Thursday, July 3, 2014

I want to be a Buddhist

There must have been a time when I wanted to be a Buddhist. I say this with some assurance and yet cannot remember when it was or what it was like. I infer it from other adventures in which I was once an enthusiastic beginner and, well, you know, wanted to be counted as part of the club or membership or clan or whatever.

At that time, I imagine, I thought that the acknowledgment of others, whether personal or by way of some ritualized stepping stones, would do the trick. I needed to accumulate the requisite stamps of approval and then at last I would be -- and could be assured that I was -- a Buddhist. Up until that time, I was sort of a Buddhist in waiting -- doing what I could, but still lacking some seal of approval.

But as time passed, it became clearer: Being a Buddhist was not entirely based on what you did and it was certainly not based entirely on what you said. You could believe your socks off, crank up the compassion voltage, or collect paradoxes without end and ... and that wasn't quite it ... so what the hell was it?

Now, of course, I don't really have an answer for all this. But I don't like playing the sloppy-seconds card that declines a label because, well, you know, labels are uh-oh.  Labels are as useful or useless as no-labels, so we can let that one slide.

Even if there were an answer for all of this, I doubt that it would improve a cup of coffee. The best I can come up with is that I am a Buddhist if that's what you'd like me to be ... but sometimes not, as well.

Knowing you're a Buddhist....

Not knowing if you're a Buddhist....



  1. I used to be a determined and proud xtian, i was a kid and hadn't read the book yet. After i read the book i became a determined and proud pagan, it flummoxed some, irritated others, and didn't restrict my options more than i was willing to live with. Now, having learned something about buddhism, i find i agree with a lot of what the old man said. I try to sit as he sat to confirm for myself. But if you want to call me a buddhist, just say i'm into zen. Somehow that feels less restricted than the broader label. How backwards is that. lol

  2. "Even if there were an answer for all of this, I doubt that it would improve a cup of coffee." I was literally swallowing a gulp from my second morning cup as I read this bit. Gets me to seeing the futility and fun of searching Zen sites during my morning waking rituals. Headphones on with tear-jerking music, guzzling sweet java, beachcombing for pearls. Looking out there, living in here. Thanks for the pearls.

  3. After 50 years of "Zen".... I don't know what I am... and I don't care! I have a big dog who loves me... and I love him. Oh, and I LOVE coffee!

  4. What is this? All is mind. What is this mind? What does that matter? Fuck if i know. Leave me alone with that shit. I have dogs who are always glad to see me up and out of the house. A cat who thinks i should get it together. Livestock who like the forage but can't quite trust me. And a house full of folks who take care of me as i'm their guarantee for this living arrangement. So i try to reassure those who feel my presence in needful and growl at the cat to mind it's own business. I like sunsets from a porch swing and wouldn't cross the street for a walk on the beach. My humor is an acquired taste. I'm a real catch, get your orders in early.