Tuesday, May 27, 2008

What path to choose?

Well it's been a while since I last posted. No excuses- Chaplain Shin is deployed on a ship and she posts all the time! First, I really enjoyed the Memorial Day articles. This tells me that Buddhists in the military are a much larger force than I thought.

I have been wrangling a lot lately over which "brand" of Buddhism I most identify with. As if I really have to belong to any one of the groups! I'm finding that once the Buddha's teachings left India way back in the day, they changed in all sorts of ways, possibly to fit the various cultures scattered across Asia. When I first seriously studied this path of life I was immersing myself in the Theraveda teachings, which is more or less the "original" words of the Buddha. I'm probably a little off on this. I met Chaplain Shin a few months back and she told me about her background in the Jodo Shinshu tradition, of which she is an ordained priest. Last week I attended a meditation session and service at the Vista Zen Center in north San Diego County. I had known a bit about Zen but wasn't too keen about it. I truly enjoyed my visit to the center and will be going back. Look at http://www.vistazencenter.com/ if you are ever in the area. There was a zazen meditation session, a Dharma talk and a service of which I had no idea what the purpose was (yet). I'll take a look at this stuff and post to this blog what I'm thinking.

I've found out that Buddhists all agree on the basic precepts, Eightfold Path and such. Exploring the various sects and traditions could take a while. San Diego County is very rich in Buddhism I'm finding out. I'm pretty lucky to be stationed here. I've been reading a book. It's called Hardcore Zen, Punk Rock, Monster Movies and the Truth About Reality. It's a very straightforward, written in plain English, and really entertaining book. Written by an American living in Japan and who is an ordained Zen master. Amazon has it.

Until next time...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Don't worry. Take your time and study about the different paths that interest you. I first started with Tibetan Buddhism, then Chinese Pure Land, and finally Jodo Shinshu. Although I had always been interested in Zen, it just doesn't resonate with me. Some of the ideas I still like. I live 2 hours from the nearest temple and we only meet once a month. I balance this out by studying with the Institute for American Buddhism (aka Bright Dawn). There is a link to their website on this blog. It in no way conflicts with the temple I go to. I've checked it out with my priest and educational director. That's where I've ended up. Hope you find your way. Until next time.


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