Saturday, February 21, 2015


Walking by a beautiful statue of the Virgin Mary, I didn't have that enchanted feeling. I've been asking myself do I need to re-enchant life? There was a time when I saw a Buddhist rupa, that I wanted to bow down and prostrate to the spiritual ideals. The reverence for the wise ones had an enchanting spell. That was when I was meditating a lot, when I was reading a lot, when I was spending a lot of time with spiritual friends. I've worked myself into very alert states. But inevitably the retreat would end and I would go back to my workaday life. There were times when I would meditate at lunch, so excited from a retreat, that I ended up meditating 2 times a day, sometimes three. I have done pujas, where I felt a kind of bliss and the mantras felt magical. I can begin to approach those things. But my question is whether that is necessary. Do I need that spiritual high to sustain my life, or can I do a kind of "nothing special" approach. One of the aspects of Buddhist modernity is that I'm aware of all the choices. I don't go to the local guy and learn what he learns. In an modern open source Buddhism, I can see all the options, try them on. People will say you lose something by not committing to one tradition, and I'm sure there is more truth there than just the branding and the sectarian thinking. Any good tradition guards the deeper practices to protect the spiritual aspirant from spiritual indigestion, from eating too many rich practices. There is a system of practice. To flit from system to system, you don't get deep into the system. On the other hand some people have said it's easier to get enlightened than to get ordained into some systems, but each sect has a right to control who is teaching that sect. There are slick teachers, who turned out to be sleeping with everyone, and that shows a kind of disconnect from the ideals. Honest and sincere isn't always the slickest. Some movements don't have a charismatic leader. The system is more important than any individual teacher, which reminds me of the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA. The system is the star, not the individual players on the team, the team is the star. It's quite possible the best teacher for you isn't some famous person, or even advanced person, maybe someone closer to your level who has struggled like you, and can say it was worth it, could be a better teacher.

Back to my question, does my spiritual life need to be re-enchanted? What would it give me? Would it add power and focus to my meditation? Would it help me to study more? Would it help me to find sangha? What is it about an enchanted spiritual life would be useful?

The Life of the Buddha (Penguin Classics) came in the mail today. Looking forward to dipping into this, back to basics.

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