Theravada Buddhism is the "oldest of the surviving Buddhist traditions." The two resident monks (or Bhantes) at PBC are from Sri Lanka.
He asks me a few questions about gatherings. Before I get very far, Bhante P interjects: "Art and drawing is a form of meditation." I stop explaining.
We talk about a principal of Buddhism. Characteristics of the human mind: it wanders, does so alone, dwells in a cave (our body), it is formless. A simple summary: If we learn how to subdue our minds (with awareness), a freedom is achieved. ...basically, how to chill out when we are stressed or worried about things that probably will never happen. Pretty useful skill, I think.
In the end: a blessing ritual involving a string that unites the room. It reminds me of the blessing of the challah, during Sukkot (5th visit, 6th pgh). From one of the Bhantes, each of us receives a sprinkle of blessed water and a yellow string tied around our wrist, similar to the Hindu Diwali observance (14th visit, 5th pgh).
After the meditation, I meet:
A young ceramicist, also a first-timer. She comments that she feels Buddhism is so applicable to current life situations. So far, I cannot argue. I also feel that, in my gatherings experience to date, Buddhism is the strongest example of religion existing as a philosophy.