I drive by the Meditation Center near Martin Park. What’s its story?
Located just over the Ridgefield line is the Redding Center for Meditation—a peaceful enclave dedicated to bringing its members an awareness of the present, using a form of meditation called Mahasati. Rather than employing breathing as the primary object of awareness, Mahasati uses attention to the movement of the body. “It creates an awareness of how we move and an appreciation for the current task at hand,” says outgoing director Sharon Todd.
“The center provides a serene, contemplative space for the practice of insight meditation, under the gentle and experienced guidance of resident Buddhist monks, and in the context of a supportive community of fellow practitioners.”
The Center’s main practice space is a barn transformed into an open room with hardwood floors, soft light, and exposed beams. Though a statue of Buddha sits prominently at the front of the room, the center’s literature says there is no need to accept any type of religious doctrine.
“It’s transportable to life and very calming,” says board member Frank van Putten, a film actor, of the practice. Achan Da Nilpant is an ordained Thai monk and the abbott of the center. He leads six regular hour-and-a-half silent sessions a week, attended by a dozen or so members during the week and 40 to 50 on weekends.
The Center was founded in 2003 as a non-profit supported by donations—there are “no formal charges” to attend sessions. “It’s a chaotic world,” says Todd. “This is a place to go for peace, to become more aware and to get rid of suffering in your life.”