Saturday, January 03, 2015

off to the opera

Reading the Visuddhimagga really gets you into the word tangle. Disentangling the entanglements is perhaps one of the missions of Buddhism. One of my teachers was reading that book when he used that word a lot. This is the kind of book where I'm probably going to read a page a day and finish in a few years.

I got The Making of Buddhist Modernism in the mail yesterday. It came out in 2008. It's one of those complex books that has a million references you want to read like The Saturated Self or Courtesans and Fishcakes. A tour de force. I read the introduction and the section on Sangharakshita's The Art of Religion. That's one I haven't read. Guess I need to read that one.

The book basically traces the various ideas and synthesis of modernity and Buddhism. I was writing about that in my review of Daughters of Dolma. It makes me wonder if there is anything wrong with adding in ideas and whatnot to the original tradition? Is there any virtue in not adding in modern ideas? McMahan asks a few times what is it about Buddhism that you can say you're "into Buddhism"? Do people say they are "into Protestantism"? I guess people don't brag about it anyway. Also there is a plethora of published books in English, which makes reading about Buddhism a new phenomenon. Forget about blogs.

Last night after I listened to a talk about the 5th precept, last night, I still hadn't fallen asleep, so I was listening to an audio version of The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James, and I heard the phrase "unbarrowed experience". I'm not sure if I could read that book, but I can certainly fall asleep to it. I got an audio version off one of those free read book websites. But I digress. Unbarrowed experience means something that not someone else's formulation, it's your own formulation. Can you actually do that?

I almost didn't break my position for the 40 minute sit this morning. I've decided to meditate every day again. I've taken some time off. I'm ready to get back. As I'm getting back into meditation I'm aware that I kind of control the breath when paying attention to it. The third stage I focus on my posture, and think about wanting to read Will Johnson's book about posture.

I'm hoping to meditate for 20 minutes every day and longer on work free days when I don't have my children.

Doing a retreat at home was interesting. I'd hoped to be more disciplined, but it's good that I pushed myself to do what I did. Doing a retreat with someone else, gets you more intimate with them. Anandi and I did a lot of talking.

And now it's off to the opera!

Here is a picture of the calzones Cori made last night--squash, onion and mushroom.

1 comment:

Jayarava said...

Hope you enjoy The Making of Buddhist Modernism. It makes a very important contribution to the study of Buddhism. I've found it very influential on my thinking.