On Being Raised Buddhist

From Stephanie: So the other night I had dinner with two good friends in Commons (the dining hall at Bates- a blast from the past for someone off the meal plan).  Our discussion spanned all sorts of topics and of course religion was one of them (you would have to understand the crowd- a religion major and a philosophy major).  But anyway, I began to speak about how I felt being raised Buddhist has profoundly shaped me as a human being.  And not in a “holier-than-thou” way but in noticeable and (I think) special ways.

It manifests very much in certain situations.  For example, I tend to “get Buddhist” when I lose things.  Impermanence man.  And usually I can let things go that way.  However, this year for the first time I lost something that no amount of Buddhist rationalizing could temper the sense of loss I was feeling.  The object that was lost: a fake fur stole.  Now this was a fake fur mass that one drapes around one’s neck and it creates a luxurious fur collar.  It made me feel about 75 years old and glamorous.  In short, I loved it.  But anyway, I mistakenly took this fur stole out with me to a show on a Friday night.  A tip for all Bates students: don’t bring anything you like out with you on a weekend night.  It will be gone.  And you will be sad.  Like I was when I couldn’t find my fur stole after the show.  I lamented the entire night and into the morning.  When I woke up still depressed, I decided a simple acceptance of impermanence wouldn’t cut it.  Buddhism wasn’t enough.  I needed to feel the sweet warmth of that stole around my neck, not find the Middle Way.  So I hopped in my car to drive over to the place where the concert was held for maybe it wasn’t stolen and I would find it and could move on with my life.  As I was driving there, I saw a mass of fur by the side of the road.  It was my stole!  I can’t tell you how happy I was!  I leapt out of the car and put it immediately around my neck.  It smelled a bit as I had just taken it off the ground and it had been outside all night but it was my stole.  It was great. [More…]

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