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Buddhadharma : Winter 2006
winter 2006| 92 |buddhadharma winter 2006| 92 |buddhadharma may be some fifty thousand people influenced by UU Buddhism, about ten thousand of whom “have a regular daily practice or some- thing close to it.” Trumbore says that all the main streams of Buddhism are represented in the UU population: “We have Zen practitio- ners, Tibetan Buddhists, Pure Land, Vipassa- na practitioners, Thich Nhat Hanh students, and a variety of others.” People who have already started a Buddhist practice are often attracted to a UU congrega- tion because it offers them a place to practice and a spiritual home that is not radically dif- ferent from their Christian upbringing. It can also provide a religious education for their children that few Buddhist denominations in America offer. Melissa Blacker, a Zen prac- titioner who had just moved to Worcester, Massachusetts, with her husband and young daughter in the early 1990s, was “looking for a family-oriented church that didn’t limit us in terms of what we believed or worshiped or practiced.” The senior minister at a UU church they tried out had a meditation prac- tice, and in the first sermon “she quoted an old Zen koan and T.S. Eliot, and we thought, ‘Wow, this is different kind of place!’” Blacker went on to become a Zen priest and a teacher of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, but she maintains her connection to the Unitarian Universalist congregation. When she first came to the Worcester church, she says, “people asked us what we did spiri- tually, and when we told them we practiced Zen, they asked us to do some workshops, teach people how to meditate, and teach something about Zen. We now have one Zen group that meets once a week that includes members from the congregation and another that meets in my home that doesn’t tend to attract people from the congregation.” According to Ford and Trumbore, UU Buddhist practice groups generally meet for an hour or so once a week. During that time, they practice together and may also hear a talk, have a discussion, and social- ize. The dominant form of the practice tends to be influenced by whoever has started the group, and some congregations even have two groups with differing orientations. Ford says the intensity of people’s practice var- ies considerably: some practice occasionally, others daily, and still others regularly go on retreats. At the gatherings themselves, there usually is not much ritual and form. Trum- bore appreciates that. What he values most from Buddhism, he says, is “using meditation practice effectively to wake up. I’m not inter- ested in chants, initiations, and other forms of ritual – the cultural trappings. I want the pure practice that awakens.” ➤ Profile continued from page 90 daVidkiTTelsTromrUbinmUseUmofarT kwan um school of zen over 100 centers and groups worldwide email@example.com www.kwanumzen.org zen master seung sahn founding teacher photobyMatthewSmolinsky •A unique practice opportunity for experienced Dharma students in the exquisite high country of Taos, New Mexico •Grounded in the Theravada-Vipassana lineage, supplemented by other awareness or concentration practices •Offering two-week to one-month retreats with an opportunity for more independent, self-directed practice • Special scholarship rates available for low-income people of color, helping professionals, lay Dharma teachers, and other Dharma students who could not otherwise attend. No fee for monastics. March 14 - April 11, 2007 Teachers: Marcia Rose & Patricia Genoud Feldman July 6 - July 25, 2007 Teacher: Venerable Sayadaw U Vivekananda Guiding Teacher: Marcia Rose P.O. Box 807 · Ranchos de Taos, NM · 87557 505-758-0633 firstname.lastname@example.org · www.mountainhermitage.org The Mountain Hermitage SANTA CRUZ ZEN CENTER Community praice in everyday life. • Daily zazen • Sesshins • Classes • Lectures 831.457.0206 Santa Cruz, California www.sczc.org