27 June 2010

Is work a religion?

Is work my current religion? It's another beginning as all consuming as Hinduism or Buddhism was: new rites and rituals, a foreign language, obscure terms, ceremonial dress, even spiritual leaders although I doubt they think of themselves that way. I hadn't really thought about it before, but a workplace unifies around a core belief or set of beliefs and then the people in it struggle - sometime constructively and sometimes not - to act on those beliefs.

Three and a half months in to this new day job and I'm still learning when to bow or not to bow, and it's every bit as uncomfortable as being in a Mandarin-only retreat in polyester in July. And I'd like to say I'm better for all of my years of practice but, right now, that really is a big fat lie.

09 May 2010

What to do?

So have you noticed I haven't been round these parts for a while? I'm not loving it, I must say. Turns out I haven't figured a way to help pay for two boys to go to college while working on The Heathen fulltime.

I never set out to write a blog. Several years ago, when I was confused by the believers at war with each other all over the globe, I set out to learn what each of the seven* major religious traditions teaches its newcomers, its potential converts. I was no longer willing to remain on the sidelines, ignorant.

I am still confused and I am still unwilling to just let it go. But I began this blog when it became apparent to me that this task was going to take at least three more years and it seemed a shame to go on that long alone, without sharing the ride, without company and feedback. I guess I also had some hope that, by going this public, I might figure out a way to support The Heathen and my sons' college educations....not so easy to do when allowing advertizing seems wrong and other potential support eludes me.

So I write this to say that I've taken a new job, one that will take most of the summer to sort out. I'll catch The Heathen up to where I actually am - "finished" Hinduism and Buddhism - but I am going to take the next couple of months to consider whether or not to continue with a public blog or to take it down and continue it in private until my effort is complete.

* as identified by Huston Smith in his seminal work The World's Religions.

08 January 2010

Brit Hume, Tiger Woods, and Faith

This whole dust up confuses me.

First, in every Buddhist temple I've been in, they have regular atonement ceremonies that are central to the practice. At the Zen Center of Los Angeles, every time you sit, you begin with the Gatha of Atonement:

All evil karma ever committed by me since of old,
on account of my beginingless greed, anger, and ignorance,
born of my body, speech and mind,
now I atone for it all.
Second, Buddhist concepts include "right speech" and "not speaking of others' errors and faults."

I think all of us could benefit from considering this wisdom every time we open our mouths.

Finally, comments about the superiority of one religion over another serve only as further evidence for people like my mother and father that religious practice leads only to dissension and conflict.