Meditation community upset at razing of Univ. of N. Dakota Meditation Ctr. which begins Monday

While many universities and colleges across USA are patronizing meditation and opening new meditation centers, University of North Dakota (UND), a public research university at Grand Forks, is demolishing an exuberant meditation center beginning July 17.

UND meditation community seems to be quite upset at this proposed demolition of Lotus Meditation Center (LMC), where they have been meditating for about 20 years, without providing them a befitting replacement.

It was shocking and hard to comprehend that UND was destroying a well-functioning donor funded LMC with no definite plans yet to build anything on that piece of land, distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed noted in a statement in Nevada today.

“We are not yet sure how we will make use of the resulting space”, UND President Mark R. Kennedy wrote in an email to a query of Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism.

Rajan Zed suggests that in view of importance of the meditation in the lives of students and other campus communities, UND should revise its decision regarding demolition of LMC and leave it functioning as it is till they come up with a plan for this land. In the meantime, UND should erect a designated decent Meditation Center; a quiet calming space for meditation, reflection and prayer.

According to reports, meditation community has been asked to make prior reservations for the space in multi-use Room 17 of Swanson Hall (Co-ed hall for transfer or returning students); which is stuck in the basement without any direct sunlight; is a much smaller facility than LMC; and shall be utilized for various purposes. Despite their efforts, the meditation community has not yet been able to schedule space for the summer and has not been able to meet in Room 17 after they moved out of LMC on June 30; and UND has refused to rename it as LMC. From their actions, UND did not seem to be serious about the all-round and wholesome development of their students and had failed to recognize the intersection of spirituality and education, Zed commented.

Rajan Zed stressed that meditation was quite helpful in combating stress that challenges faced by university students brought, and to increase the powers of their minds. So it was quite important that the meditation center be housed in an appropriate setting. With the presence of an active Meditation Center, UND students would have a spiritually meaningful life in addition to material success after they graduated from here.

Texas A&M University recently opened an all-inclusive and designated Prayer and Meditation Room.

While Kennedy says in the email that the “University has identified several buildings that have aged to the point that they need to be demolished”, but the meditation community points out that LMC was only about 20 years old and could possibly be detached from the International Center and saved at this location or moved to another location.

Zed explained that meditation was a condition of profound internal wakefulness; and added that ancient Hindu scripture Taittiriya Upanishad stated: “Meditation is Brahman (the supreme being)”. Lord Krishna told in Bhagavad-Gita: With mind and senses disciplined through meditation, bonded with the Self within, the seeker achieves tranquility and nirvana, the state of permanent peace and joy in me.

As a part of the UND Campus Master Plan, the demolition of eight buildings on UND’s campus will begin on July 17, which includes razing of LMC. “The razing of each of these buildings has been vetted and approved by the State Historical Society of North Dakota as well as the State Board of Higher Education”, a UND announcement claims.

State’s oldest, UND was established in 1883. It serves nearly 15,000 students from 50 states and 85 countries in over 225 fields of study.

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