A brief history of Emaho Center
ZaChoeje Rinpoche first visited the United States in 1998 when he led the Mystical Arts of Tibet tour to America. The Mystical Arts tour, a production of the Drepung Loseling Monastery and Richard Gere, is a global project that is endorsed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. It promotes world peace by sharing Tibet’s rich sacred and visual arts.
On that tour, the group had several engagements in Phoenix, Arizona. The monks, traveling by Greyhound bus, arrived in Phoenix just as the sun was rising. Rinpoche said he had never seen such a vast blue sky. At the conclusion of the tour Rinpoche stayed in Atlanta, Georgia, at the Drepung Loseling Monastery Center, where he taught at Emory University and gave talks throughout the South.
Rinpoche made a decision to start his own center in the southwestern United States, choosing Phoenix as his home base. Rinpoche began by giving talks wherever he was invited. He spoke in parks, libraries, churches, homes, movie theaters, and meditation and yoga centers.
In 2000, Rinpoche and a small number of supporters started the long process of forming a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Emaho Foundation. After a year, during which time Rinpoche taught in various small rented venues, the foundation received its exempt status and became an approved nonprofit organization. The members of the all-volunteer board of directors consulted with Rinpoche about renting a small office space where they could create Emaho’s first home center. Rinpoche thought this would be a good idea. A space was located among a group of medical offices in south Scottsdale and quickly became a center for Buddhist teachings for the community. Emaho stayed at that facility for nearly ten years. The complex suddenly sold and was turned into a parking lot.
The next location ("Emaho 2") was a 1,200-square-foot house in North Phoenix with a large living room that was converted into a meditation hall. The center stayed at that location for nearly two years while the board continued to search for a more favorable location with adequate parking and room to grow.
In 2014, a sangha member found and was able to purchase "Emaho 3," a two-story, 13,000-square-foot building where Emaho could spread its wings in a vibrant spacious space that would serve a wider group of people and become a sanctuary for all who enter.
Over a year was spent tearing out the old offices on the first floor, redoing the flooring, opening up the ceiling, bringing the building to code, and creating the basics for a large new center. During that year Emaho’s programs were held in a small room on the second floor.
In April of 2015, ZaChoeje Rinpoche blessed Emaho’s new facility and opened the doors to the downstairs center. In addition to a magnificent formal Tibetan temple that houses many sacred objects and artifacts from Tibet, there is also a community room, an area for children, a kitchen, and a store. The building offers abundant opportunities to share the dharma.