Wednesday, July 27, 2011


As I sat on the fresh-cut grass that was moist from the morning dew, I breathed in deeply and began to slowly take in my surroundings, utilizing one of the five senses at a time.

Dr. Dunn had ushered us outside to the large expanse of green lawn and instructed us to spread ourselves out and simply sit and observe: What are some of the things we see? Hear? Feel? And so on.

This was part of our lesson on Buddhism; when one sits in peace to find mindfulness in the present, he may finally learn to live with a new awareness.

It was no doubt a refreshing experience, and I noticed things that I usually would not have, such as a fly darting between the blades of grass, and the sound of an airplane soaring high above. My body and mind was at peace, and the light feeling lasted quite a while after the activity.

I feel as though out of the five religions we have studied and analyzed so far, Buddhism is the one I feel a connection to the most. Perhaps it is because of the fact that my grandfather is Buddhist (Pure Land, to be exact—I learned that while researching for our last project of the course earlier today).

We were assigned an Intra-Religious Diversity Project. Aiyana and I are to research and prepare a presentation comparing two different sects of Buddhism to one another: Pure Land Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism. After much research, I learned plenty of new and fascinating material about Pure Land Buddhism, such as the fact that it is one of the most straightforward forms of Buddhism—followers must chant the name of the Amitabha Buddha as many times as possible in order to reach the Pure Land, a Heaven where one goes after death in order to work to attain Nirvana free of distractions.

Dance class today was very entertaining. Although I absolutely cannot line dance or Bollywood, I can, however, ballroom dance. It was tons of enjoyment waltzing gracefully around the room. If only school dances were balls instead—I would no doubt have fun spinning and prancing around.

Tonight was the VSA Talent Show, showcasing the many wonderful talents of the diverse amount of students here at Vanderbilt. From intricate dance routines to bagpipes and tuba playing, the show definitely outdid my expectations. It was very enjoyable.

Tomorrow is our last full day here at Vanderbilt, and we will be spending the earlier part of it visiting a Hindu temple, our last field trip for our World Religions course. I am of course excited; every holy place we have stepped foot on has been more than rewarding on so many accounts.

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