Somebody once said. "When I became a Buddhist, everyone was in an uproar! And now, that I'm a Buddha, so no one seems to mind at all."
So its been interesting that, in order to speak with my Buddhist's friends, at least via my blog, it has most often been via http://tao1776.blogspot.com/ as this has been my catch-all blog. My leanings toward Zen/Taoism/Buddhism...I am here. And to communicate with my Masonic Brethren there is this.
I am not defined by the label, Buddhist, Taoist or Freemason. Labels are but a quick stamp of convention that allow us to be on the same page while communicating. What labels really convey is but a sliver of the whole. But lets talk a little about Buddhism today..
We spend our lives craving for change / craving for things not to change, seeking to be happy; to be satisfied. If only we could do this, have that. Wishing always that we were this or that. Smarter. Thinner. More successful. A list of, "If only". We struggle to balance this craving, this seeking, with an equal amount of aversion; wishing for things to be different than what they appear to be always looking forward. / looking backward. Some of us look to career for identity and fulfillment. Some to raising a family. We may turn to religion or philosophy, trying to figure it all out. Sometimes we are feeling like we're riding high while at times we feel like all of life could come crashing down on us.
Among my life's choices, I turned to religion. I sought, like many others before me, to unravel the mystery of life. To free myself from the disease of tension. To find an inner calm. I remember well the level of discouragement that I experienced during the Christian period of my life. Jesus said that "his yoke was easy, and his burden was light." And that was not my experience. I was constantly reminded that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." It seemed that life was a struggle for self improvement and like Sisyphus, we were doomed to fail and fail again. You always felt under the microscope of heaven knowing that everything was being recorded to be revealed on that final day of judgment. You find yourself in a constant struggle to be better; to try harder. To pray more, read your Bible more, go to church more.
This seeking, this struggle, this aversion is not limited to Christian fundamentalism either. It is all part of This Being Human...
I recall Lawrence Shainberg, in his book Ambivalent Zen stating the seemingly endless futility in seeking that which Zen had to teach: always just beyond the grasp of understanding. In a dizzying tale of the author's quest to learn what Zen was trying to teach, Sahinberg confides in his teacher that he is thinking of giving up on Zen altogether.
....."Everyone want bad feeling to go away, good feeling stay, but you cannot choose. All your decisions emotional. Today much excite, you decide (on giving up on Zen.) Tomorrow, no excite, decision gone!....Listen, Larry-san, sesshin easy! Zazen easy!"
Therein lies the dilemma and that is the meaning behind the oft quoted Zen phrase, If You Meet the Buddha in the Road, Kill Him! What we are seeking is not found in Zen, nor in religion, or in good sex or piles of money. It is found in me.
"Being neither teacher nor guru, and since from the first not a thing is, the most one can do is help point the way. In the end it resides in you."
And Zen is just one more way (and a good one, albeit my opinion) to help us end the struggle with duhkha;
...birth is duhkha, decay is duhkha, sickness is duhkha, death is duhkha, so also are sorrow and grief...To be bound with things which we dislike, and to be parted from things which we like, these also are duhkha. Not to get what one desires, this also is duhkha. In a word, this body, this fivefold aggregation based on clutching (desire/aversion) this is duhkha.
Remember now, that the Buddha, based on the methods of the traditional Vedic physician's way of identifying the disease, the cause, and subsequent treatment established what has become known as the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold path in keeping with Vedic tradition.
It has been my experience and observation that many of us in the west wrestle with the Eightfold Path, unable to separate the Judeo-Christian view that prisms the eightfold path into a system of morality. As such, we separate things into good and bad, right and wrong, etc....and this dualistic thinking / also part of why we continue to be uncomfortable in our own skin.
What say you?