Meditation with the Monk on Miracle Mile

With whom we find a little peace, for once

I’d be the first to admit I could probably use more Zen in my life. I’ve tried monthly massages (the knots return immediately), acupuncture (actually made me more stressed), running (do not recommend), and a litany of other activities to relieve the anxieties of daily life. So far, success has been limited. Next on the list, however, was meditation.

Having studied a bit of Buddhism in college (one of the world’s largest religions, it originated in South Asia in the fifth century BC and spent the next millennium spreading across Asia and the globe), I knew about traditional meditation already. But I never really believed it would work for me. I’d tried it before on my own and found my thoughts swirling, uncontrolled.

So, I wasn’t sure what to expect at the Kadampa Meditation Center Miami, a tiny second-story space above the Lotus Garden restaurant on Miracle Mile. It’s so nondescript, you’ve probably never noticed it before — but it’s been there since 2020.

The Center holds several classes a week in English and Spanish, led by Gen Tashi Kelsang, an ordained monk who studied the New Kadampa Tradition in New York. Kadampa has centers worldwide, all practicing and sharing the teachings of the Venerable Geshe-la, a monk who trained from childhood in Tibet. When I walked in for the Monday night class, I wasn’t quite apprehensive, but maybe a bit skeptical. I loved the philosophies behind Buddhism, but I wasn’t quite sure what meditation could do for me.

Gen Tashi Kelsang leading the class in meditation.

“People come for a lot of different reasons,” Gen Kelsang told me reassuringly. “Meditation in general is about familiarizing our mind with peaceful, positive ways of thinking and a peaceful, positive state of being.” That sounded good to me. I kicked off my shoes and took a seat facing the altar at the front of the room. In the back, there’s equipment for the hearing impaired and a camera to project the classes on Zoom. In the front, Gen Kelsang sits on a raised platform and speaks softly into a microphone.

The class begins with a 15-minute meditation focused on breath, during which I thought a lot about the gelato I was planning to get after this was over. But when the 15 minutes were over, I realized I hadn’t thought about much of anything — gelato or work or otherwise — in the last few minutes. Instead, I’d been focused solely on the way my breathing felt.

The middle of the class consists of a short lecture from Gen Kelsang on the topic of the day, which is usually pulled from a Buddhist text and enhanced by the monk’s own experiences — “very practical things,” he explains, “like how to manage stress in daily life, how to improve our relationships with others… how to grow wisdom, become more patient with difficulties….”

Again, I found myself feeling very calm as he talked about seizing opportunities to enhance our fulfillment and peace. I connected with the material as we meditated for a few more minutes on it, thinking about what makes me feel fulfilled, and challenging myself to do those things more often.

When I walked out a few minutes later, I felt calmer and more in control of my anxieties. And, perhaps just as importantly, sleep came easily that night for the first time in weeks.

Kadampa Meditation Center Miami
316 Miracle Mile

Classes: Sunday 11 am; Monday & Thursday 7:30 pm; Tuesday 7 pm in Spanish.
$15 per class, $45 monthly full access, free 30-minute guided meditation on Wednesdays
Full schedule at