Salt Lake Community College students and faculty gathered Tuesday to learn meditation as practiced by one of the world’s oldest religions.
As Religious Diversity Awareness Month reached its end, SLCC invited Dr. David Lipschitz from the University of Utah and Ajahn Sombat Khippabhinyo from the Wat Dhammagunaram of Utah to share scientific and spiritual perspectives on Buddhist meditation.
“Is the mind inside the brain and body, or is it outside?” Lipschitz asked at the start of his lecture, prompting murmurs from the crowd. “We hope we can convince you that they are indeed one thing.”
Lipschitz spoke at length on the scientifically measurable benefits of meditation before turning the mic over to Khippabhinyo, who told the story of Siddhartha Gautama, the prince who, according to legend, founded Buddhism.
“If you enjoy your negative emotions, then you don’t need meditation,” Khippabhinyo says. “But if you want to improve yourself, then it is.”
In addition to being a spiritual activity practiced worldwide, meditation is also widely practiced as a way to lessen stress, making it invaluable for the average college student.
“The whole purpose of this event is to widen our awareness of different cultures,” says Wijitha Bandara, associate professor of religious studies. “Since we live in a multicultural world, it is very important to learn what other people do.”