Saturday, April 28, 2012

My book club hasn't met yet to discuss the book we've read but just reading it has kickstarted me into a Buddhist phase.  Aside from that book, I've purchased How to Be Happy by Lama Zopa Rinpoche and The Art of Meditation by Matthieu Ricard.  I visited the Karma Triyana Dharmachakra Monastery, where I took a tour and a meditation class for beginners.  I also bought a mala for practicing meditation - it's only a wrist mala for starting.  I used to have one when I took Hindu meditation classes years ago, and it was the long standard 108-bead mala.  I don't know where it ended up when we moved, but I miss it.

So what's my angle?  I was raised born again Christian, departed from the faith in my early adult life, and remain interested in spirituality but from a safe distance.

I have always been drawn to images of the Buddha because he looks so peaceful.  I tried reading the Buddhist texts years ago but was put off by the idea of detachment.  Buddha taught that we suffer because we are attached to things - people, possessions, etc. - and if we detached from them, we would find peace.  I can understand a healthy detachment from your possessions, but from your family or friends?  That always threw me off and prevented me from taking Buddhism seriously.

Even now, when I meditate, I am not "praying."  Buddhists don't really have a deity they pray to.  The meditation class teacher explained to us that the different bodhisattvas (Tara, etc.) represent different aspects of the mind.  Seems like a religion an intellectual humanist can get into.  

I like the stress management aspect of Buddhism and meditation.  I am so amped up on stress every day of the week.  This is partly my personality and partly my living in one of the most stressful cities in the world :)  Either way, it needs to stop.  These books and practices have been helping me to slow down and calm down.  Breathe a little.  Pay more attention.  I'm not very good at it yet but it takes practice.


Sierra said...

From someone else raised born-again Christian, kudos to you for writing about it and showing your resilience and curiosity. :) I found your blog accidentally through a google search (I reposted that "God is angry" picture on my blog) and just wanted to tell you that you're not alone. You can find me here:
Another couple of good blogs by people who left evangelical/fundamentalist Christianity are:

I learned a little about Buddhism in college and also reacted against the detachment from people thing. I have a friend now who understands Buddhism better than I do who claims that it's more complex than that. But for me, it really just reminded me of being told not to love anything more than God so many times that I actually thought God would strike my best friends dead because I loved them too much.

sojourness said...


Thanks for your comment! I'm checking out your blog right now, and I love that you're also a feminist.

I've had this blog for 7 years, though the last few have been off and on, so it's been a long journey and it's still ongoing. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and following your blog as well.