Students sat in the dark Thursday as a Buddhist monk taught them the benefits of meditation.
Banthe Upananda Dedunupitiye, a monk and meditation instructor from Sri Lanka, discussed meditation and Buddhism, which he said are both tied to emotion, in the Library’s Grace Allen Room.
“Breathe in a deep sense of happiness and relaxation,” Dedunupitiye said to the group. “Breathe out a deep sense of stress.”
Madeline Camara, associate professor in the world languages department, organized the event.
Camara said she believes it’s important for students to be exposed to different cultures. She offers extra credit to students who attend at least two events from the Hispanic Heritage Celebration Calendar.
“It’s important to keep awareness of the multicultural aspect of our globe,” she said. “When he was explaining what meditation and awareness are, he (was) giving this responsibility that people should be confident in their identity.”
After leaving Sri Lanka, Dedunupitiye came to North America to share his knowledge of Buddhism and teach meditation methods.
Dedunupitiye said he helps drug addicts by educating them on how to meditate to overcome their urges.
Guidance counseling is necessary for these individuals, but for them to “strengthen their emotions and get over those urges,” meditation is also valued, he said.
“Life is nothing but a stream of emotions,” Dedunupitiye said. “The purpose of religion is to help in these emotions. So, Buddhism isn’t just for Buddhists.”
Cole Matter, a senior majoring in Spanish, said he attended the event because he is curious about Buddhism.
“I think it’s a good experience to interact with someone who is Buddhist,” he said. “I thought it was
interesting especially on the views of afterlife, everything you accomplish is left on earth.”
He said the meditation was the most interesting part of the presentation and that Dedunupitiye helped him gain a new perspective.
“This is something I can look into on my own to find happiness and release negative feelings,” he said.