The Problem with Buddhism is…

by Lorna's Voice
Am I going to get kicked out of the Buddhist Club for writing this? For even thinking this?

Am I going to get kicked out of the Buddhist Club for writing this? For even thinking this?

Okay, I admit that most Buddhists worth their saffron robes would never start a sentence with, “The problem with Buddhism is…” but:

  1. I’m not a full-fledged, hairless, be-robed, monastery-lounge-lizardy, mediate-till-my-butt-is-numb Buddhist (you can probably tell that by the way I just described serious Buddhists)
  2. I’ve only been practicing Buddhism for about five years and this is a very complex system of principles and philosophies thousands of years old with strange Sanskrit words meant to befuddle even not dizzy blondes
  3. What I do understand about Buddhism is great and has changed my life mostly for the good except for this one thing. And it’s a big one.

Buddhists are really big on mindfulness. Not as in “mind the stop sign sign up ahead” so much (although that’s important, too), but as is pay excruciatingly close attention to every moment, thought, feeling, behavior. Don’t judge any of it. Just notice all of it.

Every single moment. Every single thing. You're just supposed to say "Wow! Look at that. I just did that or I I just felt that." Now would someone please change my diapers?

Every single moment. Every single thing. You’re just supposed to say “Wow! Look at that. I just did that!” or “I just felt that. Now would someone please change my diapers?”

Do you see the problem with this? First you’re supposed to put yourself under a microscope and then you’re not supposed to have any judgments about the crap-load of crazy that you discover. And this is supposed to bring an end to suffering? Buddha…Old Buddy…Bubala. Did you really mean for us to do this to end suffering?

You know I wouldn’t be writing this if I didn’t find something disturbing in my relentless self-observation. The fact that I’m disturbed means I’ve already failed at the non-judging part, but since I noticed this, I’m good to go. This is a very flexible and forgiving practice, as long as you pay attention to how you’re violating the principles of it.

He or she could be violating any number of Buddhist principles. If I knew most of them, I could tell you which ones.

He or she could be violating any number of Buddhist principles. If I knew most of them, I could tell you which ones. But I don’t, so you’ll have to take it from me, if he/she is human, he/she is violating Buddhist principles.

Anyway this is about me, not some random he/she-Buddhist. Here’s what I noticed about me. I am mentally ill.

Oh, I’m sure you’re thinking that I’m just over-reacting or being melodramatic or funny. Well, it’s all just part of my illness. I’ve been watching me a long time, so I’m pretty sure I’m the better judge of me than you (even though I shouldn’t be judging–that part always trips me up).

I'm telling you. That no judging part is next to impossible.

I’m telling you. That no judging part is next to impossible especially when you’re looking at what I’m seeing.

Do non-mentally ill people:

  • obsess about their dog’s bowel movements? It would be worse if I didn’t have a dog, but I do, so don’t call the Psycho Squad yet. But whether Scrappy poops on his walk either makes or breaks my day. His, too.
  • feel compelled to top off their Brita Water filter containers every time they use them? Mine has to be filled to the top. Always. If it isn’t, I get edgy.
  • only feel happy when their gas tank is over-filled with gas? When the gauge moves off from the “full” mark, I have a compelling need to top it off, just like my water filter.
  • make their bed the moment they get up and check to make sure the bed sheets and blankets are perfectly straight and symmetrical? What am I? A reincarnated chamber maid?

So, I don’t compulsively wash my hands, check my door locks, or check repeatedly to see if I turned off my stove (in the rare even that I actually cooked something), but I know there’s something wrong with me. Probably it’s that I don’t wash my hands enough, check to make sure my doors are locked and am playing with fire when it comes to the burners on my stove. But still, I need help.

What's that you say? You poured water for tea and didn't refill the Brita filter. Are you trying to drive me insane?

What’s that you say? You poured water for tea and didn’t refill the Brita filter. Are you trying to drive me insane?

What do you think?

I’ll have some time to ponder all of this as I’m vacationing in the Bahamas for the next week or so. Yeah, you heard me. Philip and I are heading to the Bahamas for a real vacation (Portland was work-related for him). So I won’t see you next week. But don’t worry about me, I’ll bring my sun-screen and my camera. I won’t worry about you either. I have enough to worry about with swimsuit season only a few days away for me.

I've been trying to get in shape for that new two-piece bathing suit Philip wants me to wear. Meow-za!

I’ve been trying to get in shape for that new two-piece bathing suit Philip wants me to wear. Meow-za!

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6 Responses to “The Problem with Buddhism is…”

  1. While not dismissing the humor in the piece, one wonders why Buddhist? Sure, cool sheets and no danger of lice, but they’re not nice people, really.

    To that end, why anything at all. May I offer up a commensurate list of neurosis, all mitigated by complete and total unaffiliation with any of the “come hither for salvation/peace/cannibalism” made-up philosophies. Moderate happiness is what I offer, unencumbered by the burden of dogma from this or that visionary.

    And, personally, the attention of a handsome man does not sound appealing at all. Not that I condemn it on others.

  2. Although I’ve never run across a “not nice” Buddhist, I fully admit the possibility that some may exist–or at least some may be perceived as such. I don’t follow any structured mainstream religion and Buddhism isn’t considered by most people a religion. It’s a set of guiding principles by which one could choose to live one’s life…or not. I find that those principles work for me, all kidding aside. Yes, even the self-reflection.

    As a sociologist, I believe that human need to believe in something in order to set aside those niggling question of life and death and the meaning of it all. Even if the belief is in science or in nothing, it’s a belief. Once you have that, then you can go about your daily business and not fret about those esoteric matters unless some random blogger (or other person) brings them up.

    Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. I really appreciate it!

    • Buddhism in general is not any nicer than other religions. The Americanized version is a tad better (call it Buddhism-lite). One can concentrate on only the “good aspects”, and ignore the history of it, but then one can do that with any religion. True, it’s not as nasty as some, but that’s neither here or there.

      As a non-sociologist, I posit one can set aside “those nagging questions” just by deciding they are meaningless. But I do find interesting “belief in nothing . . . is a belief”. Truthfully, I don’t know what that means. Then again, I’m an engineer. Too logical, I’m told, to grasp such concepts.

      Is there such a thing as no belief? One wonders why the answer usually gets so complicated; “yes” should suffice, but often doesn’t.

      But you are right. Most people just live life. Some put more stock in one thing versus another, but at the core of it it’s all rationalization. Me? Maybe I’m just an anomaly; beyond wondering why others wonder about it so much, I don’t wonder about it much. Most people don’t believe me, but that’s fine too; apparently, it’s a belief they hold.

  3. What’s up friends, its wonderful piece of writing about teachingand completely explained, keep it up all the time.

    • Thanks so much! I find most teachings about Buddhism (or anything) quite dry. Adding a bit of humor makes the teachings more palatable and memorable. I truly appreciate that you took the time to read and comment. 🙂

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