Archive for the ‘religion’ Category

If hell is other people, what is heaven?

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

smiley-face buttonMy cousin sent me a special gift for Christmas. I just got it yesterday.

It’s a smiley-face mug, because she says my mother loved the whole smiley-face thing, and a three page letter. Two paragraphs are about how much she loved my mother, and a couple of memories of her, including one in which she swears my mother, in a hospital miles away, whispered “good-bye” to her at the moment she died.

The rest is about how my cousin got “saved.” All you have to do is admit that you’re unworthy, that nothing you can do can ever make you worthy, and that Jesus is the only truth; and you get to go to heaven where “every desire will be fulfilled.” She doesn’t want to get there, see (and she knows, of course, that she’s going to heaven), and have my mother say, “Where’s my daughter? Didn’t you tell her?”

Because otherwise I’d be completely unaware of the whole Jesus thing, I suppose.

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Why Zen?

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

Photo by markg6Absurdbeats asked, why Zen over other forms of Buddhism?

This one’s easy. In the following, understand that I’m talking about Buddhism mainly as seen in the US.

There are two basic kinds of Buddhism: Mahayana and Theravada. Mahayana means “Greater Vehicle” and is meant for everybody, including monastic and regular people. Theravada used to be called Hinayana by the Mahayanists, only the Theravadists didn’t like that, because it means “Smaller Vehicle.” I don’t think they meant it as an insult; they only meant that Theravada Buddhism was a practice meant for monks, for people willing to shut themselves away in a monastery and not engage fully in human life, e.g.,  marriage, family, working, etc. And oh yeah, women couldn’t join.

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Why I am a Buddhist, part 2

Monday, March 9th, 2009
Most cats are Buddhists.

Most cats are Buddhists.

(Part 1 here.)

I went abroad for junior year, so no more meditating with the professor and his group. I tried to do it on my own, with miserable results. I’ve dealt with major depression all of my life (my mother’s death, mostly). Sitting down alone and focusing on my breath while suffering from untreated depression was A Big Mistake. ‘Nuff said.

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Why I am a Buddhist, part 1

Monday, February 23rd, 2009
Daibutsu, Great Buddha in Kamakura, Japan

Daibutsu, Great Buddha in Kamakura, Japan

Calling myself a Buddhist makes me uncomfortable. In a way, that’s why I became one.

Let’s see if I can be a little less obtuse.

My search for ultimate meaning started early. My mother was diagnosed with leukemia, and died just before my fifth birthday. The adults around me did their best to explain and to console me, but not much of what they said about death – and where exactly my mother had gone – made any sense to me. God? Heaven? Angels? You die, and somehow you end up in this really nice place where everyone you ever loved eventually shows up too, and then you spend eternity there. But, you have to earn it.

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