02 July, 2007

"Buddhism is just a word." (1)

That is not how I would put it.

On the other hand I would not have claimed it to be anything. This was told me by a young monk, resident here in Paris. Since then I have made tentative feints into that land of a word. That is all it takes. Even pretending can bring good results.

The last effort was south of the Loire at a place called Fondjouan. It is near Mur-de-Sologne.

If you try to find it on a map good luck.

But it can be found. We found it.


Blogger Elsie said...

Dear Jack, I've read and re-read your last few posts many times. I almost wasn't going to comment, thinking that I'd come across as too preachy, but then I decided that I'd just lay it out there, and let you think what you will.

Having gone through both difficult and amazing times in my life (haven't we all?), I've "dabbled" in many different "religions." I admit that I learned only a little bit about a lot of them. Buddhism was among those I found most appealing. After trying to learn about the basics and the history, and truthfully trying to figure my own self out somewhat, a friend suggested that I try reading Thich Nhat Hanh,"one of the most beloved Buddhist teachers in the west." I believe my friend sent me that way because, having been well grounded and raised a Christian, I might relate to his teachings -- comparing and relating Christianity and Buddhism vs. comparing and contrasting. Now, I'm not saying that Thich Nhat Hanh is the definitive authority, but I was able to understand some of what I was trying to learn a lot better.

You mentioned your lovely wife having been noticed more of what was happening than you did. "Mindfulness, the capacity to be here, to witness everything that happens in the present moment, is the beginning of enlightenment." She most certainly is an interesting woman. I wish I could know her. I think you two are lucky to have each other.

I've completely lost my train of thought and where I was going with all this, Jack. I suppose that it is along the lines of sometimes just the searching changes us in ways we will never understand. I hope that my searching has at least made me a more understanding, less angry person than I had become. Being more comfortable in my own mind, in my own place, has made it easier to overlook perceived slights and hurt and, hopefully, give myself more freely to the world. Generosity of spirit (giving time and talent) does a lot to, perhaps selfishly, boost my own spirits.

Thich Nhat Hanh has a retreat in Loubes-Bernac, France.

Buddhism is far more than a word. Peace.

Anonymous Jack in Paris said...

Hi Elsie,

I will have thought what I will in any case.

"...sometimes just the searching changes us..." is exactly what I wished to get across. Thank you for putting it so succinctly. And thanks for the time you put into these last few posts of mine.


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