Lets talk a little about Buddhism

...The less I seek my source for some definitive
the closer I am to fine
Indigo Girls

We spend our lives craving for change or 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 way or that. 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. Looking forward. Looking backward. Some of us look to career for identity and fulfillment. Some to raising a family. Some 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 is crashing down on us.

Neat, huh?

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 and lots 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.

It has been my experience and my observation that many of us in the west wrestle with the Eightfold Path, unable to separate the Judeo-Christian view which 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 is also part of why we continue to be uncomfortable in our own skin.

There is a great deal of material to deal with here. Should we continue?


Kelly said…
excellent thoughts here...intriguing me: first the mention of fundamental buddhism--i sat vipassana for 10 quiet days and must say, for the value of the technique and at once the ability to meet myself, and surpass my own limitations with 10 straight days of sitting was without exception. but i went away feeling inwardly warped from the nightly dogma chats.

likewise, i much appreciate your mention of the sublte ways our dualistic perceptions infiltrate all--indeed for me this always harkens me back to my early judeochristian upbringing.

finally, thanks for the reminder to begin, and of course end, within.

be well, tim!
Tim said…
Kelly, you are an unfolding story! Fascinating....