inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #0 of 151: Linda Castellani (castle) Thu 24 Jan 02 10:54
    
Gary Gach (pronounced like "Bach" or "clock") was born in Los Angeles, in 
1947. He's taught at the Learning Annex and University of California, 
acted on stage and screen, and done public speaking and voice-overs. He 
earned a B.A. in English (UCLA-SFSU) and held many day jobs before 
becoming a full-time writer, such as book designer, bookstore clerk, 
hospital administrator, legal secretary, longshoreman, magazine 
editor-in-chief, temp, and Web weaver, plus next-to-last secretary of 
grandmaster of science fiction and fantasy Fritz Leiber, Jr.

His books include _The Pocket Guide to the Internet_ (1996); _Writers.net: 
Every Writer's Essential Guide to Online Resources and Opportunities_ 
(1997); and _What Book!?  ~ Buddha Poems from Beat to Hiphop_ (1998), 
which was honored with an American  Book Award in 1999. Several other 
writings are pending publication.  In addition, he has been published in 
numerous newspapers, magazines, and anthologies, including Chicago 
Tribune, Chicken Soup for the American Soul, Christian Science Monitor, 
City Lights Review, Evergreen Review, Poems for the Millennium, Publishers 
Weekly, San Francisco Chronicle & Examiner, Shambhala Sun, Technicians of 
the Sacred, Whole Earth Review, Yoga Journal, and Zyzzyva.

Gary's latest book, _The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding
Buddhism_ brings Buddhism to a new level of availability by delineating 
the various schools and appealing to readers who might not otherwise pick 
up a book on the topic.  He himself practices in the tradition of Thich 
Nhat Hanh.

Leading the discussion is Felicity O'Meara, a longtime editor and writer 
who has also worked at numerous other jobs including taxicab driver and 
shaman's assistant. Her interest in Buddhism dates to the 1960s, and since 
the early 1990s she has been, more or less, practicing Buddhism, mainly in 
the Tibetan tradition with occasional explorations into zen.

Please join me in welcoming Gary and Felicity to inkwell.vue!
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #1 of 151: (fom) Fri 25 Jan 02 09:50
    
Thanks, Linda. And welcome, Gary!

Your book is great. I am finding sections that have to be read and reread, 
not to understand them (of course not, because it's an Idiot's Guide) but 
to relish the levels of understanding that are subtly contained and hinted 
at. This isn't surprising, of course, considering that you are a poet.

So...I guess the first thing I wonder is, who is the book for? Who is the 
reader (or who are the readers) you were aiming at when you wrote it?
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #2 of 151: Gary Gach (ggg) Fri 25 Jan 02 12:25
    
Thank you, Linda and Felicity!  It is certainly an honor and
a delight to be your guest.

Now that's a fascinating question. Having a book published can be like
heaving a boulder over a cliff and waiting to hear anything.

Well, most simply, I wrote this book for the Buddha within everyone.

"Buddh," meaning "awake." So for anyone wanting to awaken to
their innate capacity for joy, compassion, excellence, and peace. To awaken
to the nature of suffering -- and the means of liberation from suffering.

So I designed it to be, ideally, informative for the curious and
valuable for beginners, while still being somehow of use for those already
on the path.  Primary emphasis on the relative newbie.
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #3 of 151: Chris Florkowski (chrys) Fri 25 Jan 02 16:00
    
Since the reader is called an 'idiot', did that influence your
approach to writing?  (The word 'idiot' brings to mind someone with
trepidation that the subject may be beyond them.)
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #4 of 151: (fom) Fri 25 Jan 02 16:01
    
Oh, interesting. I am not especially a newbie but I am finding it 
fascinating, and learning stuff I did NOT know. It is really packed 
with information. 
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #5 of 151: (fom) Fri 25 Jan 02 16:02
    
slippage already! That's a good sign!
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #6 of 151: Linda Castellani (castle) Fri 25 Jan 02 17:26
    

Oh, that's a good question!  Do you write differently for the audience of 
this book than for any of your other books??  Does the publisher have any 
advice to offer on the subject?
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #7 of 151: Gary Gach (ggg) Fri 25 Jan 02 19:35
    

Slippage?

