Hello? Is anybody out there?
I was sure my blog post Spiritual Life would bring in a flood of comments; so was Caroline. True, it wasn’t that profound, but we thought it was at least provocative; while it did express some of my thoughts I was more interested in yours, dear reader. I guess mine just weren’t radical enough.
Or, could it be that I make so much sense that you all just agree with me? God, you’re not just being polite, are you? In either case, I feel that I’m preaching to the converted, and that’s too close to religious conformity for my liking.
In that post, I used a word that I usually avoid religiously: spirituality. Let’s face it, it’s a highly unspecific blanket term used more by those who want to believe what they want than by those genuinely investigating their own minds. I suspect that most of the latter, like me, don’t actually consider themselves religious at all. The best word I know to describe the decision to slow down, get to the root of consciousness and uproot stress, is practical.
This is what the Buddha was all about. He rejected the establishment of his day — the Vedic teaching that ritual, not self-development, was the way to salvation — and sat under a tree to see what he could figure out for himself. After he died, of course, Buddhist orthodoxy began to paint him as perfect. Most establishment Buddhists today are horrified by the suggestion that we might ourselves reach the same level of accomplishment as the Buddha himself — but clearly, they’ve got issues. If we’re to believe anything about the man Siddhartha Gotama, it’s that he taught so that others could find the same peace of mind as he. That was really, really nice of him; it’s just plain rude to suggest that we can’t do what he did.
Anyway, all this provocation is probably falling on deaf ears. None of you are hard-core Buddhists or you wouldn’t be reading The Naked Monk — unless my old teachers have set spies upon me — so you won’t take umbrage at my little sacrileges.
Hmm … how can I stir things up?