zen

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On Thursday May 15th I was given the opportunity to embark on a journey that I would of never sought out to do myself. When I was told in class that we had the choice to take a trip to the Zen Center I was very intrigued; but when I was told that we could chose this instead of reading a book for a report, my teenage mindset told me to go to the Zen Center instead of reading. When we pulled up into the driveway I saw a gorgeous 19th century looking house. I thought to myself for a second, how can this be a Buddhist temple, but when I looked at the sign (and was informed) that it was a Zen Center for Western Buddhists. When we fist arrived a man named Marcus who was our guide for the day greeted us and took us inside of the center. He explained to us that what we were about to participate in was a sitting meditation that included chanting of The Heart Sutra, as well as a walking meditation at the end of our second sitting meditation. Also, to our luck, we were able to speak to Marcus at the end of the first sitting meditation and ask him as many questions as we needed to understand what we had just experienced. When we first walked into the meditation hall, also called the zendo, we first had to remove our shoes, but after that we were taught how properly walk into the hall, and then how to prepare our seats. When you first get to the hall, you are informed to bow at the Buddha, then walk in to your seat, bow to the Buddha status again, and then to the person sitting across from you. Even though the meditation had not started, we were still required to do so.
When we went into the zendo we were taught how to sit. Even though that sounds silly, it actually was very important. During the meditation, one is not supposed to...

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...s at the center go by, he will learn more and more. What interested me the most about what I learned in our class and from the visit was to see how in Buddhism, unlike religions like Christianity and Judaism (or any other religion in the world), everyone is told that they can become a bodhisattva. This shows that we can all become “gods” and still live the same life we are living now, without becoming a monk, priest or nun. Not gods in the sense that rule over everyone, but gods in the sense that we can go on to help anyone else become enlightened and help our families on top of being a real person. We can take on the job of becoming everyday gods that help others and are then, helped in return. Knowing this mentality is what will make me keep the Buddhist ideas in my head, even after this class ends, and what keeps me interested to learn more!

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