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Enlightenment is Expensive

 

Dress your ego in deities and sacred geometry,

How many malas can you pray with at once?

Maybe your outside can convince your inside,

now you buy crystals instead of diamonds

 

 

 

 

-Opening of my 2017 publication ‘Trading Diamonds for Crystals’

I’ve got 99 problems and Jesus is one of them

I am not a fan of Jesus.
Few things make me more uncomfortable than seeing Jesus on a puja table next to some fantastic deity or guru. Neem Karoli Baba loved Jesus, what is my fucking problem?
I went to church this past Easter. It had been at least 5 years, likely more since I last attended a service. I was spending the long weekend away with friends who worship on the holidays, so I went with it. I was fuelled a little bit by hope, but to be honest the dominant driving force was morbid curiosity.
“Buddha is dead, Muhammed is dead, but Jesus is alive!”
After the disappointment of not bursting into flames when entering the church THIS is what I was dealing with. Alongside some wild statements about Darwin looking for but never finding Jesus’ bones of course.
By the end my blood was boiling.
I desperately wanted to rush up to this pastor and tell him about Buddha, ask how he dare belittle the faith of others and most importantly give him a lecture on the fossil record. Is this how Muslims feel when they see an ISIS video?
Poor Jesus though right?! He is just another enlightened being like Buddha who happened to take that human incarnation. Still, even after sitting with this insight, I see the Bible as an instrument of self-righteous justification waved in the air by biggots and hypocrites. That is my honest, gut reaction despite three childhood summers spent at a super-hip bible camp with canoes and a zip-line.
Is what I see just Jesus the ego, projected from a lost band of followers and not Jesus the soul? I want to see past it, I want to dig into what those kind, loving Christians see, without the god-fearing “strike down upon thee” part.
So much work to be done in this incarnation.

Buddhism for Road Rage and Rejection (and assholes)

Patience, tolerance, love and compassion for all beings. Is there anything more difficult? Setting aside the extremes of human atrocities which I cannot fathom having love for, how do we apply these to the daily irritants of our modern western lives?
The girl looking at her phone and driving too fast, the relationship that promised the world and let you down or just the classic asshole. I understand I am not an instrument of karma, it is not my right to judge or punish other beings. Where is the line though? Where do we sit between accepting all others with unconditional love, versus making the world a better place by refusing behaviour destructive to the greater good?
Compassion I can handle. The girl might be rushing and texting because she is late for an exam because her dog just died! I can fathom that possibility, I can tolerate that and sell myself that story. If she flattens a toddler at the next crossing though, I’m going to wish I honked at her!
Loving someone who rejects you, is not what your ego wants. Your ego wants to kick and scream and shout names and make excuses. This may just be suffering we need to take on and allow to shape us. We won’t always get answers here and we may need to sit with not knowing. Choosing to forgive and choosing to allow yourself to be hurt again can seem too close for comfort here.
As for the assholes, I do believe offering love towards those you dislike is a strong practice that can yield some genuine changes in relationships and behaviour. I have tried this and I have faith in this, but as with anything there is no one hundred percent success rate. There will be pain in having your unconditional love rejected, particularly if you feel that person may not be the most worthy to begin with. People who reject love though, now that is another level of suffering.

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