For me, this is positively psychic: from my earliest sense of considering
writing as a path I've always been fascinated with this aspect of the
creative process.  For whom.  To whom.   (That's one reason I like the Tonga
domain I use for my home pages, dot-to).

Chris, that's a very nice way of asking about the "idiot's" in the title.
Yes, I took it as reflecting someone with perhaps trepidation, aversion for
complicated words, natural fears, and so on, and to be sensitive to those
issues.

(This could lead into two digressions -- 1) about the derivation of the word
"idiot," and its Buddhist connotations; and 2) the origin of the word
"idiot" in a series title.  But I'll resist the temptation.  For now.)

Back to how each book takes on a life of its own in the process of creation.
 Do writers have ideal readers in mind when they write?  Musicians,
painters, dancers, etc.  Well, something like this, I often asked myself if
this were what I'd say if I had to explain it over the phone to my aunt Irma
in Jersey.

Linda, the in-house guidance was the most rigorous I've experienced.  (All
in a positive sense.)  Having published hundreds of books in their series,
they've come up with a rigorous set of expectations of the writer.  Number
of chapters, pages, sidebars, illustrations, the whole nine yards.  It's
like your bags are somewhat packed before you've left the house.

Not having settled in with any one publisher to date, I've seen a number in-
house suggestions as to how to write instructional expository prose.  Theirs
was the most explicit, and helpful.  And there's a certain "house tone"
they're looking for.  For example, they'd mentioned being breezy and light
without losing the clarity of the topic at hand. So it's ok to be a
comedian, from time to time, but not anybody's expense.  That kind of thing.

With a kind of set-up peculiar to them, they're marvelous at letting a book
find its maximum number of readers.  If a seemingly niche subject, like
birdwatching, should prove popular, they can run with that.  So as for
audience size, I just thought of as many as might want it. Easy and wide.

Also the question arose as to an American / Western audience.  Like the
Internet, I suppose; Inkwell.Vue, for example.  We presume that an
international audience might tune in, but we don't check our American
sensibilities at the door.  And even give them freer reign.  But that's
another digression, which I'm sure we'll get to.

And I had a sense that a majority of the readers might turn out to be
female.  'Tho I really don't have any sense of how to write differently in
that regard.
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #8 of 151: the invetned stiff is dumb (bbraasch) Fri 25 Jan 02 21:22
    
The book has a lot of information in it.  You must have done a lot of 
research.  In the foreword, you list a number of people who helped you 
as you wrote the book.  How long did it take to do the research and how 
much was new information to you as you wrote the book?
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #9 of 151: Gary Gach (ggg) Fri 25 Jan 02 23:09
    
Research, sir, is another interesting question!

By the clock, I'd say I put in two years' research prior to composition. And
I was cranking chapters out relatively fast, for the publisher's
"accelerated production cycle" as I think they call it.  So it became kind
of like what Ortega y Gasset says about civilization being what you remember
after you leave all the books behind.

My research too was often using myself as a test case, as for depth,
meaning, value.  Do you know what the Buddha said about research?  It's part
of the first quote (a bit scrunched for reasons of space) given to the
Buddha in the book:
See paragraphs 4 and 10 of the Kalama Sutra:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/anguttara/an3-65b.html
I'm personally always moved by his wonderfully noncoercive way of saying,
"See for yourself," but there's quite a bit more in those simple paragraphs.

And your other question.

How much did/didn't I know beforehand?  Another exquisite question to ask a
writer!  Thank you, <bbraasch>.  To paraphrase (Gary Snyder's line, I think)
on the process of writing, I don't write to say what I think but to see what
I know.  (And how much I don't know -- still!)

That is, I think anyone who's written encounters how processing something
through language -- the material becomes transformed under pencil or pen.
By being put in words, sentences, paragraphs, and so on.  So, as with any
book I'd write, I started out with a topic that's both already close to me,
and that I'd like to become even more intimate with.

Along the way, my jaw dropped several times while learning what I didn't
know.  (And still don't.)

I also built in some pre-planned learning assignments for myself, such as in
my treating different traditions within Buddhism -- other than the ones with
which I was personally most familiar, as a practitioner.

Yes?
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #10 of 151: the invetned stiff is dumb (bbraasch) Sat 26 Jan 02 10:14
    
I've enjoyed reading the historical perspective on the spread of 
Buddhism.  I've read Karen Armstrong's book, _The Life of Buddha_ which 
gives more details on his life and the way his ideas were twisted when 
he was growing old, then used against him.

