Columnist encourages meditation after visiting Buddhist monastery

By Mary Larsh, Columnist

One day at a Buddhist monastery will open your mind to new experiences and help you to become a more relaxed person.

Sections of my Intro to World Religions class volunteered at the Buddha Mind Monastery, 5916 S. Anderson Road, the past three Saturdays to fulfill a service learning requirement.

My classmates and I participated in different forms of meditation.

We were focusing on our self and clearing our minds.

First, we focused on our breathing—breathing in, and counting as we breathed out from one to five.

Next, we participated in walking meditation where we concentrated on every step we took.

Students could benefit from Buddhist meditation because it can help relieve stress.

It is positive in that it gives a sense of renewal.

I benefited more from the volunteering aspect of the day.

While some students washed dishes and others moved mulch, I pulled weeds from the meditation trail.

One of the regular volunteers who led our group for the day was a former drug addict. Working at the Buddhist Monastery kept her sober. She said if she couldn’t relieve her stress in a proactive way, she would continue doing drugs.

I preferred weeding to meditating. I was in a better state of mind working than meditating. Buddhism also encourages mental discipline and a wholesome state of mind while working.

After this experience, I am considering taking up gardening in my spare time.

Students should participate in this service learning project wholeheartedly.

It helps students become well-rounded individuals as well as experience a new culture.

The Buddhist monks invited students to Zen classes and events including meditation, cooking, yoga, and Mandarin classes. They also invited students to return to volunteer.

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