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Songtsen Gampo Buddhist Center of Cleveland was established under our Spiritual Director Tulku Pema Wangyal Rinpoche as a nonprofit organization in November, 2008. We have just found a home!

Buddhist nun Ani Palmo, our resident teacher and director, is a native Clevelander who has been studying Buddhism since 1988. She has been teaching courses in Buddhism and Meditation in the Greater Cleveland area since 2003.

Our aims for the new Center are many. We will provide instruction in Buddhist meditation and philosophy in a way that is applicable to both non-Buddhists and Buddhists alike. The Center will also serve as the focal point for forming a true spiritual community where we can support one another in our practice and benefit the larger community as well.

Look forward with us to making full use of Songtsen Gampo Buddhist Center of Cleveland.

(We'll soon have a new website that reflects our new Center)

Donate or Pledge Online! (Just click on the balloons)

We are now able to accept Donations and Pledges online. Your support is greatly appreciated. Please click here (or on the balloons) to learn about our proposed programs and how to make a donation.


***If you would like to receive our monthly newsletters, simply send me an email.



Double Rainbow After Vajrayogini Empowerment, France


Dear [fname],

Hope you are enjoying this lovely summer! We are back from France where six of our sangha members joined Ani Palmo in receiving teachings and empowerments from HH Sakya Trizin Rinpoche and Tulku Pema Wangyal Rinpoche.

On Monday Ani Palmo will be joining other faith leaders for an interfaith service in relation to the Gay Games.

And we continue our weekly meditations at the center every Sunday.

Details below. Join us!

Gay Games 9 Interfaith Service

Local, national and international faith leaders, along with people of faith, will gather at Cleveland’s Trinity Cathedral for the Gay Games 9 Interfaith Service Monday, Aug. 11 at 7 p.m. The service, titled “Justice, Equality and Human Dignity for All,” will feature music, prayers and messages grounded in the values of justice, equality, and human dignity to uplift the spirits of those gathered to compete in and support Gay Games 9 taking place in Cleveland Aug. 9-16.

The service is open to all Gay Games participants, supporters and spectators, as well as the general public. Members of the media are encouraged to attend.

Ani Palmo Rybicki will be one of the participating faith leaders. Click here for full details!

WHEN: Monday, Aug. 11, 7 p.m.
WHERE: Trinity Cathedral, 2230 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115

Come join us for meditation at our new Center every Sunday from 10-11am! 

Meditation will be followed by light refreshments. Bring any vegan snacks you'd like to share. Coffee and tea provided. 

AddressSongtsen Gampo Buddhist Center, 3546 W. 98th St., Cleveland, OH 44102

Dates: Every Sunday

ParkingPlease park close together in the driveway so we don't disturb the neighbors by taking all of the spaces on the street.

Please drive slowly down W.98th, okay? Lots of kids in the neighborhood. Thanks!

HH Sakya Trizin Rinpoche

We had a wonderful, marvelous time in France! Six of our sangha members joined Ani Palmo to receive teachings and empowerments from HH Sakya Trizin Rinpoche and Tulku Pema Wangyal Rinpoche.

The experience was extremely profound, and we felt truly blessed to be there. Our group got along very well and even managed to squeeze in some time for touring around Paris and the French countryside! Click here to see some pics. Will post more as we get them from the other participants.

Please consider coming with us next year! Everyone who went found it to be an amazingly transformative experience. The teachings usually take place sometime in mid-July. Will get more details to you in the near future.

 We still need a few things. Would you kindly have look below and see what you
might be able to offer?


Ani Palmo

Ani Palmo Rybicki
Director, Songtsen Gampo Buddhist Center of Cleveland

*Please Note: Website currently being updated.

For further information please visit our website here, call (216) 320-9589 or email Ani Palmo here.


                                   Like us on Facebook!

Follow us on Twitter @SongtsenGampo

Songtsen Gampo Buddhist Center of Cleveland

We still need a few things for the Center.

If you can donate or purchase any of the following items, please contact Sheila here. Full info on the item (new, used, size, etc) would be most helpful.

  • Meditation cushions and mats (zafus and zabutons, not couch cushions
  • Electric kettle
  • Two sets of Twin sheets, blankets, bedspreads
  • Lawn care tools: Mower, weed-whacker, hedge trimmer, pruning sheers
  • Tool set
  • Snow blower and shovel

Please let Sheila know when you will be dropping things off.

Financial donations are also very much needed and appreciated.

The rent for the house is $1100/month plus utilities. At the moment all of this is coming out of Ani Palmo's pocket. In the next several months we'll be establishing a Membership Program, but for the moment any help you can offer would be a real blessing. Please click here to pay online, or send a check made out to "Songtsen Gampo" to:

Songtsen Gampo
3546 W. 98th St.
Cleveland, OH 44102

Thank you!


This is a new series introducing you to the Masters of our lineage. At least once a month we will post a photo, a brief bio, and links to more information about the Masters, so we can all become familiar with our extraordinary lineage.

Please click here for definitions of some of the terms below.


  • Tulku Pema Wangyal Rinpoche


We begin with our precious Teacher, Tulku Pema Wangyal Rinpoche.

Tulku Pema Wangyal Rinpoche was born in Tibet, and currently lives in France where he has been teaching for over thirty years. He heads the Association d'Etudes de Chanteloube (ACEC) which runs courses, seminars, short retreats and the traditional Three-Year Retreat. He is also the director of the Padmakara Translation Group.