What's interesting about your telling of the story is the way you 
describe the interleaving of Buddhist ideas with those of the local 
cultures.  

My wife is Chinese.  I was raised in an Irish Catholic house.  I learned
many things from her that were knowledge passed down in her family, a
lot of good luck and bad luck omens.  I wondered about the origins of
these superstitions.  Some were based in common sense (do not take the
baby out of the house for its first month of life, for example), others
dealt with respect for elders, but she didn't see this as religion and
she'd not been raised in a religion, but in many ways she had been given
a better sense of values from these cultural traditions than I had been 
given from the catholic dogma.

I didn't know a lot about buddhism at the time, but I suggested to her 
that perhaps she was buddhist.  

Around that time, my uncle who is a catholic missionary in Japan arrived 
at our house for a visit.  She asked him to read her the Chinese 
aphorisms from a calendar the bank had given her.  This led to a long 
discussion of confucianism, buddhism and other influences in China, then 
the flow of these ideas into Japan along with the written language.

It was all fascinating to me and I was impressed with my uncle's range 
of knowledge and experiences in Japan.

At the end of the conversation though, he still asked when she would 
convert to catholicism.

I asked what new values it would give her.  He couldn't answer that one.

I think maybe unlearning is harder than learning.
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #11 of 151: Gary Gach (ggg) Sat 26 Jan 02 11:11
    
Unlearning: harder than learning.

You know, I encountered an interesting question when I was writing the life
of the Buddha.  At what point do we stop using his given name, Gotama or
Siddhartha, and when do we adopt the honorific, the Buddha.  And what I
learned was that it begins at the point when he leaves home.  Renounces.
Begins unlearning, if you will.

There's a famous story of the man who knocks on the door of the Buddhist
temple.  He says he's a scholar wants them to teach him what they know.  The
head monk comes and invites him to tea.  He wants to get right down to it,
but the head monk insists:  tea first.  Ok.  So they're in the tea room, and
the head monk pours him a cup but keeps the teakettle pointed at the
scholar's cup so it keeps pouring and pouring until the scholar shouts,
"Wait! stop! it's overflowing!"  And the headmonk stops, smiles at him, and
says, "This cup is like your mind.  How can anything be poured into it when
it is already full?"

Or, as the MadeInUSA bumperstriper says, "Minds like parachutes must be open
to function."


I appreciate the candor of your story, as well as it clarity.  I can see the
calendar, for example, your uncle, and your wife.

Chinese religion, in general, is "syncretic," meaning a mix; a mish-mosh;
some of this from ColumnA, some of that from Column B.  And, like Judaism
and the Vedic paths (e.g., Hindu), it's a cultural phenomenon as well:  you
grow up inside of it and it becomes a very part of you.  Like those
homilies.  ('Tho doesn't a newborn's bones need sunshine for the vitamin A?
No matter.)

There are some very interesting bridges between Catholocism and Buddhism
these days, particularly in the Benedictine Order.  No doubt you'll be able
to tell us, one day, about your own bridges, that you've built.

As Buddhism acclimates to America (and vice-versa), one of the issues
developing is one with which you may be very familiar, I wonder:  east
vs.west.   For example,assimilating with the current culture or preserving
heritage.  Self/other vs. recognition we're all one.  Etc.

Myself, I'm a Zen Judaist, by the way.  Raised in the Jewish culture,
identify as such, and practicing it for a large part along the path of the
Buddha.
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #12 of 151: the invetned stiff is dumb (bbraasch) Sat 26 Jan 02 11:24
    
It seems to me that religions that proselytize would over time dominate 
over those that don't.  

I can't think of another that doesn't.  

The Simpsons' Christmas show was the story of Lisa adopting Buddhism but 
still being able to celebrate Christmas.
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #13 of 151: (fom) Sat 26 Jan 02 12:12
    
   >I can't think of another that doesn't.

You mean, besides Buddhism? (Which I guess some sects of do proselytize, 
but it's not built into the doctrines as it is in, say, Christianity.)

Baha'i comes to mind -- I think they have rules against proselytizing, in 
fact. (But I may be wrong.)

