A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Archive for the month “October, 2010”

Halloween, bobbing for apples of wisdom

It’s Halloween today, where the ghouls, goblins and ghosts run around playing tricks and getting treats. I enjoy seeing the smiles on kid’s faces. However it also reminds me, in today’s world we all wear masks and costumes not just today but every day. What we see and hold has become more important than what truly is important. Today relationships are so fragile, we don’t dare reveal the real us. We miss out on the most important parts of having a partner in our life. I say partner not spouse, as in today’s world some of the roles need to be shared in ways that traditional roles don’t cover. There is nothing wrong with the man of the house preparing a meal for the family, or helping with the dishes. Today women are part of the work place; deserve the same pay as a man for doing the same job. So if she is helping to bring in resources to support the family, then it follows the household work needs to be shared as well. Perhaps it’s an appropriate day to consider the masks and costumes we all wear in our daily lives, and which ones we wear out of habit, or if we need a new costume.

Why choose Buddhism now?

Having examined my beliefs I find that the wisdom Buddha expounded 2600 years ago, speaks to my core beliefs in a way no religion does. However I will not call myself a Buddhist until I have taken refuge in the Triple Gems within a Temple. However I will follow the path that Buddha shows us. Looking back at the home life I had growing up, I can now see regardless of the Church we attended, our house followed the rules Buddha gave about families. My father was mainly responsible for providing the income, although my mother worked as well. Within the house mom was in charge, although she asked my dad for his opinion. When it came to housework they both pitched in, as well as ensuring I learnt how to do all the household tasks. It’s was only in the last few years that I truly understand what my dad meant by “If you upset your mother, then she will upset me, then you will be upset”. It was his way of saying within the home he used his authority to support hers.

Watch life or Live it

Today we live with material wealth that even a generation ago could not have been imagined, except perhaps in Science fiction stories, which everyone scoffed at. We have microwave ovens to quickly cook our food. However usually this food is bought prepared, and if we look at the nutritional labels see just how little good is in it. We have smart phones to make it easier to stay in touch 24/7.Does this save us time, or does it make us a slave to answering each voice call or text? We have the internet where we can browse the great museums and art galleries from the comfort of our chair. We miss out on the experience, of travelling to Paris, to visit the Louvre.  Perhaps we don’t experience the changing of the guards in London, just see a Youtube video of someone else’s experience. Watching a video of someone who has undertaken a trip by boat, elephant and horseback to visit an ancient Wat in Thailand is a pale ghost of actually doing it. Granted we can’t experience everything the world has to offer. However only seeing everything on a device robs us of the intangible joys of experiencing these with our family, creating happy memories that will last a life time. The feeling of happiness is like a hour glass with no top or bottom. As bad happens happiness drains out the bottom. By having good experiences with friends and loved ones we deposit more in the top, keeping it filled to survive the draining times.

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