Saturday, December 08, 2007


I would be a dreadful Buddhist. This makes me kind of sad. I know some great Buddhists. The ones I know are smart, compassionate, and surprisingly calm people. They smile frequently. They are good listeners. I like to think that I have some of those characteristics, but I would still be a rotten Budhist.

I have been thinking these thoughts a lot lately. I'm not sure why. I mean, I have never claimed to be Buddhist nor have I had conversion in mind. So, I don't exactly know where all of this is coming from. It's probably the reading.

I read a lot of Buddhist stuff. Books, articles, blogs. I like reading Buddhist stuff, that is - until it reminds me that I'd be crappy at it. I have attachment issues. Big time. Chronic terminal attachment issues. Here's how this has been going.

I put my daughter to bed. I read a rhyming bedtime story. I sing some songs per request. I rub hair, back, legs per request. I tolerate the not-so-subtle hints that Dada does it better, because I love Dada, too, and can see her point. And then I gaze at her face and fall in love some more and I think, "I wish this moment could last for the rest of my life." Shortly followed by, "I would be a rotten Buddhist."

I have been in the bed more lately due to a seasonal flare-up of my joint problems. I invite my children to join me. My son was upside down in the bed explaining his life philosophy and how I should let him watch more TV. His foot was in my armpit. I picked it up and fell in love some more. And I thought, "This foot is huge. I remember smooching on his newborn toes. He's growing up too fast." And then, of course, "I would be a rotten Buddhist."

I visited a dear friend this afternoon. I have not seen him much this year. His work, my work. He fell in love, had his heart broken - all the usual things that will keep adult friends apart in spite of the fact that they live three blocks from each other. As we were catching up and laughing I worried about how much weight he's lost. I fretted over his decrepid and lovable dog. I wanted to put out an all points bulletin for a new girlfriend. I thought about offering to help paint his house... Bad, bad, rotten Buddhist would I be. Monkey mind indeed.

What put me over the edge, though, was the report from this friend regarding another friend of ours. "More chemotherapy," was all he had to say. My stomach turned over. Twice. And I fell in love with both of them and the stinky dog some more.

If I had to boil down my philosophy of life into simple instructions it would be this non-Buddhist tenant: fall a little bit in love with everyone.

Good philosophy, yes? Based in some pretty sound theology, too. In fact, it is almost Buddhist in its universal regard except...


There's no such thing as "a little bit" in love.


ms. kitty said...

What a pleasure it is to read your posts, Alane!

Kuan Yin's Chalice said...

I am not so sure you are as bad a Buddhist as you might think. Isn't the experience of "I wish this moment or experience could last forever." really a moment of mindfulness? How many times do we look at something like our child's feet and simply gloss over it. That experience brought up the impermanent nature of the world, and how precious each moment is. Buddhism is about paying attention to the present and fully appreciating it for the precious gift that it is. Granted the desire for it to last forever leads to attachment, but the mere fact that you are aware of that desire is a huge step toward mindfulness. Meditation is simply the practice of cultivating the very awareness that you seem to have coming to you already. It sounds like you are a "natural"!