Sunday, August 22, 2010

Buddhas and Beer, College and Karma: II - Parting is such sweet sorrow

Less than a week until I leave for school again and it's a strange amalgam of feelings. I'm elated and excited to see people I haven't seen for months, enjoy new classes and experiences etc... but I'm also sad to leave the comfort and ease of home during summer, seeing my girlfriend, and laying outside all day. But everything changes eventually!

The Buddha taught extensively on the impermanent nature of phenomena, everything is subject to change, no matter what. Relationships, people, attitudes, ideas, illness, health, failure - a mixed bag it would seem. The good doesn't always stay "good" and the bad doesn't always stay "bad", so we're left in a state of transition. But certainly that means we could never be bored right? Well... no. People are still people, Buddhas and still people, Zen Masters are CERTAINLY still people. So often Buddhas and Zen Masters, even meditators in general are supposed to be those who never fall down or give in to human tendencies. I will give you $50 if you can find a Zen Master who doesn't prefer one food over the other given a choice. Sure, maybe they will care a bit less about what's for dinner, taking everything "as it is", but maybe not. Eastern Idealism has led to one too many brainwashing cults centered around a "guru" figure. I don't intend to perpetuate that.

But I digress. People come and go, relationships start and end, life moves on (but not necessarily forward!) one moment at a time. When things suck and we are caught up in doomsday thoughts, well that'll change. Maybe only for a few minutes before we jump on the hamster wheel again, but certainly we can't be one thing forever, can we? Not young, not old, not conservative, not liberal, all these things are fluid rather than concrete. So time passes and passes again, and as of right now, time passes ever faster as Summer days slide by and the breeze starts to get cooler:

Hot sun drips from the skin,
Heat waves of love and lust,
Must too give way,
To the calm breeze of autumn.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Buddhas and Beer, College and Karma: I

Blogs are pretentious; everyone gets a soapbox and everyone wants theirs to be important. Well when we all have a soapbox we're all just standing on level ground again, aren't we? Blogs are ESPECIALLY pretentious when they're just a bunch of random musings by a person with no particular aim or purpose (like this one). So! I'm going to try to be just a bit less pretentious in the further. Duh duh duh duhhhhhhh! A series!

Before my freshman year in college last summer I started to keep track of college life through a Buddhist lens. Well it failed, I was way to busy drinking and being stupid in general to even consider anything else much less a journal. To make a long story short, I got off the crazy train and started being more responsible with myself. No drinking (hate the taste anyway), a reestablished relationship with my girlfriend (almost two years, put that in your pipe), and a generally more conscientious attitude towards others. And so here I am, at it again.

My history with Buddhism in 60 seconds: Raised nonreligious minus the trips to church on Christmas, fast forward 17 years and I start questioning life and what I believe in. Much reading and learning on different faiths. I receive a copy of The Dhammapada for Christmas and I'm hooked. Read read read read! Find a center 15 minutes away, Tibetan in the Drikung Kagyu lineage. Love it, the sounds, the smells, the people. I take refuge 2 weeks after visiting for the first time! VIOLA A BUDDHIST IS MADE. I read everything I can, go to all the ceremonies, learn all the mantras and mudras, take empowerments from anyone I can. And, like all things, I overload. Too much pressure, expectations, guilt, this that and the other. I become more of a recluse than a human, not wanting to show too much negative emotion because of the Buddha Ideal, perfectly calm and blissed out (more on this and why it was so damn wrong soon). Emotional turmoil. I visit a Zen center and feel like I'm finally walking home. It makes sense, I love the poetry and the aesthetics. No voodoo, no superstition, just you and a cushion. Currently in constant contact with two Soto Zen teachers who seem to think I'm ok at what I do (pffffft, too kind). I sit everyday, regardless of where I am or how I'm feeling.

So there you have it. A bit of me. I'm going to try to make this relevant. Experiences, thoughts, all less ranting than before. Maybe you'll get something out of it!

Gasshoooooooooooo ( a bow) Hope to see you soon