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Meditation Leader

Patrick McClintock

Human Attendance


Cat Attendance


Sample Worshipper Dress

gray corduroy pants, green-and-white shirt

Service Length

about 90 minutes

Congregational Fervor

With the majority of the Kagyu community away on summer vacation, the close quarters of the Dharma Center (which doubles as McClintock’s living room) were certainly spacious enough to accommodate the lone attendant of a recent service. Despite the low turnout, McClintock was more than happy to give an introduction to the center’s practices. “We’re not really trying to adapt Buddhism to Westerners,” said the Berkeley, Calif., native. “We’re old school.”

Food for the Soul

At Kagyu, Sunday-afternoon meetings are dedicated to shinay, or “calm abiding meditation,” a focus-developing process that McClintock describes as “a trip to the gym” for one’s mind. The workout gets a little more serious on Tuesday evenings, when the Kagyu community recites an ancient chant dedicated to improving the situation of all sentient beings. “It’s where the mojo is,” said McClintock.

Food for the Body

Amid a discussion on Kagyu’s practices, McClintock offered up a glass of his specialty: watermelon gazpacho. Tart and spicy in equal measure, the drink was a refreshing break from heady concepts such as “being in the presence of the essence of compassion.” “It’s a recipe I got out of the [Washington] Post,” said McClintock, who also works as a cook. “I’ve been tinkering with it all summer.”

Overall Worship Power

When not occupied with developing his awareness of the present moment or helping others chant for the enlightenment of all beings, McClintock finds some solace as a member of a neighborhood billiards league. “It’s definitely a very nice counterpoint to all this,” he said about his skills on the baize. “Although the meditation really does help with my game.”

—Aaron Leitko