Sangha May 12, 2017

One night a week my wife and I meet up with a group of Buddhists. Many have Christian backgrounds. We meditate together, then have a brief teaching (called a “dharma talk”) and then a discussion.

Last night the discussion was about kindness–about being kind simply for the sake of being kind. My wife brought up 1 Corinthians 13 (“Love is patient, love is kind…”) and the idea that patience creates room for kindness. This insight was met with appreciation by all and the discussion turned to the way that meditation fosters patience and creates an internal spaciousness–an ability to pause before acting–which provides opportunity to choose kindness.

At this weeknight meeting we sit in a circle in chairs. Sometimes ten people attend, sometimes twenty-five. On a table in the corner of the room, next to the hot water and tea bag selection, is a basket for leaving dana–contributions. Enough cash ends up in the basket to pay for the room rental and supplies and a bit for the teacher (who would do it with or without remuneration). There is no entrepreneurial push to maximize giving, no evangelistic drive to grow the congregation, no ambition to build a building, no need to cast a vision. We just do what we do with what we have, and it is what it is, and that is fine.

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