Hyphenated SUUFers

Many congregants in the Sedona Unitarian Universalist Fellowship draw deeply on two (or more) spiritual traditions. They “hyphenate” their religious identity.  For example, SUUF has quite a few UU-Buddhists.

Some of them brought Buddhist practices into their Unitarian Universalist faith journey, and others expanded their engagement with Buddhism to include participation in SUUF, where their “both/and” path is welcomed.

In fact, across the USA, several UU clergy are UU-Buddhists.  For example, Rev. Terry Sims, recently retired from the Unitarian Universalist Church in Surprise, Arizona, said “It seems unlikely to me that any one tradition in one part of the world at one time can contain everything worth knowing for all cultures and times. The danger lies not in exploring elsewhere, any more than it lies in sticking close to home…Many of us have learned a lot from Buddhist teachings, while maintaining our Unitarian Universalist identity and faith.”

Rev. Kathleen McGregor wrote, “I was entranced by the Buddhist metaphor of Indra’s net, which cradles a jewel at each intersection of its infinite strands, so that any tiny change in one jewel is reflected in every single other jewel. This beautifully represents the core Unitarian Universalist principle of honoring the “interdependent web of all existence.”

Rev. Patrice Curtis, from Unitarian Universalists of Clearwater, Florida, said, “In the last several years, the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhất Hạnh have encouraged Westerners to practice Buddhist meditation, but not cut themselves off from their religious roots. I now joyfully embrace my identity as a humanist Unitarian Universalist with a Zen Buddhism-inspired meditation practice.”

[published August 18, 2023]