On the past two consecutive Thursday evenings I’ve visited the Drepung Loseling Monastery here in Atlanta. The monastery, devoted to the practice of Tibetan Buddhism, has been on my radar for many years. Finally curiosity got the better of me and I found a convenient time to attend one of their weekly public meditation gatherings.
Walking into the monastery, I happily took off my shoes and sat down on one of the comfortable cushions on the floor. I felt very relaxed and open-minded as I looked at the beautiful images of the Buddha and other figures from Buddhist tradition while waiting for the instructor to begin.
Both instructors (a different one each week) began with a short talk about Cognitive Based Compassion Training– the type of meditation being offered those evenings. Part mindfulness, part analytical meditation on themes of self-compassion and compassion for others, CBCT is a modern manifestation of ancient Tibetan practices on these themes. Following the short discussion, we had an opportunity to meditate.
I appreciated being able to walk into a prayerful space with complete anonymity. I felt no judgment during my time there and I also felt seen/beheld by the instructor. I found the practice to be soothing, meaningful, authentic, and spiritually engaging. I felt like I was in the company of fellow practitioners committed to cultivating compassion. I felt no tension or conflict between the practice and my Jewish religious and spiritual practice. In fact, I felt quite the opposite– a synergy.
Overall, a positive experience that I plan to further explore in the coming months and years.