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Monday, September 16, 2013

Loving Kindness

Yesterday my husband and I toured "The Loving Kindness" Tour at the Zen Center of Denver. I have long been fascinated with Buddhism as it seems to mirror so closely my own Spiritual path. As a Shao-lin disciple of Kung Fu, the practice of mindfulness and daily meditation has become even more important in my life. After traveling to China in 2011 with my school, and seeing the bigger than life size Buddhas, I've grown to have a fondness in my heart for the Buddha. 

Years before I studied Kung Fu, I was blessed to travel to the two Stupas located here in Colorado. What a blessing it is to have two Stupas in our state. One Stupa is located in Red Feather Lakes, CO, which is in the northern part of the state and the other is located in the mystical town of Crestone, which is in the southern part of the state. Our state is grounded between the two Stupas, one in the north and one in the south. And even though we as a state, have suffered through some horrible acts of violence (Columbine and Century Theatre massacre) I still feel the presence of these holy places helps us on some level, whether we know it or not. 

I wasn't quite sure what to expect for the Loving Kindness Tour. For years we have wanted to enter the Zen Center of Denver, just based on the building itself. The Center is located in the Highlands neighborhood of Denver, which is a beautiful neighborhood filled with large old trees and brick buildings. The Zen Center is located in old, beautiful building that just by looking it gives one a sense of peace. I was excited for the opportunity simply to enter the building. 

Before we could enter, we had to remove our shoes, just like when I go to Kung Fu class. Without being told, immediately we felt the silent instruction, to speak softly, and walk softly. I've seen on other sites where the tour was held, people waited in long lines for hours to see the Relics. However for us, there weren't more than ten people ahead us in line. We stood on the staircase leading up into the sanctuary and quietly waited our turn. 

The room was filled with a golden peace and immananence that is hard to explain. Another one of those blessed, mysterious, moments of life, that can only be felt and not explained. 

As my husband and I walked the display of relics, we stopped at the places on the display, which were interactive and asked us to ring a bell, pour water, say a prayer or read a text. We also paused with reverence at each relic display. We are not Buddhists but we could feel the sacred energy emanating from the display and we bowed appropriately at each one. 

At the last display, there was a sacred text, which said just by reading it would help to enlighten one. I was thrilled when I saw the text included the word "Goddess".

 At the end of the tour, we bowed on a cushion and received a blessing from the relics. We also took a small offering of holy water, that the Zen Center gave to everyone who took the tour. The water has been blessed by the relics.

 This morning as the church bells rang from the Catholic Church, which is a block from my house and whose daily, hourly, ringing of church bells, disturbs me greatly, I found peace knowing the Zen Center is just a few blocks away. I felt peace knowing they are one end, the Catholic Church is in the middle and I am on the other end. It brought me great peace to know the Buddhists are alive and well in my neighborhood. 

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