Going into the Dharma Cloud Monastery I was a little skeptical. I haven’t heard much on Buddhism before and the only image I had was of the ones society shares with us. My real questions were, what was the place going to look like, and how were they going to embrace us?
What I had in my head of what the monastery was going to look like was nothing like it actually was. I pictured a huge open temple that people can come and worship. What it actually looked like was just a normal house they converted into a place of worship. The landscape was beautiful with sculptures and gardens surrounding the house. I later learned that they use their grounds a lot whether it is for meditation or for retreats that they hold.
When we arrived we got right into our day. We sat in a circle with Tinh Man who is a monk and dharma teacher. The first thing we did was sing a short song to get us relaxed and in a peaceful state of mind. Then Tinh talked about meditation and how it worked. After his introduction we as a class meditated. I’m going to be honest I didn’t really know what to do while meditating.
Tinh talked about releasing your mind and thoughts and relax and be in the present moment. I had a hard time doing that because anyone who knows me knows that my mind does not stop. It is always thinking and making lists. After a while I did start to relax. After our meditation we got to ask Tinh questions about himself and Buddhism.
What I learned from the question and answer portion of our visit was that Buddhists are very peaceful people. They believe in living in the moment and not being in such a hurry. It was hard for me to understand that because how I grew up was you worried about your future. Where were you going to go to college? What were you going to do after? Our society has always been hit the ground running type. With always rushing to your next destination you miss out on what is happening around you. We were challenged to not always rush during the day. To take the time to look at what is happening around us. I am trying to complete that challenge.
Overall, my experience at Dharma Cloud Monastery was an insightful one. I learned that I need to relax more and take the time to enjoy my life. That our lives here are precious and to not take it for granted. Hopefully with time I will be able to use what Tinh taught us and apply it to my own life.