Monday, July 14, 2008

Monday, Monday

Nothing much to report today, aside from the fact that I actually accomplished some of the things I had set out to do this past weekend! I managed to make it to both the Buddhist meditation center and kung fu on Sunday. Had an interesting time at both.

The Buddhist session opened with a period of silent meditation in which we were asked to contemplate why we were there. The leader chuckled, saying that there were many, many spiritual places we could choose to be on any given Sunday, so why did we choose to show up at a Tibetan Buddhist center?

Dang good question, if you ask me. And I was stumped. I know that I'm searching for something, that the answers that I previously believed are no longer working, given what I've seen and lived through thus far in my 38 years of life. But aside from that nebulous notion, I have no idea why I'm attracted to something as alien as Buddhism. One would think that I'd start attending a Unitarian-Universalist congregation, because they are much closer to the denomination I called home for so long. But no, like Bugs Bunny did in so many cartoons, I've decided to take a right turn at Albuquerque!

So there you go, and there I was. Some of the aspects of the (service? meditation period?) still seem odd to me, such as reciting the mantras so fast that it sounds like a charismatic ecstatic outburst. Then there's my ongoing desire to pin someone down on who or what are all these deities whose pictures are painted all over the place. I cornered the leader after the session today and he basically said that they are archetypes which symbolize ideal attributes (wisdom, compassion, etc.). To some extent, they serve the same purpose as saints in the Catholic tradition - they are intercessors. On the other hand, at some point they are imagined to merge with the meditator, so that the person takes in those seemingly divine attributes. Like I said, I'm still working on that part. Suffice to say that the radical monotheist in me is still kicking and screaming, to some extent. Still, the people are nice, and stressing the importance of improving all three aspects of life - physical, mental, and spiritual - of all humanity, is very important to me. Also, despite having the aforementioned plethora of deities, none of those deities were actively sought out. There was a mantra of Manjushri, but nothing more was said about him or the mantra.

I'm going to write my old spiritual direction mentor, who coincidentally converted from Catholicism to Tibetan Buddhism, and see what he has to say. So we'll see.

I also made it to my kung fu class, for the first time in over a week (possibly two). It went so-so; I didn't learn anything really new. I'm going to email my instructor and talk about things. My concern is that since I only have 3 years in this area before One Ring goes job hunting with a brand spanking new Ph.D., I have this desire to really push myself and learn as much as possible. So we'll see what we can do. Obviously showing up for class is a good first step!

Okay, got to head to a meeting, then loads of spiritual assessments. Happy, happy, joy, joy!

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