In 2006, the Rev, Drew Kennedy asked Steve and Jeanne Lowry if they would help Rev. Marcia Marino put together a group of interested First Church members who wished to explore Buddhist teachings and meditation. There was significant interest, so began the group that lives on today! Many who were present then are still members and participate in Buddhist study meetings.
We decided to focus on a study of the Buddhist teachings of the three major traditions, Theravada, Zen and Tibetan, as presented by leading western teachers. We began choosing a book, and in our meetings discussing it chapter by chapter. We followed this with a period of meditation. That is still the process we use.
We meet on the first and third Wednesday of each month at First Church from 6:30 p.m.–8:00 p.m. Usually we have a fellowship with tea and cookies after.
Between books, we usually have a pot luck and movie. In the spring, we have hosted a Saturday retreat, led by different teachers from the traditions that were available for us. In late summer we have sponsored a Prairie retreat in western Wisconsin. This has led us through many fine books and excellent Buddhist themed movies. Examples of the authors are Jack Kornfield, Pema Chodren, Charlette Beck, Thick Nhat Hanh, and Lama Sura Das.
During the fall of 2015, we begin an exploration of “Bravery, The Living Buddha Within,” by Frank Berliner, who teaches in the physiology department at Naropa University.
All are welcome to our meetings, beginner and experienced mediator. We’ve learned to listen to each other with interest and respect, as well as trust one another in sharing our journey. Many have found this experience not only personally enriching, but it has often propelled us into the life of our community. We learn compassion and caring for ourselves, as well as one another, and service to the needs of our community.
Our group decided to take the name of “Gathering Waters Sangha,” to represent not only Milwaukee as gathering place of the three rivers into what was one of the great estuaries of the Great Lakes, but our UU tradition of gathering the Wisdom that guides our service from many sources. Jeanne and Steve Lowry were ordained last winter in the lineage of Thich Nhat Hanh, as members of his Order Of Interbeing, to serve the communities of mindfulness and the interest of peace and justice in the larger society. They see this as one of the fruits of our years of study and meditation together.
If you find this of interest, please feel free to join us.