“At the end of a speech the Dalai Lama gave in Madison, Wisconsin, my home for nearly 40 of my 67 years, he responded to questions from the audience. To a woman who asked how he began his day, he replied that on arising he sets his intention to be “kind, loving, and compassionate to all sentient beings ... and to have a happy day.” It struck me that it is that very approach to life that permeates Land of Medicine Buddha and that draws me back each year - sometimes twice a year - for a few days of Elderhostel programs (now called “Exploritas”). While the programs vary, what remains constant is the atmosphere of happiness and contentment, kindness and compassion. About seven years ago, Tara Home became a reality, one little cottage just down the path from guestrooms and across from meeting rooms, office space, gardens, prayer wheels, and a bookstore. Amidst all of the activity of a vibrant Tibetan Buddhist center and the fun that accompanies Elderhostel(Exploritas) programs everywhere, the little hospice, a temporary home to one who is passing from this life, serves as a comforting reminder of how natural the cycle of life is. This juxtaposition of living and dying, the beauty that is the stream of life, always touches my heart deeply. Tara Home, overlooking the very heart of Land of Medicine Buddha serves as the epitome of the love, kindness and compassion of which the Dalai Lama spoke. It exists in a community where happiness flourishes. It inspires me to take seriously the Dalai Lama’s words and to set my own intention, fragile though it may be, “to be kind, loving and compassionate ... and to have a happy day.” And it is in that spirit that I, an agnostic living in the midwest, choose to contribute to Tara Home’s mission.”
— Barbara Meyer, Donor
I never knew about love without strings until I was given the gift of sobriety. As part of my recovery I was drawn to Tara Home, which is all about unconditional love. There, dear friends give loving compassionate care to those nearing the end of life. I am privileged to support such an effort.”
— Ted Durkee, Donor
“Although I’m not a Buddhist, I love to visit the Land of Medicine Buddha tucked away in Soquel, California; it takes me away from the stresses of everyday life and renews my soul. This Buddhist center lies under a canopy of redwood trees that harbor many sentient beings. Birds chirp and flitter through the branches of the ancient forest while deer graze amongst the lush grasses and other animals hide in the denseness of the undergrowth. Peace permeates the whole area.
As I turn one of the Prayer Wheels and utter the powerful mantra, ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’, I allow my eyes to seek out a wooden staircase that wends its way up through a bank of blue periwinkle flowers. At the top of these steps stands Tara Home, a hospice in which one terminally ill person lives. I had the privilege of visiting this white-painted cabin of compassion once and while sitting there I could sense the presence of tranquility that pervaded the cozy and beautiful rooms. In Tara Home’s sanctuary, the patient is surrounded by dedicated volunteers twenty-four hours a day and their loving kindness allows the invalid to not only die with strength and dignity but also with peace.
When my time comes to die, I am fortunate enough to have a large and caring family to guide me through my last days on earth; however, there are many people who are not as blessed. Tara Home fills a need for those, regardless of religious affiliation, who have no one to care for them while they are dying and this hospice is, therefore, a haven where they can stay and be looked after. So strongly do I feel about this most worthy service offered by Tara Home that I try to support it as much as I can and trust that my small donations will somehow help ease another person’s pain. It is the least I can do and I sincerely hope that my words will encourage you to reach out so you too can help make a difference in somebody’s life.”
— Rosemary L. Sieve, Writer & Donor
Sam Chan has donated generously to Tara Home to help with landscaping and improving the building for our residents. He also has offered management and business advice and counsel to the steering committee and program. The Steering Committee is very appreciative of his time and generous spirit.
“2005, during a visit to Land of Medicine Buddha for the first time, I was struck by the incredible gift that the land and cultural heritage of the Tibetan Buddhist way has been to our community. I wondered how I could support the efforts of the many devoted volunteers at LMB. When I looked closer at the programs on the LMB Web Site, the mission of Tara Home struck me as very important – to offer those who may not have a supportive atmosphere for the end of life to experience their last days in a serene setting of compassionate care. I contacted Lennie, one of the founders and then current director of Tara Home and asked if I could help. I offered her an unorthodox idea – to create a fundraising “event” for the program that could bring direct support to the people who would use Tara Home.
My wife, Bonnie, myself and two dear friends, Lauralee Alben and Lisa Dale Miller, all professional artists/designers and scholars put our hearts and minds together to invite a new group of people from the Santa Cruz community and beyond to LMB for an art ritual to cherish the gift of Tara Home. StoneWaterSpirit, a celebration of art, architecture, history and the creative process was born. The four of us led two one-day fundraising events for Tara Home at the Gompa Room in 2006 and 2007 (www.stonewaterspirit.com). Besides introducing many new people to the sanctuary of LMB, the funds raised by our event in the first year exceeded our expectations. For the second year, we included bringing in not only new funds for Tara Home, but a sculpture that drew a gift of prayer stones from each participant that was then placed on the outside deck of Tara Home as a continuing act of shared compassion and love for each person who stays there. Shortly after that time, I joined the Board of Directors of LMB and consider it a great honor to continue to support the wonderful work that is carried out here. My wife, son and I have spent many days returning to attend various events and workshops, to visit the temples, walk the 8 Verses Pilgrimage Trail and to share this beautiful sanctuary with others.”
— Bonnie and Tony DeVarco