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Logan Buddhist sangha seeks to be a welcoming, peaceful place

December 9th, 2009 Posted in Arts and Life

By Chelsey Gensel

LOGAN–The Cache Valley Sangha, a Buddhist meditation group, has a new home in the Unitarian Universalist church after years of meeting at the Faith & Fellowship center on USU’s campus and at member’s homes.

The sangha has been meeting for eight years, said participant and sometimes-leader Michael Sowder, a USU professor. Sowder said the group of around 20 people meets every Monday for a meditation, but the group often has interested or curious visitors. Aside from meditation, the group, which rotates leadership of the evening among members, shares their thoughts with a talking stick that is passed from person to person in a circle.

“Wisdom and personal or moving experiences are shared,” Sowder said. Following the meditation, hot tea is served while the group discusses the topic at hand or shares individual thoughts.

A topic may be from a sacred text, motivational or self-help book or the writings of meditation teachers, or from the leader’s own thoughts, and participants at the sangha may share their reactions or pose a question or share anything they wish during the discussion.

The sangha follows an “opening intention” rather than a specific deity or scripture. The intention is read at every meeting and describes the basic goals of the group: to understand Buddhism and meditation better, to cultivate good qualities and specifically affirms the “four noble truths” of the Buddhist Tradition.

The four noble truths say that there is suffering, that suffering has cause, it has an end, and that there is a path to reach the end of suffering.

Dan Judd, a participant of the sangha, said that something he likes about the group is that there isn’t a specific way to worship or to act or to meditate, but that it is a “welcoming, peaceful environment” for those interested, even those who are not Buddhist.

The group meets at 7:15 p.m. on Mondays at 596 E. 900 North in Logan.

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