December 14, 2009

Church Experiment #50: Buddhist Dharma Center

My back hurts. Lots of uncomfortable sitting during a Buddhist service. But more on my sitting problems in a moment.

I have been interested in Buddhism for a long time. One, many experts believe Jesus was heavily influenced by Buddhist practices and traditions. Two, meditation has always intrigued me. I have a hard time shutting my brain off; meditation could be the answer to my overactive mind. Finally, Richard Gere is dreamy.

An unfamiliar context is always nerve-racking because I have no idea what to expect. Even if a Christian church is out of my comfort zone, I still understand most of the rituals. Not so at a Buddhist Temple.

Walking into the Buddhist Dharma Center (, I quickly realized the gathering would be small. Approximately fifteen people were in attendance. No one really greeted me, but someone did suggest I put on a nametag. Someone else handed me a sheet of paper that included that morning’s chants. Everyone had to take their shoes off before entering the meditation room. Cushions were scattered throughout the room and there was a small “altar” near the back wall.

To finish reading about this experience or any of the reflections from my 52 visits, please purchase the full book here.