I'm not sure where I draw the line between religion and philosophy, but I 
lean toward considering Buddhism a philosophy rather than a religion. Or 
better yet, a path. I feel like it's compatible with various other paths, 
but some Buddhist teachers definitely don't agree. (Some, of course, do.)

Gary, how do you handle the theism in Judaism versus the nontheistic 
approach of Buddhism? (I realize this is not exactly about the book, but 
oh well.) (Or maybe it IS about the book and I'm just forgetting which 
part deals with these issues.)
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #14 of 151: Gary Gach (ggg) Sat 26 Jan 02 12:23
    
-jitsu teaches how a seemingly dominant energy can be subverted by a
seemingly softer one.  I mean, while I agree with you on one level, I'd
invite you to consider "dominant" and "subservient" as abstract dualities
beneath which there is a unity.  Commonality.

Another reason I'm reluctant to speak of "mainstream."
You gotta hand it to Matt Groenig; he pushes the envelope.

Funny, is he proselytizing?  I don't mean facile superficialities like
stores with "zen" in their name will transform consciousness.  But, think:

"karma," is in my American Heritage Dictionary.  And it's common now to hear
people use the word "realms," another Buddhist word.  (There are probably
others; any takers?)

Or Mitch Kapor's introducing "groupware," and even calling it Lotus 1-2-3.

And so the Buddha's teachings have been called by some "the gentlest,"
...having a way of sliding under the door, wafting in on a breeze -- rather
than by sword or flag. (Altho' there are currently some Buddhist state
socialisms, cause for another thread; maybe.)

Zen (maybe other traditions too) compares the teachings, the path, to a
morning mist ... almost invisible ... but hang out long enough and
you'llfind  your robes are soaked ...  just a few drops, one or two, can be
be enough ... ... practice one deeply enough and the rest will follow ...


?
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #15 of 151: Gary Gach (ggg) Sat 26 Jan 02 12:32
    
Oops!  I meant to start out #14 "JIU-jitsu" but goofed.
Looking back I see a new and very big question: G-d.
One I'd like to mull over and reply to after lunch.

But, to keep the conversation from growing cold, my short response is this:

the Buddha never discussed God, or absence of God, as being a matter that
did not further his teaching and its practice (the study of suffering and
liberation from suffering).  Technically, it's not a religion, in the
theistic sense.

But culturally there is a religion, for sure.  Because the Buddha created a
monastic order, the Sangha, the community of followers of the path of
harmony and love, his teachings of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold
Path, for example, have come down to us today.  I heard Houston Smith speak
on this, the night before last, comparing spirituality to religion.  He said
religion is what gives traction to spirituality in history.

Arguing for the uniqueness, on the other hand, of the path of the Buddha,
it could be said it's not only not a religion (not addressing issues of God
or no God), but not a philosophy (not addressing typical philosophical
issues), nor a psychology (not addressing a self), etc. -- but somethng
rather with elements of each, yet being uniquely its own ...

... way of being in the world, if you will.
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #16 of 151: Gary Gach (ggg) Sat 26 Jan 02 18:05
    
Other religion that don't proslyetize, besides Baha'i, brings us to the one
you ask about, Felicity.  Judaism.   Which expressly
doesn't proslyetize.

Being jewish, being Buddhist, whatever I wrote in the chapter on interfaith
merely picques my own curiosity, and so have begun reearching writing a book
on the subject.

As to the theism in Judaism and the a-theism of the Buddha, there are even
similarities:  that is, some traditions of Judaism won't make a big deal
about the Nameless G-d.  One of phrases for example, is 'Most High.'  Not he
or she -- so no problems for thos of the gender political persuasion.  Just
... superlative of superlative, so called when you're at the crest of your
crest.

So, yea, if either "side" wanted to make fences over differences, there are
candidates.  But frankly I define Judaism as being responsive to the
influences in our own time of Buddhism, rather than something codified and
set in stone. A living faith rather than a fixed object.  So before I unpack
any shortcomings I've found with G-d, I'd want to praise the strong positive
useful contemporary bridges between these two venerable eastern paths.

Case in point: the reclamation of the concept of "tikkun ha'olam,"
("repairing the world"), a notion of each individual's karmic part
in making this world the best it can be, a happier place, a place of peace

... which is like the bodhisattva aspect within certain Buddhist traditions,
vowing to help all beings become enlightened.

