2011 Joy of Chan

Maureen Lowentein (English Sutra Study Class)

I have lived in Glen Iris for 27 years and have been attending the Bao Lin Monastery for 2 ½ years. Attending weekly Dharma talks and meditation has been extremely useful in my life and has made me more tolerant towards others and less reactive to the adverse situations that present themselves in the usual course of living.

The most beneficial aspect of my involvement with the monastery has been the meditation regime. If done regularly it allows you to perceive your thoughts as they arise and see the motivation behind your actions. I have found the half day and full day meditations are great as the cumulative effect is quite rewarding.

It takes courage and discipline to study Buddhism as the principles do not always match one’s current frame of thinking, but I think that is one of the helpful parts of the learning something new – you don’t benefit if you don’t challenge your thoughts and change. Having said that it is also a relief to find a lot of things that took up my thought processes in the past have less importance and less effect on me.

I think my family has also benefited from my involvement because I am calmer and appreciate what is it front for me; for example rather than thinking, thinking, thinking of the future and what I will be doing, or not doing in five, ten years I get a lot more ‘now’ time pleasure. This can be shared with my partner and child in a way that is tangible.

Finally let me say that I have a deep respect for the shifus and Abbess for their discipline and selfless service they provide in Glen Iris. It is always a pleasure to see one of the shifus.