About the South Carolina Dharma Group

The mission of the South Carolina Dharma Group is to offer teaching and practice of Tibetan Buddhism of the Gelukpa lineage, as well as furthering the understanding of Tibetan culture.

The South Carolina Dharma Group is a federally-recognized 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and contributions are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

The History of the South Carolina Dharma Society

SCDG began in Columbia in 2000. Here's the history, year by year.

Join the SCDG email list!

Send your email address to scdharma@gmail.com for announcements of teachings, classes, publications, potlucks & fundraisers, and other events.

What We're About

We're Tibetan Buddhists, followers of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. On Sunday mornings, we have prayers and meditation, partly using the Tibetan language.

Please join us for meditation on Sundays at 10 AM, and email us at scdharma@gmail.com if you'd like to meet with someone for meditation instruction before the session starts. When visiting our center please observe the following etiquette:

Please dress comfortably and be prepared to remove your shoes. We have both chairs and cushions, so if you get there early, you can choose. Feel free to bring your own cushion if you have one you like. We ask everyone to remove your shoes before entering the shrine room. Also, please avoid letting the sole of your foot face toward the altar or the teacher (that's from Asian culture, not a Buddhist belief). If an ordained teacher is present, please stand when he or she enters or leaves the shrine room. Many of us will bow, but you're not required to do so unless you want.

Want to learn about dharma etiquette? Here's a short article that explains more:

At the beginning of meditation or teaching, some of us will do prostrations toward the altar as a way of reminding ourselves to look beyond our egos to the ultimate reality. (Buddha was not a god, and we don't worship the statues on the altar. They represent aspects of mind that lead us to enlightenment.) You don't have to join in the prostrations unless you understand clearly what they mean and want to do so.

Our prayers may be said in Tibetan or English. There should be a booklet at your seat with the prayers, and a translation is available in the booklet also. The prayers, translations, and explanations are also available on this page.

We will meditate for 30 minutes, usually. If you're not used to meditation, try it for as long as is comfortable and then sit quietly. For beginners, here are a few tips: sit with your back straight and your eyes cast down or shut, and breathe through your nose. Focus your attention on your breath--either where it enters your nose, in your throat, or in your chest or stomach. Your mind will wander. When it does, don't feel frustrated (that's natural)--just remind yourself to return to thinking about your breath.

If a teacher is present, we may not meditate at all, or may meditate for a shorter time.  

There's no charge for teachings, but donations are welcome. If you have questions about our practice or anything else, please let us know. 


Board members 2016-2017:
President: Robin Waites
Vice-President: Claudia Brinson
Secretary: Nancy Kreml
Treasurer: John Valentine
At large: Savannah Etheredge, Carolyn Cox

Photo credit: Tenzin Choejor, The Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.