Nu?

For more on contemporary traditions of Judaism with strong affinities to the
Buddhist path, check out Aleph, http://www.aleph.org .

And as further footnote, I think it was Suzanne Vega who asked:


   Did you hear about the agnostic,    dyslexic, insomniac?

    He lies awake at night wondering if there really is a Dog.
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #17 of 151: Berliner (captward) Sun 27 Jan 02 04:54
    
Drifting slightly, he asked...

Is it true that Bah'ai doesn't proselytize? I remember a sign by the
freeway in SF which said One World, One People...Please! Bah'ai. I
always thought that sounded like a vision of hell, actually. 
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #18 of 151: William Hale (hinging0) Sun 27 Jan 02 05:09
    
One World, 
One Love, 
One Line, 
Side by Side, 
We Ring Whose Water World

Second verse may have been written this year search back pages. Need
to install and update MS Front Page Extensions index function

xref: Rainbow Song adaptation: "We are the old people... We are the
new people... we are the same people - stronger than before, we climb
the tall est  mountain, no thing can stop us, we are the people - we
come.

testagain.ind 170: 002:01:27:05:45:SUNDAY ROMAN STATE CHRISTIAN
HOLIDAY 
 #1 of 1: William Hale (hinging0) Sun 27 Jan '02 (05:05 AM)

Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
Topic #137, 17 responses, 17 new, Last post on Sat 26 Jan '02 at 06:05
PM[Keep New]



inkwell.vue 137: Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to
Understanding Buddhism
 #0 of 16: Linda Castellani (castle) Thu 24 Jan '02 (10:54 AM)

Gary Gach (pronounced like "Bach" or "clock") was born in Los Angeles,
in ...

And as further footnote, I think it was Suzanne Vega who asked:


   Did you hear about the agnostic,    dyslexic, insomniac?

    He lies awake at night wondering if there really is a Dog.




 
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #19 of 151: Gary Gach (ggg) Sun 27 Jan 02 09:19
    
... is something wrong with my apparatus, or have we returned to the
beginning?  I see a snippet of post #0, does anyone else?  (And does anyhone
else find it somewhat buddhist to see a post numbered "zero"?)

Maybe I'll use that opportunity to interject a question of my own here.
Blanket.  For the duration of this particular inkwell vue.

What is your own experience at any of what's being discused?   I'd really
really like to hear.

Please.

Well, anyway, to get on with drifting along ... or away ... or whatever, i
don't know much about baha'i ... adherents i've met have impressed on me how
the faith has been persecuted, and so that has definitely generated some
thing within its culture ... i don't get the sense that they think i'll
suffer in eternity if  i don't study the faith of Baha'u'llah ...

they do have a website (of course); bahai.org ... wasn't Mark Tobey, that
Pacific Northwest painter of gorgeous calligraphic lattices, a Baha'i? ...

"one world" i think they mean global harmony and (hopefullY) an
international salad bar, rather than a megalopolic CitiCorp ... isn't "one
love" Rastafarian? ... (do Rastas prosyletize?) ...

... billboards probably proslyetize ... ads, especially tv & also radio,
definitely ... "buy or die" ... don't Scientologists proseyletize ... doe
does Tom Cruise proseyletize (if only for Tom Cruise)? ... ...
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #20 of 151: Gary Gach (ggg) Sun 27 Jan 02 09:44
    
If I can multiplex a little -- you know how these Well discussions can
become multivocal at times (!) - -- ---

continuing the thread you raised, Felicity, I found a quote from Rick Fields
of interest.  (He wrote an essential history of Buddhism in America, "How
the Swans Came to the Lake.")  At a conference on Buddhism in America
(1997):

     ... Gary Snyder says that Buddhism is a 2,500-year dialogue
     about the nature of mind, and to me that's one of the best
     descriptions of what Buddhadharma really is.
          I don't think of it as a religion, frankly.  I think
     of it as a kind of corrective to religion that's masquerading
     as a religion and that might hopefully save the world from
     religion, allowing the other religions to do their beneficial
     things when they're beneficial.

    ("Buddhism in America," compiled by Al Rapaport. Tuttle, 1998)

And note just one word:  Buddhadharma, instead of Buddhism.

