Zen Spot #162 — Mindfulness, meditation and coming to terms with not being a Buddhist February 22, 2018 00:05
To be serious
I believe religion should be fun and, if not fun, the practice should actively and unmistakably make the world around the practitioner smile. The joy should not be reserved. Too, it should not be evangelistic. Any conversion should come from an obvious contentment on behalf of the practitioner. In this world, rules and dogma are the exception, and an inside-out worldview is confusing to the point of absurdity. Perhaps most importantly, the ability to exclude, either literally, metaphorically, explicitly, implicitly or suggestively is a Commandment, the result of breakage being that nothing at all happens, with the possible exception of joy and peace of mind being placed two inches beyond the reach of those who exclude.
Reading — the esoteric, the obvious and the repetitive
I put the last book down having decided that there was little to be gained from more reading on the subject of Buddhism. An astute, well read tenth grader can, after one month of study, practice effectively. Esoteric details have become impenetrable — they bounce off my interior skull.
To be sure, practice is critical, with practice based on a belief in the precepts being simple, if not easy. The submission that a kindergartner has the precepts built in to their wiring isn’t crazy.
I am uncomfortable in group practice. Driven perhaps by the belief that there is no mothership onto which a group can embark that will carry them to the same arrival point, group practice seems to be a manifest exercise in flies buzzing around a rotten banana or children circling a birthday cake.
Being more comfortable alone, I yearn for a welcoming community in which to participate and contribute. My comfort with solitude has been trained into me. Shame helps, but I simply don’t trust most people to actually share their truth any more than I believe they will share their capital. I trust them to exclude, with the Buddhists I have met providing few exceptions. To that end, perhaps the exclusion is practical and the lack of truthfulness understandable. We all come into this life alone, all leave alone and, in one sense, all practice alone. Accept this submission, and truthfulness becomes an irrelevant idea in the cargo hold of the non-existent mothership.
It is easy to be corrected about one’s understanding of The Path. Opinions abound, grounded more in a layman’s feeling their way along a rocky beach, in pitch blackness, where the ocean can be heard in the distance, in 360 degrees, than in certainty.
Conversely, the knowledge available from a monk’s leadership is as distant from my ability to learn as is my ability to win a marathon. I listen. I understand. I train. Winning is an impossibility in this life without total immersion and commitment, for which I simply don’t have the time. And, yes, I am comfortable with the idea of winning the effort to transcend.
Clarity and mindfulness present themselves, at times, in a mind that once couldn’t present them. Daily commitment works because it works. I believe I am not alone. The struggle to find the mothership unites. Exclusion and fear pervade. Shame is not uncommon. Sometimes rotten bananas and birthday cake coax forth the ego. Darkness feels different to everyone. Truth is a moving target if one is always learning.
I will never get there. I will get there. I am not what I say I am. I am what I say I am. I am not a Buddhist. I am a Buddhist.
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What are The Four Noble Truths?
- The truth of suffering
- The truth of the origin of suffering
- The truth of the cessation of suffering
- The truth of the path to the cessation of suffering
What is The Noble Eightfold Path?
- Right view
- Right intention
- Right action
- Right speech
- Right livelihood
- Right effort
- Right mindfulness
- Right concentration
What is a Dharma Wheel?