Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Crossing Paths participants visit Shao Shan Temple to learn about Buddhism - February 15, 2020

The middle school Crossing Paths participants had a great visit to the Shao Shan Temple in East Calais on Saturday morning! This was part of their month-long exploration of Buddhism. Many thanks to the youth for being such respectful visitors and full of curiousity. Thanks to the kind people at Shao Shan for their hospitality and teaching, and the parent facilitators (Julie Erickson Bond and Cara Robechek) and drivers too. Julie Bond wrote: "It was a great experience for everyone - the Abbess and Abbott were terrific teachers and spent a lot of time with the group explaining concepts, asking questions and leading g us through chants and meditations." 

One of our hosts, Kenzan, of Shan Shan, wrote this blog post of the visit: "A group of middle school youth from the Unitarian Universalist Church in Montpelier, VT came and visited Shao Shan Temple on Saturday, Feb. 15. They came as part of their program studying different religions. The enthusiastic and curious group had a chance to hear about Soto Zen Buddhism, ask questions, listen to a typical service, participate in chanting, experience walking & sitting meditation and offer incense." Could be a neat field trip for some adult or all ages group in the summer.  Please reach out to the people of Shao Shan before your first visit.  Their website and contact information is here.  

One core element of the Crossing Paths program for middle schoolers to learn about other faiths is the 8 Practices of Welcoming.  These are ways of being that are good practice in general, but especially when learning from others about their traditions and culture.  They are as follows:  

The Eight Practices of Welcoming 

Be fully present.
Be curious.
Be open to being changed.
Be comfortable with discomfort.
Be an appreciative listener.
Be light-hearted.
Be gentle (allow and heal mistakes.)
Be yourself.  

~ Crossing Paths, a Soul Matters UU curriculum

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