Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Personal Interlude

I do not meditate. I do not practice. I am not part of a sangha nor do I call myself a Buddhist.

I don't believe any of the above excludes me from having a deep and sustained interest in Buddhist issues. But inevitably, with my interest in Tibetan Buddhism, the questions arise. Do you meditate? Do you practice? And so forth. Some day I might. I believe I should, simply for the regularity of it and for the mental and physical benefits that I know practice and meditation create.

From my first introduction to a Tibetan Buddhist temple, I have been fond of the spaces created in honor of the dharma. I simply loved the colors and energy of the space. I grew to learn more about very specific elements that are integral to Tibetan Buddhist architecture and acknowledge that in that sense I still have much to learn about it's design. About the philosophy and practice, clearly I could not be so interested in the space without being interested in the intent behind it.

I may speak with a blatant humility when I post about Buddhist issues and concepts simply because it is clearly obvious that I am not an expert. But I find that with a sustained exploration of Buddhist issues in my daily life, the world is different. Even more interesting. My angle on human behavior transformed.

I have come to this path and experienced this same feeling before. It has been a few years since I have delved into the Buddhist realm, which is manifest on so many levels and approachable in so many ways today. My very movement in life has been studded with impermanence and now, now I am married to a Captain in the US Army. In a strange twist of interest, my return to Buddhist studies brings to light a path that can serve as not only a coping mechanism, but something much more in my psyche. In the past, Buddhist texts have helped me cope with thoughts on the experience of death, this being critical in that I have experienced little death in my life, but this is an inevitable event for all.

Non-violence is equally a core of many Buddhist teachings. I find this useful but also turn to the fact that Buddhist history is replete with wars and military support of religious sects. No religion that I know of has been without war, waged both on it's own terms as well as being subject to another's force. Studying the history of violence of human beings is essential to understand how violence itself arouses.

While I often post in reverence to Tibetan Buddhist concepts, practices and masters, my thought is that yes, even religion can be dangerous. Religion and war have been intertwined throughout human history. Part of my own personal quest, in the teachings of the Vajrayana, are to understand how this can be overcome.

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