About Us

Ozarks Dharma Community (ODC) is a non-profit organization made up of a diverse group of practitioners who share the teachings of the Buddha with each other and with the greater Springfield, Missouri region. We are inspired by the Theravada Buddhist tradition, but open to all.

Our History

Our beginnings go back to 2001, when the Body of Works Meditation Group (BOW) was started by Dr. Neil and Cheryl Nathan, who invited two people from their Tai Chi class to begin a Buddhism study group. They would listen to recordings of prominent leaders of the Western tradition of Buddhism, meditate and then engage in discussion. Initially meeting in the Nathans’ home, they soon welcomed more practitioners and interested persons and moved to the BOW Yoga Studio at the Carlson Building in downtown Springfield in 2002.

In 2004, the time requirements of Dr. Nathan’s medical practice lead him to relinquish leadership to Sister Dipa, who held the position until 2009, when she joined the Mahapajapati Monastery in California. She was succeeded by Holly June Graves, who led our group through March 2015. Our community continued to grow, and with it our activities, including the Wednesday evening sitting at Brentwood Library (through June 2014), a Stream Team, a committed practice group, and an active online community. (See Visiting and Calendar for more information about times and formats.) We also have special activities, ranging from participating in a Kiva lending team to enjoying informal social gatherings to participating in online courses to organizing local retreats. In 2012, we began calling our group "Ozarks Dharma Community" to reflect these changes.

In February 2013, the Saturday Meditation Group met for the last time at the Body of Work Yoga Studio, which was closing. (Thanks to Tom Carlson, Joan Rosen, Kirsten Kukal and all the others who made it possible for us to meet in that lovely space for so many years!) We started meeting at Dinh Quang Buddhist Temple in March 2013. Thay and the Vietnamese community welcomed us with open arms. We are grateful for their hospitality!

Due to our growth, ODC moved to a new space in July 2017 at National Avenue Christian Church.

Become a Member

ODC incorporated as a non-profit in Aug 2017 and welcomes members. ODC Members can nominate, apply to join and/or vote on ODC’s Board of Trustees. Elected Trustees then carry out ODC’s governance and programs.

To be an ODC Member, you must be at least 16 years old with a current email address. Signup on the sheet when you attend Saturday meditation or let us know you're interested in membership by emailing us.