Juniors and seniors in the Western Civilization and Anthropology classes at the Altmar-Parish-Williamstown High School were given an opportunity to step outside their classroom recently to experience firsthand the influences of western cultures on today’s modern society.
The day long field trip, intended to broaden the students’ horizons as well as reinforce important lessons in tolerance and acceptance, began with a tour of the Zen Center of Syracuse Hoen-ji. Gyoshin Virginia Lawson spoke to students on behalf of the Zen Center about the history and evolution of Buddhism as well as the meditation practice known as Zen. The students were given an opportunity to visit in the Center’s meditation hall called a Zendo and Lawson provided the students with some information about typical Zen teachings and practices including the sitting technique and chanting that takes place during a typical meditation service.
Following the Zen Center tour the students visited the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, learned about the evolution of Judaism at the Temple Concord, and then stopped by the Islamic Center of Central New York to learn about Islamic practices.
The final stop on the field trip was a visit to the Taste of India Restaurant where the students dined on authentic Indian cuisine that was prepared using traditional methods and practices including the use of a cylindrical clay oven called a tandoor.