Thursday, August 27, 2009

I wouldn't call myself a Buddhist...

I started meditating because it helped me, big time. I wasn't interested in becoming a Buddhist at all. As a matter of fact, I avoided joining a Sangha (a community of Buddhists) like the plague. But it was suggested to me that I do so by a teacher I greatly respect, Brad Warner.

I searched for a group that had a legitimate lineage. I was not interested in Buddhist reading groups! They have a tendency to simply want to look like Buddhists. I wanted a group whose main focus was meditating so I knew I wanted to find a Zen group ("zen" means "meditation"). I came across a group that sits near me called the Kwan Um School of Zen which descends from the Chongye School of Zen in Korea . Very down-to-earth. Sure they are into interviewing, chanting and bowing, which were new to me, but every sangha has its own "thing."

So I went one Tuesday evening to the Unity Temple on the Plaza and sat. I attended their Intro to Zen Class and their Compass of Zen Class at the Kansas Zen Center in Lawrence, KS. I sat one one-day retreat and one weekend retreat and plan to sit one of each again this fall. This winter, I hope to receive the precepts which pretty much means I would officially become a Zenny (my phrase).

But I really wouldn't call myself a Buddhist. Sure I sit Zen style. But I also hit the heavy bag. Does that make me a boxer?


Oh yeah! If anyone is in the Kansas City/Lawrence area and is interested in learning more, there is a Foundations of Zen Class on Thursdays, September 17 and September 24 at 7 p.m. The cost is $20 for both sessions. The money is used to help support the Zen Center (keeping the lights on and all). Led by Dharma Teacher Jane Gnojek who is the cat's meow.

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