Published December 31st, 2015 at 10:50 AM
As the year ends, Lama Chuck Stanford is departing his role as leader of Rime Buddhist Center, and he made his final public appearance in that role early this morning, at the Center’s annual New Year’s Eve “World Peace Meditation.”
[For much more on this story, see our multimedia update]
Members of the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council, representing more than a dozen different faiths, with KCMO Mayor Sly James and about 300 people attending, provided prayers of peace along with good wishes for the new year.
Mayor James said he couldn’t think of a better way than the interfaith gathering to begin to create a peaceful city with an inclusive environment. It’s heartening, he said, to see Kansas Citians supporting a peaceful world “just by showing up.”
“We believe in peace and we believe in each other,” he said.
The gathering also honored Stanford with the Bodhisattva Award, given to an individual who has provided a service that benefits others.
“Your efforts sometimes get overlooked until the finality of your retirement,” said Lama Matt Rice, who presented Stanford with the award and will replace Stanford as Rime’s spiritual director. “Then you realize what a precious gem you had all along.”
Mayor James also acknowledged Stanford’s efforts.
“Lama Chuck devoted 20 years to Rime, and to promoting peace in the lives of people in the city,” James said. “I want to commend him on a lifetime of service to others, including some of the most vulnerable – the homeless, refugees, prison inmates and poor. Rime Buddhist Center has been a welcoming spiritual institution in Kansas City. Thank you for everything that you’ve done.”
Stanford says his next phase of life involves some travel, and lots of time with family.
“I am sure there are other people who are much more deserving,” of the award, he said. “In my life I had some jobs that I didn’t really like very much. I can honestly say that I wake up and am happy. I don’t know if it is luck, or karma, and I am just grateful.”
Look for more reporting and an upcoming profile reflecting on Lama Chuck’s tenure and the impact he had on the Kansas City community, as part of Flatland’s “Beyond Belief” coverage.
This story is part of the KCPT and Hale Center for Journalism project “Beyond Belief,” a series of stories and discussions about faith and the different faith traditions in our diverse city. The project is part of Localore: Finding America, created by AIR, a Boston-based network of independent public media producers. Principle funding comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Learn more about “Beyond Belief” here.