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Buddhism and Me. 
4th-Dec-2011 07:14 pm

This is a series of posts that I wouldn’t be making if someone hadn’t asked me to, because I believe – and not without reason – that my religion / faith / practice, however you frame it, is a personal matter. And while there’s absolutely no reason not to share it with people who asked, it’s not really something that should be foisted unannounced into a personal blog without context.

In other words, my Buddhist practice isn’t a thing to evangelise, and far as I’m concerned, it should only be talked about if someone asks. And people have, so I’m finally getting around to writing it.

The other factor is that I’m not an expert, and I never will be an expert on the complete Dharma, or even the practice of the next person along who calls themselves Buddhist or tries to follow the same path. I am not culturally embedded in any Buddhist context, and a lot of what I say is true only to me. I may say things that are vastly untrue for other people, which come as a result of my exploration and finding my own path. I should never be taken as any kind of authority, here.

So with that in mind, and for anyone who is curious just on how I frame my Practice, let me introduce to you my bracelet:

A photograph of a beaded bracelet on a white background.


A couple of years ago, I asked Li to make me a bracelet I could carry around with me daily to remind me of my practice. She did, and I know it was beautiful because she put her friendship with me into every bead. But then it was lost in the post, so it wasn’t until this Thanksgiving weekend that we were able to sit down and make me a new one. It’s sort of, but not quite, like a 21-bead mala (notwithstanding the fact that there are 27 beads) in that way that every bead has a specific meaning, to me, and my practice. Which is why talking you through the beads on my bracelet would be a bit like talking you through my Practice.

Most of the beads are of a similar size and made of garnet: there’s no significance to this, I just like real stones and dark colours, and I want to be able to feel my way around the bracelet without looking. The five larger, individual beads are something else and I’ll talk about them in a later post.

A close of of a spherical garnet bead at the end of a bracelet

And the very first bead?

That just means that we are ready to begin.


(next: The Three Refuges)

This post can also be found at Thagomizer.net. Feel free to join in the conversation wherever you feel most comfortable.

5th-Dec-2011 12:20 am (UTC)
Although I'm not one of those who asked, I thought I would comment anyway to say that I am reading and interested. Thank you in advance for sharing something so very personal.
5th-Dec-2011 12:38 am (UTC)
Thank you and you're welcome. I appreciate knowing that people are interested. It makes the sharing easier. :)
5th-Dec-2011 12:46 am (UTC)

This is relevant to my interests! Also that bracelet is gorgeous.
5th-Dec-2011 01:45 am (UTC)

Thank you. It was a lot of fun to put together.
5th-Dec-2011 01:12 am (UTC)
I'd like to add another to I didn't ask but I am interested in learning.
5th-Dec-2011 01:46 am (UTC)
Good to know. Thanks for telling me.
5th-Dec-2011 09:16 am (UTC)
Me, me! I didn't ask but I absolutely want to know!
5th-Dec-2011 01:32 pm (UTC)
5th-Dec-2011 10:42 am (UTC)
I am really very glad that you are writing this, and I find it extremely interesting. I'm having--not a crisis of faith, but a crisis of religion, and reading about how others relate to religion or philosophy or spirituality is somehow comforting, in addition to being educational and just an area of interest for me.
5th-Dec-2011 01:35 pm (UTC)
I am glad.

The funny thing is, when I see people having crises of religion, I sometimes want to share "this was helpful for me," but it's such a personal thing that I don't want to imply that "and therefore it'll work for you," because that's never true.

So all the best in finding your own path.
5th-Dec-2011 05:11 pm (UTC)
*nods* I do understand, and there are still parts of both my spiritual (and I guess religious) life that help me, and I have the same sort of feeling about talking about them to people who are going through their own...conflicts, I guess?

Speaking only for myself, though--who else can i speak for, anyway?--when I see something like this, or someone offers to share what was helpful to them...well,
a) I appreciate the intent, as always, and am honored and grateful that they are willing to share that with me
b) This IS an area of interest to me, from a sort of academic point of view, as well as others, and so I love to learn more, but also
c) there's a great comfort in knowing that SOMETHING worked for that person, that they found a path and the way that works for them to bring them to Grace and Light; sort of, "If they found their way(s), I'll find mine".

And the thing is, with spirituality being so different than religion--you never know what sentence or phrase you'll come across that will bring a flash of insight or a glimpse into something greater than yourself, or even serve as an icon, of sorts, and further enhance your own journey. No two paths are identical, but I truly believe everyone, no matter how different the paths may be, is looking for the same source (or destination, or both), and that in sharing what aspects we can and are comfortable with we increase the chance of helping each other further along as well as helping ourselves in the same way.

...That got long. Sorry. >< I've been thinking about things related to just this for a long time; perhaps I should make my own post, or posts.

And I thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
5th-Dec-2011 06:15 pm (UTC)
Count me as another who didn't ask -- I know what works for me, by and large, so it always feels kind of intrusive to ask someone else what works for them, when they're not volunteering it and I'm not looking for suggestions -- but is interested nonetheless! I'm always interested in how other people interact with and view these things, especially my friends. :) So I'll be reading gladly.
5th-Dec-2011 08:05 pm (UTC)
Oh I love it when I feel ready to begin.

Thank you for talking about this.
5th-Dec-2011 08:21 pm (UTC)
Are you sitting comfortably?

Are you Anglicized enough to understand the reference?

Are you as tickled as I am by the irony of me spelling 'anglicized' with a Z?
5th-Dec-2011 08:26 pm (UTC)
I am, and I am :)

I read this comment out to Andrew and of course said the "Z" as "Zee". I suppose you're still anglicized enough to call it a zed?
5th-Dec-2011 08:33 pm (UTC)
It... depends, actually. I think I have both in my mind, and whichever one I use depends on the situation.

I'd use Z in the ABC song, for example, if I didn't hate the last two lines of the American version "double-yoo, eeehx, why and zed," has a nicely terminal sound to it.
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