There is more than one way to be a Buddhist. You don’t have to become a monk or a Bikkhu. Nor is it necessary to reject all forms of materialism or live as a recluse with no personal possessions, I’ve seen plenty of monks and lama with iPhones. Buddhism is often described as being more a philosophy than a religion, and this is true in so far as Buddhism shows us a way to live a better life, a life that recognises and shows us how to understand and deal with our own “suffering” without visiting a “church” every week, and confessing our sins to an all powerful creator in the hope of everlasting life. The Ancient Greeks sought and followed a similar path, such as Epicurus and his “garden” or Plato and his virtue based concept of ethics.
My own journey through Buddhism began with marrying Dr C, then spending a great deal of time in Kathmandu. It continued with retreats, reading, and imaginary conversations with Buddha especially in times of difficulty and personal despair. Some of these conversations are related as posts in this Collection. They are not presented here in chronological order of writing but in the order that a detached reader may most enjoy them. The heavier stuff begins at #6 and for some of you this may be the start point. Click any title to read the post.
1. Political Correctness With Buddha and Voltaire
Buddha and Voltaire engage with us in a conversation about tolerance of other people’s beliefs and views, freedom of speech and the undermining of democracy through a wave of political correctness. Read more ….
Buddha and Cicero discuss “old age” with us and explore Cicero’s top 10 musings on old age Read more ….
Happiness is central to politics and government in Bhutan with their focus on Gross National Happiness rather than GDP. Read more ….
Imagine if your ancestors could be transported forward in time to the present day. What would you discuss with them, your life and times or theirs? What would they make of the era in which we currently live, how would they understand television, what would they make of pizza or ready meals generally, what would their opinions be of Twitter or Facebook? We discuss this possibility with our old friend Buddha in the wine bar. Read more …..
Dr B and Buddha discuss the mantra and meditation process for invoking The Medicine Buddha in seeking personal and universal freedom from pain, disease and suffering. Read more ….
Something had changed WITHIN our small family of a married couple with two young children. Conversations had changed, tolerance had increased, “appreciation” of simpler things in our lives had changed such as mealtimes, growing our own vegetables, going for walks. Read more ….
When I first decided to fully commit to living my life to a set of Buddhist ideals, I began by reading about the key elements as I described in #1 of this series, and then poured myself into meditation. I bought CDs and listened to them over and over giving me the basics plus a stepwise “easy to follow” sequence, increasing in length and with a changing focus. Sometimes the focus was on breathing, sometimes on a single colour ….. no object just a colour, sometimes on a particular flower, sometimes on a favourite place. Each time one had to “empty” ones mind, blank everything out for a minute or two, then concentrate only on the specific item or area of focus. But, it just didn’t work for me at all, something wasn’t right. There was no Buddhism involved, no Buddha Nature to the experience as I used meditation to escape my grief, and that was the heart of the problem. Read more ….
I ended the retreat with a far greater clarity overall plus these two major concepts in my head, the issue of impermanence, and the issue of how we allow our minds to control us rather than the other way around. And so I now had two Buddhist “things” to learn more about and incorporate into my meditation. It was a start, a new start and better than the previous start. Read more ….
My wife’s family name is Tuladhar, and this is a “sub group” of the Newar caste of people who were the original inhabitants of the entire Kathmandu Valley. The Tuladhars predominate in the Ason area at the heart of Kathmandu City where I have rather a lot of relatives! The Tuladhar grouping are entirely Buddhist and so every ritual event I have experienced has been Buddhist; a 7 day long wedding, a welcome into the family, a child “coming of age”, a lama blessing for our mountaineering expeditions, the family gobaju (priest) blessing our U.K. education team on arrival, a safe passage blessing each time we departed Kathmandu for England. Read more ….