

[4] “Rimé Philosophy – Tibetan Buddhist Rimé Institute”. 2018. Tibetan Buddhist Rimé Institute. Accessed November 25 2018. http://rimebuddhism.com/about/rime-philosophy/.; “THE RIME ( Ris-Med ) MOVEMENT”. 2018. Abuddhistlibrary.Com. Accessed November 25 2018. http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com/Buddhism/A%20%



[5] Gocha, Lobpon. 2018. “Rime Buddhist Center | Achieving Peace Through Compassion”. Rimecenter.Org. Accessed November 25 2018. http://www.rimecenter.org/.

[6]Gocha, Lobpon. 2018. “Rime Buddhist Center | Achieving Peace Through Compassion”. Rimecenter.Org. Accessed November 25 2018. http://www.rimecenter.org/.

Images: Gocha, Lobpon. 2018. “Rime Buddhist Center | Achieving Peace Through Compassion”. Rimecenter.Org. Accessed November 25 2018. http://www.rimecenter.org/.