Rinpoche is the son of Kyabje Kangyur Rinpoche and a close disciple of Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche and Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. He is recognized as a highly accomplished master, speaks excellent English, and teaches the Dharma in a style which is traditional, yet always relevant to the modern world.

Some of Tulku Rinpoche's teachings can be found here.

Rinpoche is an authentic master of the highest order. Every attribute you can find in descriptions of what it means to be a qualified teacher is found in him. Being in his presence is like simultaneously basking in the warmth of the sun and shining in the cool, clear light of the moon. It is our great good fortune that we are on this earth at the same time as someone like him.  Merely to gaze upon his face is a blessing.


Please make many, strong aspiration prayers that he will come to Cleveland to teach us soon!


(All photos below copyright Ani Palmo [Catherine] Rybicki)

Jigme Khyentse Rinpoche making offerings 

Tulku Pema Wangyal Rinpoche and Richard Gere


                             Why do we request vegan-only food at our events?

One of our friends is concerned that we might be turning people away from the Dharma by requesting vegan food at all our gatherings and is unclear as to why we do so.

This is a valid and understandable question, particularly if one has no knowledge of the immense suffering involved in the meat and dairy industry and/or if one is not well-versed in the teachings of the Buddha on this subject.

First, we are not demanding that everyone go vegan. We are simply requesting vegan-only food at our gatherings, out of respect for the animals--who are among the beings we claim we want to liberate from suffering--and for our Teacher, Tulku Pema Wangyal Rinpoche who has made this request of us.

Second, if one investigates the Buddha's teachings on this subject and looks into the naked reality of what it means to produce meat and dairy in our day, it becomes clear why a vegan diet is most in harmony with walking a path of compassion.

 Tulku Pema Wangyal Rinpoche

Please, if you are interested in this topic or concerned regarding our requests, look into these following resources

If, after investigating in this way, you choose to continue eating meat and dairy, at least you will be aware of the repercussions your choice has on the animals, the environment, and your own health.

  • An excellent place to start is Shabkar.org where you can find a plethora of books, free downloads, teachings, and more.

  • You can get a free download of a book called Cherish All Life, which is a slim, but powerful text on Buddhists teachings regarding meat, as well as on the environmental and other impacts of meat-eating. Reading this book is what inspired me to go vegetarian.

  • There is a movie called "Earthings" which Tulku Rinpoche has asked all of us to view. It is a difficult thing to watch, I myself have not yet made it all the way through. If just watching this suffering is hard, imagine how hard it is to endure it! If we cannot face what happens as the result of our actions, how can we continue to do them blindly?

  • Another eye-opening film is called "Farm to Fridge," which can be viewed here.

  • These days bacon is all the rage, this video shows what happens to create it.

Yes, bacon is delicious and so are cheese, and milk, and meat. But, is that what the path is about? Putting the entertainment of our taste buds over the inconceivable suffering, the very lives of nonhuman animals?

We make a lot of so-called sacrifices to walk this path, to do anything really. Wouldn't you rather stay in bed than go to work in the morning? You sacrifice your own comfort to support yourself and your loved ones. How many sacrifices have you made for your education, your family, your own health even?

We are not spoiled children who need every whim satisfied. We are adults, many of whom have taken Refuge and Bodhicitta vows. Choosing to avoid meat and dairy is the very least we can do to avoid harming others.

Being vegetarian is super easy these days. I went veg over 25 years ago and I can tell you, it is a lot easier now than it was then. And I only went vegan a year or two ago.

Why didn't I do it earlier? Because, like some of you I suppose, I just didn't want to know. I didn't want yet another thing to worry about, another restriction in my life, and...cheese! But, a good friend of mine kept posting things on Facebook until I just had to take my hands from my ears, stop yelling LALALALA to drown out the sound, and look at what I was doing.

Being vegan is slightly more challenging than being vegetarian, but it's still pretty easy. You just need some basic knowledge and to spend a bit of time reading labels, and that's it! In a matter of weeks you will be so comfortable you'll wonder why you waited this long.

But, but....cheese!! I know, baby. I felt the same for years, until I read an article called "I Couldn't Give Up Cheese, So I Gave Up Animal Cruelty Instead." reposted by my annoyingly vegan friend on Facebook. Once I read that, and once I took a breath and started looking for what vegan-cheese options are available, it became very easy.

There are two companies (so far) that make really good vegan cheeses--Daiya and Teese. These cheeses hold up in a sammich, in tacos, on pizza, lasagna, etc etc. They melt! They are yumalicious!

There's a LOT of info online about vegan options, health, recipes, etc.
Here are some good places to start:

  • One Green Planet: Every aspect of the vegan world from the environment, to videos, to education, to recipes...really freakin' good recipes!

  • Think being vegan means spending all your time in the kitchen? Think again, Bob! Check out this site: The Laziest Vegans.

  • Here's a hub for all blogs vegan.

  • And here's another great site to learn and get helpful tips!

Often when I bring this up in my classes, my Dharma friends talk about how they feel guilty for not being perfect. PLEASE don't feel guilty! We are all on a spectrum with differing needs and abilities.

Absolutely anything you do in the direction of avoiding harm is fantastic. Start with Meatless Mondays. Even reducing your meat consumption by 30% is really beneficial for your health, for the planet, and for our fellow beings.

We are not interested in policing your food choices. But, we are interested in you being well-informed about your choices and in understanding why we request vegan-only food at our events.

I hope that this note helped with both of those things and that you investigate all of this with an open mind and, more importantly, with an open heart.

Thank you! 



palmo@anipalmo.org ...... (216) 320-9589