Brother ChiSing says Buddhist meditation techniques can help all faiths on spiritual journeys
DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer
Brother ChiSing from Awakening Heart will facilitate music, meditation, movement, message and more at the Interfaith Peace Chapel on Mondays through Lent.
“Lent is a period of finding yourself,” said Brian Parman of Cathedral of Hope, adding that the series at the Peace Chapel is a spiritual experience that cannot be pigeonholed as just yoga or meditation.
“It’s about finding your center and peace,” he said.
About 50 people attended the first Monday evening event and Brother ChiSing said he hoped for a bigger turnout in coming weeks.
Gary Floyd, Robin Hackett and Cornell Kinderknecht provided the music.
“Cornell on flute was mesmerizing in that space,” Brother ChiSing said.
Awakening Heart is a Dallas-based spiritual ministry inspired by Buddhist teachings that presents workshops, classes and retreats around the country.
Brother ChiSing grew up as a Southern Baptist. “But in college, when I came out, it didn’t work for me anymore,” he said.
His parents kicked him out of the house and he said his church gathered a committee that excommunicated him. While he reconciled with his parents, he began exploring more liberal traditions in Christianity.
Then he discovered Buddhist meditation while living in San Francisco.
“I settled on Buddhist meditation as my main path,” he said.
He earned two Masters degrees in spirituality and divinity and moved back to Texas five years ago.
A year ago, he opened the Dallas Meditation Center in Richardson and continues traveling around the country to do meditation retreats. He calls his center one of the most thriving in North Texas. He said they’ve had Jewish, Hindu and Sufi Muslim as well as Christian meditation events at the center and events embracing various forms of Buddhist traditions.
“Our mission is to remind religious communities meditation is important,” he said. “I’m not here to convert anyone.”
Brother ChiSing said that as he’s worked with different religious traditions, he’s found they have more in common than they have differences.
“Buddhism doesn’t teach directly about God,” he said, “But Buddhists aren’t godless.”
He said they simply use different words to describe the belief in God. He said he personally believes in an afterlife and reincarnation, although Buddhism doesn’t require that. But Buddists, he said, do not believe in eternal damnation.
“There’s no eternal hell,” he said, “Because everyone has a second chance.”
The Monday night series at the Interfaith Peace Chapel is a two-hour experience.
“The musicians uplift the spirit and set the tone,” Brother ChiSing said.
The evening begins with about five minutes of yoga that he describes as very beginner friendly. The purpose is to get rid of nervous energy.
Slow walking meditation for 10 minutes follows, then 20 minutes of sitting meditation.
Brother ChiSing then delivers a 20-minute message on a relevant meditation topic — transforming suffering, cultivating happiness, what is mediation or what is enlightenment.
He said the evening ends with questions and sharing time.
“Meditation is missing from modern religious practice,” he said.
He said meditation was a part of all traditions and his mission is to remind religious communities it’s important.
Interfaith Peace Chapel, 5910 Cedar Springs Road. March 14–April 18. 7–9 p.m. Awakeningheart.org
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 18, 2011.