"Dharma" is the teaching(s) of the Buddha ... (and the road to the
teaching(s), (which is the entire world)).

So when my publisher put "Buddhism" into the title of my book, already it
was a compromise:  Buddhists don't traditionally use the word "Buddhist."
(Might you explain the Tibetan word?)

     I.E., was Jesus a Christian?

          What religion is God?  (assuming She exists).

So if followers of the path that the Buddha pointed to don't give it an
official name, it has less possibility ... danger, really ... of being
institutionalized into a *thing* ...

... or, as I'm hearing it in American practice, "Why be a Buddhist when you
can be a Buddha?"
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #21 of 151: (fom) Sun 27 Jan 02 10:00
    
Dizzy Gillespie was a Baha'i.

The sign by the freeway is *on* the Baha'i church, or whatever they call 
their place of worship, so it's not quite as if they went out and bought 
billboard space. But like I said, I'm not sure, I just have a vague idea 
that they make a point of not trying to make converts.

I think there are various ways to interpret "One Planet, One People, 
Please!" -- it could mean a sort of fascist blob of humanity, which sounds 
awful. But I really really don't think they's how they mean it -- I think 
they mean something more like "let's all try to get along and not hate 
each other for our superficial differences." I do agree that it's kind of 
an unfortunate slogan.

hinging0, this made me laff:  "we climb the tall est  mountain"!

Gary, I am working on an answer to your question about the Tibetan 
definition -- could you be a little more explicit?
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #22 of 151: Gary Gach (ggg) Sun 27 Jan 02 10:38
    
What is the Tibetan word equivalent to the Western word "Buddhist," and what
does it mean?

And what has been Your experience with Deism?  Were you raised, say, in an
RC culture?  Do you make any correlations between themes within your
upbringing and your current path?   What's worked, what hasn't?

(In the final analysis, isn't curiosity a kind of religion ... )
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #23 of 151: (fom) Sun 27 Jan 02 10:51
    
 What is the Tibetan word equivalent to the Western word "Buddhist," and 
what
 does it mean?

 And what has been Your experience with Deism?  Were you raised, say, in 
an
 RC culture?  Do you make any correlations between themes within your
 upbringing and your current path?   What's worked, what hasn't?

 (In the final analysis, isn't curiosity a kind of religion ... ) 

That first part, I am working on.

My own experience with deism or theism has been odd. I was raised RC but 
my parents were what's known as "Catholic intellectuals" and I grew up 
having people like Dorothy Day, Father Martin D'Arcy, Jacques Maritain 
around the house. Mircea Eliade was our next-door neighbor. Before college 
(U of Chicago) I was schooled by various orders of nuns, including Sisters 
of Mercy, Sinsinawa Dominicans, RSCJ's, the Ursulines in Quebec, and 
several others (oh, and an order whose name I forget that was made up of 
converted Jews!), but my parents always laughed and said "Oh don't pay 
attention to the nuns." My father was some kind of a world expert on Duns 
Scotus and contributed to a magazine called The Monist. So...it's hard to 
say. I guess I have always had a kind of mystical way of thinking? 
Something like that.
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #24 of 151: the invetned stiff is dumb (bbraasch) Sun 27 Jan 02 10:54
    
You'll get no mercy from the Sisters of Mercy.

I still got a thing for plaid skirts though.
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #25 of 151: Scott Underwood (esau) Sun 27 Jan 02 10:56
    
Gary, I only got your book a couple of days ago, and so I'm not very
far in.  But I am immediately struck by a thought I've had before: I
think I'm an "armchair Buddhist." That is, my practice consists of
reading books about Buddhism. I'm a tourist, and only in my head.

I've tried to put into practice much of what I've read, but my life is
too noisy just now to focus on this. After rejecting Catholicism at a
young age, I'm leery of all the ritual and of the different paths of
Buddhism. It seems almost a schismatic as Christianity at times!

I've had friends who have gone on retreats, and one who worked at Green
Gulch for most of a year. In the end, she found much wisdom in the
talks and the teaching and she personally felt changed by the chance to
meditate so thoroughly, but she still has not *embraced* Buddhism and
so feels like a tourist as well. She's left feeling as if it's hard to
be a Buddhist--a *thorough* Buddhist--without completely letting go of
modern life and living monastically. Do you recognize this conundrum?
  

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