Sunday morning I found myself in a room filled with the sounds of gentle breathing and a crackling fireplace. Every cushion was filled with meditators participating in the weekly public service at the Zen Buddhist Temple. They ranged from tattooed men, young and old, parents and University students who followed along in meditation, chants, and reflections upon Buddhist teachings.

The following Tuesday I went to visit the temple’s residential home for the six a.m. service. That morning I met five of the residents of the temple, two of whom are students at the University. After the quiet morning meditation and prayers, the residents cooked and ate breakfast together, happily sharing with me.

Whether they were Buddhist or not, all who visited or lived at the temple were searching for a greater sense of self. They were trying to find themselves through learning about a new culture. With my own short experience at the temple, I also felt that I had learned a greater appreciation for life through those kind smiles and gentle bows.

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