Loving Kindness Festival Raises Money for Local Buddhist Temple

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Loving Kindness Festival Raises Money for Local Buddhist Temple

A dancer on Britton Plaza during the Loving Kindness Festival last weekend.

A dancer on Britton Plaza during the Loving Kindness Festival last weekend.

A dancer on Britton Plaza during the Loving Kindness Festival last weekend.

A dancer on Britton Plaza during the Loving Kindness Festival last weekend.

Lauren Toneatto ’21, Contributing Writer

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Students had the opportunity to partake in yoga, listen to live music, and purchase succulents and ice cream at the Loving Kindness Festival on Britton Plaza. The festival was organized to benefit and raise money for the Blue Lotus Buddhist Temple of Pennsylvania, located in Carlisle.

Speaking on behalf of the Blue Lotus Temple, Rachel Schwab stated, “We are hoping to get a permanent space, for our meditation that we offer… This event is to help support that…. All the proceeds [from] the activities and the events are going to support the temple and the future of that temple.”

The Blue Lotus Temple, which Professor of Religion Daniel Cozort says is “something that is emerging,” has branches throughout the country. According to their website, the organization looks to build a Buddhist community and to teach the benefits of meditation. These benefits include the reduction of stress, gaining compassion for yourself and others, peace of mind, and spiritual growth.  Monks look to spread love and kindness all the way from Sri Lanka to Carlisle.

“Bhante Soma, a 28 year old Sri Lankan Buddhist monk,” related Cozort, “came to Carlisle two years ago and began slowly to establish different groups for meditation and Buddhist talks at yoga studios, churches, gyms, and other places.”  The funds raised at the Loving Kindness Festival he said were to go towards the purchase of a building for Soma’s teachings.  “It turns out that there is a Sri Lankan woman who will provide seed money for the purchase of a building” he explained, “but first the community here has to show that it would be able to handle the expenses by raising about $10,000. We are working on that.”

“I have tried to help [Soma] in various ways,” continued Cozort, “such as finding him a place to live and introducing him to people I thought could be helpful. But I was surprised when, in April of this year, I was asked to be the president of the board of this new organization. I didn’t realize how successful he had been already. But I have some excellent people with whom to work, and they did most of the organizing and legwork for the loving kindness festival.”

Maisie Lake ’21 stumbled across the Loving Kindness event as she was “walking through [Britton Plaza] to go get breakfast” but ended up staying and looking around. “It seems pretty cool, it’s for a good cause,” Lake commented.

Jenna Wyly ’21, another attendee, was particularly struck by the live music, stating, “It’s great, especially this one performer who kept singing a song with [what sounded like] my name, [Jenna,] in it.”

Wyly noted that the festival “seems very successful to me, a lot of people came out” to support the community and the organization.

Schwab also added, “It’s just a very exciting event! We see all these people coming in, both local and from the school, and it’s an opportunity to get people together and to spread love and kindness.”

The festival took place on Saturday Sept. 9.

Zita Petrahai ’18, managing editor, contributed to the reporting of this article.  

 

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