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genkaku Veteran


Northampton, Mass. U.S.A.
Last Active
Northampton, Mass. U.S.A.
  • Re: Heart Failure to Buddhism

    Welcome @lookingforlight. Hope you find something useful here. Besides your reading adventures, I suggest you take up a small agenda of meditation. In this way, what is called Buddhism will not become a crystal slipper you feel you must adhere to and care for like some Cinderella. Get it straight from the beginning: Without you, Buddhism would not exist. This is quite literally true, so relax and lay off any thoughts of what is "natural" or "unnatural." You are who you are and who you are is not different from Buddhism in a single particular. If you die tomorrow or in 50 years ... still this is true. So relax and make friends with your good friend.

    How and what to practice. I come out of a Zen tradition and thus favor the simplest possible approach. What could be simpler than the breath? Without it, we'd all be dead. So, here is a pretty straight-forward description of how and what to do: It's got some Buddhist gobblety-gook, but I think you can read through it and get the drift: Sit down, erect the spine, sit still, shut up, and count or watch the breaths coming and going ... one to ten and begin again. If you think this would bore the pants off a wet cat, you'd be right. Do it anyway. One to ten and begin again. For starters, maybe 10 or fifteen minutes is enough. Use an egg timer. More is not necessarily better: Just decide what to do and then do it. Every day at a time that is convenient to your schedule. If you skip a day, don't say, "I had to wait for the plumber and couldn't do it." Say rather, "I choose not to sit today." That is enough. Make a promise, keep a promise. Every day. Once finished, get up and go about your daily chores. At the end of a week, review your meditation experience. Was it too much? Was it too little? Revise your schedule as you -- you, the only Buddhist in this equation -- see fit. Meditate when exhilarated. Do it when bored stupid ... or scared or laughing or ... do it anyway.

    Read anything you like. Learn to talk "Buddhist" if need be. But keep after the meditation. This is your life, your breath, your Buddha. It's plain as Middle C on a piano ... just one note, clear as a bell. Bit by bit Buddhism won't need to be special or holy or natural or unnatural. Hell, it's just you ... and you're doing fine. Any school, any text, any temple, any teacher .... your breath comes with you wherever you go.

    And never forget the words that I got from a fellow Zennie ... "I'd like to die with a smile on my face, but I guess I'll take what I get."

    All best wishes.

  • Re: East meets west...HELP!

    Everyone suffers in or out of uniform.

    I once corresponded with a military chaplain about the moral ambiguity of his profession. If his highest authority said "thou shalt not kill," how did that square up with his profession within a military charged, when all is said and done, with killing?

    He admitted to the paradox and then went back to the sheer humanity of the suffering any individual might encounter ... and his potential to ameliorate that discomfort.

    There is no profession or faith or belief system or human construct that does not carry its most mortal enemies within.

  • Re: How to die

    When it comes to dying, a buddy of mine had the last word when he wrote, "I'd like to die with a smile on my face, but I guess I'll take what I get."

  • Re: zen

    Assuming you mean zazen, you might try,

    If you're looking to assert your ascendancy, have a hotdog.

  • Re: What are your 'wow' moments in Buddhism?

    Not to be a wet blanket, but of my own wowser moments I remember and cherish and can retail from time to time, perhaps the most compelling was the recognition that arose after the wowser. It was then, in the quiet after-space, that I realized I was compelled to integrate what was knock-me-on-my-ass special into a life I had previously considered somehow un-special or ignorant or brush-my-teeth ordinary.

    Special stuff lights my fire, warms my heart, encourages and propels me, perhaps, but who is this critter who assumes there is a time without fire. So ... after having had my socks blown off (honestly-- yummy!), there was also the time to put my socks back on.

    Oh well ....