Racing is what I did for a living. I raced to get to the swimming pool. I raced in the water. I raced to get my homework finished. I raced against my classmates for the best grade. When I sat down to rest, my thoughts raced. I watched fast paced movies, gorging on violence, sex, bodies crashing into each other, and the noise of gunfire. None of this was real, but it was a reflection of the reality of some parts of our world, certainly parts of my own mind, and so it felt real, and I felt connected to others through that “tele – vision.” Yet like Prince Siddhartha prior to seeing the four sights (a sick man, a senile man, a corpse and a sage), I knew there was something missing.
A prejudice mind is one that is experiencing fluctuations. It is the opposite of steady. When our mind is not steady, we know we are not seeing reality as it is. But this insight into our fluctuating mind only comes if we have a practice well established. Otherwise, we filter what we perceive through our confused senses as reality. We think what we are seeing is real, when in fact we are mistaking a distortion for reality.
I was struggling with the fact that altars in my mind always had crosses on them, not Buddhas. When I approached altars in church, it was a sacred event, and it was almost always to receive the Eucharist from a priest, and to say a prayer to Jesus. Would God punish me for getting this close to a Buddha statue and a Buddhist priest? When I look back on this event today, it’s a totally ridiculous question to me now, but at that moment my fears were real and stemmed from teachings about not worshiping idols.
“How did you feel about transferring from one religion to another? Have you found any conflicts between the two religions? What have you learned from Zen Buddhism in contrast to Catholicism?” These were questions asked of me by a student in my World Religions class at the Des Moines Area Community College. I hope thatContinue reading ““Conversion” to Buddhism”
“Beyond Mountains are more mountains” is a Haitian saying. This proverb does not only accurately depict the Haitian landscape, but also the inner landscape of our lives. We all have ups and downs, just like the mountains’ slopes. There is no end to the highs and lows of our lives. Haitians know this all tooContinue reading “Haiti is a Great Teacher”
Dharma gates are boundless, I vow to enter them. Children have been by far my best teachers. Jesus said that if we can learn to have the mind of a child, then we will enter the kingdom of heaven. The child’s mind is open, receptive, and sincerely curious about life. When sitting zazen, Dai-En Roshi wouldContinue reading “A Dharma Doorway”
“You can do anything you want in your life, but you have to know the price for it and be willing to pay it.” -Mrs. Featherston