Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I Don't Want To Be A Buddha

Every branch and twig is covered in white frost. Piles of snow and great chunks of dirty ice line roads and walkways. Parking lots are ringed with mountains of the grimy stuff. We had a reprieve from sub-zero weather— a warm spell of dripping icicles and the rather startling sound of snow sliding off the roof. Our old spruce tree is home to a city of birds, now chattering with some kind of euphoric, energetic release. Two crusty old robins who survived the frigid cold spell, rest nearby, with feathers still puffed to the max.

The news reports— well, you've heard them. This suffering world is too much to bear. I've crawled inside the warm petals of a lily, nestled right down in the center of those bright happy orange tendrils. It's difficult to paint knowing how precious this water is to the world and I've let my water bucket go dark with pigment. Painting seems frivolous now.

Last night our meditation group discussed our propensity to turn way from what is, not wanting what is right here now, always wanting something better or other than what is. How do we look away? How do we avoid being with our experience? The discussion wandered into ideas like repression, denial, rumination and the necessity to peel the onion, to dig into endless layers of awareness for years and even lifetimes. Sounds like an endless slog of analysis keeping therapeutic communities in business for countless lifetimes. People in the group shared their various struggles and frustrations which generally can be translated as weariness of cold gray days, navigating slippery streets, while digesting news of horrific suffering all over the world. Then a voice burst out, "I just want to have fun!" And the room filled with laughter. It was me. What I meant was– I don't want to peel my life like an onion with its attendant tears. I don't want to analyze my every thought and mood. I just want to live my life. To work hard. And play hard. To do the best I can. That's all. To be angry when I'm angry. To be happy when I'm happy. Simple and clean and clear. That's what I aspire to. I don't want to be a Buddha.


  1. Your Back! :)

    I'm with you - navel gazing gets pretty boring. The more I go down this path the more I want to "lighten up!" :) Although will say I could use a little "fun" myself right now...

    I thought the point was to awaken *to* our *inherent* Buddha Nature, which is joyful, fun-loving and free... :) Embracing life as it is with its up and downs, ins and outs, light and dark...

    Play well, your Buddhaness :) C

  2. Christine— Glad to see your light shining this way! Yes, I'm still here, tho rather tongue-tied of late. As for embracing life as it is... workin' on it. It's comforting to know I'm not alone in trying to find a healthy balance in all this navel gazing. Thanks for sharing.

  3. It's easy to use a spiritual practice to embed yourself more firmly in your faults. Like sticking on some experience or mood.

  4. all has it's place...this contemplation and figuring out business. but I'm with you. lets be in the moment. this moment. joyful, sad, whatever shows up. I love the way you just dove in to that lily...fresh and bright...not hiding, but enjoying what was present for you...that sunshiny orange lily.


  5. "I just want to live my life" - not be analyzing it all the time - ie: "workin' at it" - just living it. "To be angry when I'm angry, to be happy when I'm happy. Simple clear and clean...

    You are beautifully that. That, it seems, is embracing life as it is... That, it seems, is the point of existence...

    Heart Smiles...

  6. If you are a buddhist, the world, in all of its layers, all of its psychologisms, wearninesses, slipperinesses, greynesses, all of its thoughts moods tears, all of its lilies... if you are a buddhist, this world in each particular voice pleads with you to be a buddha. That is buddhism, buddhism's only tenant.

    Also, I think you are right about painting being frivolous. Of course it is. It is completely so. I wonder though if that is a problem? If such frivolity is problematic. To me it is symptomatic, not the frivolity, but the seeming. Why? Why should we think in this way? If painting is frivolous, then what is efficient? Or is the lesson of art that has broken again and again against the progress of efficiency exactly that efficiency more than anything has landed us in this position? This position in which we say, perhaps art is frivolous, what with scarcity and death, suffering. Perhaps I should become efficient. But then we should ask, what is the question here? One suffers in art, and one prospers. Let us say, in art, one prospers artistically, one suffers artistically. Let us say then, in efficiency, one prospers efficiently, one suffers efficiently. No one has found a cure, that I know of. We are lying and lied to with regard to cures. What we have are styles. Styles of prosperity. Styles of suffering.

    Because the whole room laughed, the whole room was lying, telling stories that sound like the songs and calls of good buddhists. Because the voice burst out, the voice was lying, even if it was in a truthful manner, sincere. Onion peels fall away, eyes within fumeshot cry. Psychology is always questioned now, and we have more sensory holes than hands to cover them lalalalalalalalalalala doyouhavetroublesleeping,talking,beingnormal,beingdifferent,beinganxious,askyourdoctoraboutlalasecandbeyourselfagain...



  7. Dear ian,
    Yes. Ok. It's IDEAS about being a buddha that I chafe against. Ideas about there being layer upon repressed layer of screwed-upedness needing fixing or sorting out, is complete folly. There are no layers. No onion to peel.