Greetings, all. I have been M.I.A. from this wonderful site for a long while now. I offer up — upon my occasional return — this piece I just posted in the November 2022 issue of my web magazine, WestVirginiaVille.com. Titled "THE OUTHOUSE: When you have to go, you have to go," it recounts an oddball tale from my many days and nights at the Bhavana Society, the Theravada Buddhist Monastery and retreat center in the back hills of West Virginia, and the backstory of a Buddhist outhouse on a hillside on its grounds.
The piece gets into my own struggles — in an unvarnished way — with Right Speech. I am trying to find a grittier, closer-to-the-ground, and more realistic way of writing as a lay person about the challenges of spiritual practice in daily life. Something that might find an audience different from the often precious, la-di-da writing about Buddhist practice and mindfulness, often couched in Hallmark greeting card language — especially given how terribly hard it is to root out the hindrances. The struggle continues!
PS: Apologies in advance for anyone offended by the piece's uncensored language. Please note the postscript about what Bhante Yogavacara Rahula — who built the Buddhist outhouse featured in this memoir — is doing. After his many peregrinations in the high, cold places of the world, he is now director and principal teacher at the Paññāsīha Lion of Wisdom Meditation Center in Gaithersburg, Maryland.