Hello all. The Meditation Circle of Charleston is in transition and we welcome your feedback and attendance in the coming weeks. For a long while, the group has tried to be many things, open to all sorts of discussions and directions. But the result has been that it has not been any one thing, and has not had much focus.
To that end, we’re in the process of refocusing the group. Although there is no requirement of those who come that they be self-identified as Buddhists (Doug’s usual quip is that it runs a bit contrary to the Buddha’s teachings to cling too strongly to the label ‘Buddhist’), going forward we’ll be much more specifically a Buddhist meditation group.
We’ll be introducing Noble Silence as a practice upon entering the main hall of the Unitarian building where we hold meetings, we’ll be learning to sit a little longer (from 30 to 45 minutes), we’ll be introducing Buddhist pujas and chanting now and again — plus the Buddha himself will be in attendance in the form of a small statue in the room.
As we re-introduce listening to recordings by Buddhist teachers into the group (something we used to do), we’ll pick ones that deepen an understanding of how to meditate in the insight or vipassana tradition and how meditation fits into the teachings of the Buddha. We’ll focus more deeply on the Noble Eightfold Path, and impermanence, no-self and dukkha (or unsatisfactoriness, to use the least limiting definition of this complex word) which lie at the very heart of spiritual practice in the Buddhist tradition.
None of us facilitating these meetings are teachers, so the group will remain a kind of support group for people serious about a lifelong practice of Buddhist meditation and who seek an area sangha. We hope to renew the practice of bringing Buddhist teachers to town. In order to do this, and also to contribute regular donations to the Unitarians for their generous hosting of our meetings, we will be encouraging people to donate $1 per meeting or $5 per month, if possible. (If you’re going through rough fiscal times, don’t worry about this.)
We welcome you to our Tuesday meetings in the next couple weeks for your ideas on this transformation, as well as how to structure meetings so beginners may have some instruction without starting each week’s meditation sitting from scratch. We are also contemplating moving the meeting to Monday nights and would like to know your thoughts on such a move. Please join us!