Our History


The Buddhist Center was founded in 1996 by Tim Olmsted in an effort to share the Buddha’s teachings in the Yampa Valley and to support those who were already practicing Buddhism, or other spiritual teachings.

Tim has been a student of the teachings since meeting his first teacher Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in Boulder, Colorado in the mid-70’s. In 1981 Tim and his family moved to Kathmandu, Nepal at the invitation of the great meditation master Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, and his son Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche. Living in Nepal gave him access to the teachings of all of the great teachers of our time. Tim maintained a busy psychotherapy practice during his years in Nepal.

In 1994 Tim returned from Kathmandu and moved to Steamboat Springs. Two years later he founded the Buddhist Center. In 2000 Tim was asked by Pema Chödrön to become the director of Gampo Abbey, the largest monastery in the west. Tim and his wife, Glenna, lived at Gampo Abbey for the next 3 years.

Tim is one of the founders and senior instructors of the Tergar Meditation Community, under the guidance of the Mingyur Rinpoche, the youngest son of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche. He spends much of the year traveling around the world leading the ‘Joy of Living’ meditation retreats featuring Mingyur Rinpoche’s teachings. You can learn more about Mingyur Rinpoche and his teachings - here
Tim is also the founder and president of The Yongey Foundation that supports Mingyur Rinpoche's activities in Nepal, India and Tibet - here

Tim is the president of The Pema Chödrön Foundation, dedicated to the support monastic tradition in the west, and a variety of organizations that serve underserved communities in the West and in Asia. - here

Tim’s wife Glenna, has been a realtor in Steamboat Springs for the past 30 years. She is active in the community, having served as one of the ‘dekyongs’ who watch over the well-being of the community and respond to the needs that come up.  Glenna is also the executive assistant to Pema Chödrön, one the the most loved and respected western Buddhist nuns of our time, and the Secretary/Treasurer os The Yongey Foundation. 

Our Tradition

The Buddhist Center is guided by the Buddha’s teachings in general, and by the Buddhist tradition as it was passed down through the great scholars and meditators of Tibet. Specifically, the emphasis of these teachings is the joining of compassion, the wish to relieve all beings of suffering, and wisdom, the insight into the nature of mind and the world it projects. These teachings make up the Mahayana, or ‘great vehicle’, and are uniquely applicable for householders living in the world, like us. Finally, the view and methods of the Vajrayana, or ‘Diamond Vehicle’ show us how to directly access the very nature of an awakened mind.  These teachings have come down through the centuries in the Kagyu and Nyingma schools of Tibetan Buddhism. The traditions followed by these schools are known as Mahamudra and Dzogchen respectively.