By Schyler Martin for the SNAP
Friday, June 28, 2013 —
The Faith Club met in Albemarle June 11 to hear a talk about the loving and compassionate Buddhist way of life.
Joan Eudy and Cheryl Bristol started the Faith Club in the hopes that community members could explore and discuss various religions of the world.
The latest Faith Club meeting focused on Buddhism. Arrita Lawson, a practicing Buddhist from the Vajradhara Buddhist Center in Charlotte, spoke about her practice of Kadampa Buddhism.
Lawson explained that Buddhism is made up of many traditions, like Christianity is made up of many denominations. Followers of the Kadampa tradition put Buddhist views into practice in everyday life and choose to share their views with others.
Lawson became interested in Buddhism when her friend in Washington told her about it. She has been practicing diligently for more than two years. Lawson was raised a Southern Baptist.
“I had never been around anybody who had as much compassion,” Lawson said about her friend.
“I wanted that. And I wanted everyone to have that.”
When asked if Buddhism was a religion, Lawson answered that it was a “way of life.”
“Buddhist teachings are guides on how to live life with love and compassion,” Lawson said.
The six Buddhist practices that she applies to every aspect of her life are giving, patience, effort, moral discipline, concentration and wisdom. She said that through meditation one could have realizations about how the world works and what is important in it.
“When you gain these realizations it’s rather profound,” Lawson said.
“It’s like someone turned the light on in a dark room.”
Through Buddhism Lawson has learned not to grow attached to worldly things. She has learned how to cope with anger and stress through meditation, how to stop thinking selfishly and how to stop relying on instant gratification.
“The happiness that we get is actually from cherishing others. It’s not from cherishing ourselves,” Lawson said.
Lawson said that we should treat others kindly in order to receive good Karma. Karma is the belief that what goes around, truly comes around. When you do something positive, you will receive something positive. Lawson said that people should be positive in every moment of their lives.
“Moment by moment we change. It’s what we do with these moments that makes the difference.”
Faith Club members listened closely to Lawson’s presentation and had many questions. Some asked about her belief in Heaven and Hell. Lawson explained the idea of rebirth. She said Buddhists believe that the way we live decides what kind of body our minds will go into in the next life.
“It’s completely equal. Buddha doesn’t discriminate,” Lawson said, when asked how women and homosexuals are viewed in Buddhism.
More information on Buddhism is available at emodernbuddhism.com.
The Faith Club meets the second Tuesday of every month at 2 p.m. at the Stanly County Senior Center in Albemarle. All ages are encouraged to attend.
Schyler Martin is a freelance contributor for The Stanly News & Press.