Saturday, May 12, 2012

the comfortable old sweater effect

Every time I think that Buddhism has finally taken its long-promised leave, it seems to crop up again in one form or another.

Today on the peace picket line, for example, I got to talking with Bill, a former teacher and former city councilor. We gabbed about movies and then somehow segued around to Buddhism, maybe because I mentioned in passing that a high school student with a "Buddhism" paper due was planning to come here tomorrow morning to gather information. Because he seemed mildly curious, I gave him a zendo card with the web site address on it.

Later in the day, with the house emptied as my wife and son went to spend Mother's Day with her mother, there was a surprise note from a long-ago Zen friend with whom I had gone through some discombobulating times. My mistakes rose up mixed with regret. But they whispered now even as they had roared then. Yup, I fucked up and since Buddhism had been part of the mix, there it was again: Buddhism.

Buddhism: So much of my life was devoted to it in one way or another ... sometimes, as for nine years, fiercely; sometimes, as more often lately, in some discussion with a friend about one aspect or another; and sometimes just in passing, as with high school students who have homework assignments.

None of these pop-up reminders is any more or less serious than the other, but I do find that now it's now a bit like Mondays around here ... time to put the trash out for collection. Of course I do it ... how could I not? But the fiery import seems to have dimmed: After I put out the trash, I put the dishes in the dishwasher ... it's just stuff that needs doing and will probably need doing again. You wanted Buddhism? Well, you got it ... and there were no returns or trade-ins. It's not that serious in the wider scheme of things.

How strange, in one sense, to have been positively bowled over by something and then it just turns into a comfortable and perhaps ratty old sweater. Hello old friend, how're you doing?

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