More often than not, we think of using Assistive Listening Systems during loud sporting events, concerts, and at movie theaters to hear the latest blockbuster sound effects. The members of the Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley, however, have proven that Assistive Listening helps them during a different activity. They use Assistive Listening to help them meditate.
How it’s being used
James Baraz has been guiding meditation at the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery since 1980. Each week the group meets from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. to meditate, connect, and discuss dharma. The group was founded on a basis of dana, which is the principle of generosity and sharing. In other words, the core idea is to develop an ability to care, realize a connection between all, and share what you have with each other. These are important messages to hear, which is exactly why Listen Technologies and an Assistive Listening System came into the picture.
When asked what prompted the group to add Assistive Listening equipment, Jim Levine, one of the devoted volunteer members on the planning committee stated, “Our Community, or Sangha, at the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery has been meeting for many decades. Over the years we’ve seen many young folks join us and see some of our membership age. A few of our older members were in need of help, because of their aging ears; we didn’t want to lose them.”
That is when Jim started his research. As one of the technical members of the planning committee that frequently organizes events like cleaning the shores of San Francisco Bay, potlucks, birding adventures, and bike rides through the area, Jim took it upon himself to research what types of technology were available to help their aging members. “I started to evaluate the different kinds of systems that were available online. Quality, price, bandwidth, ease of installation, and suggestions from other spiritual centers were some of the questions that needed to be answered.”
At this point, Jim found Listen Technologies. A RF System was sent to the monastery to try out for 30 days with no obligation to purchase. After using the system, they ended up purchasing it from ProAVMax. “It was very timely and easy to set up,” Jim said. “In the end, it proved to be exactly what we were looking for.” Now the members of the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery who need Assistive Listening can continue to meditate and hear the important concepts behind the principle of dana.