Last night I went to my first Buddhist meditation class in Naples. Anyone who has known me for an extended period of time or has browsed my bookself knows that I am a practicing Buddhist. I've been studying Buddhism for almost four years now. When I decided to take the job at Naples Daily News, I looked into Buddhist groups in Naples and I was saddened to find out that there is very little reputable Buddhist organizations in Naples and the west coast in general.
I found The Naples Community of Mindfulness during my search. They are students of Thich Nhat Hanh, who is a well respected and accomplished Vietnamese Zen Master. Anyone who has browsed Barnes and Nobels' Buddhist section has heard of Thich Nhat Hanh.
The teacher, Fred Eppsteiner, has studied under both Thich Nhat Hanh and Tibetan teachers, which is very comforting to me because I've studied under a Tibetan lineage and I'm completely oblivious of Zen's practices. A Zen/Tibetan teacher would make the transition very nice. He is also a psychotherapist, which will make things very interesting. I like the fact that he has wisdom from both Eastern and Western mind sciences. I'm sure he has much to offer. Unfortunately for me, he is on vacation until the end of September.
Last night, I attended their sunday night meditation class, the class was very nice. The meditation room is styled in the minimalistic Zen style therefore it wasn't as colorful as a Tibetan Gom-pa. I was happy to see a Tibetan thangka of Manjushri, who I've always had an affinity for. The people were very nice and welcoming. I was honestly afraid that I would find to many Gucci-Buddhists in Naples but the people at this class were very genuine praticioners. I'm very excited to experience this new aspect of Buddhism.