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Monday, June 6, 2011

Looking for Buddha in All the Wrong Places

Pip and Tabs in Hawaii (Big Island), March 2010
*note Tabs' bloody eye from body surfing incident.
My spiritual journey through Buddhism --from the very first meditation lesson I received and the Buddhist philosophy books I've read--has often been frustrating and disappointing. Though in fact, the first lesson was the best (I loved the happy nun who taught it)  and I admit the most rewarding Buddhist information I have received is through books. Without the books I would be lost.
Perhaps Western Canada is a  spiritual wasteland, at least as far as Buddhism is concerned. I have yet to meet any inspirational Buddhist leaders in Kelowna or fellow meditators.
I could tell so many strange stories about the odd characters I've encountered on my journey. The grotty basements I have been to... the peanut-butter-eating, lip-smacking arrogant monks...all in the name of my spiritual quest.
I am searching for the secrets of the universe. I believe Buddhism holds at least one of the keys.
My latest disappointment lies in believing other Vipassana "leaders" are genuine. I did much service, finding the experienced Vipassana students a place to meditate and the woman who was supposed to be one of the leaders based in Kelowna proved to be untrustworthy. So yet again, it seems a meditation group based in Kelowna is not to be.
So meditating in isolation seems to be the Kelowna norm for a true Theravada Buddhist. Vipassana was different in that I found my teacher Veronika to be somewhat inspirational. However, the Vipassana centre was frustrating in many ways too. I am not speaking of the gruelling aspects but rather how that because they are a non secular form of mediation (although based on Buddhism), one learns very little philosophy. They gear the meditation trainings to the masses. I felt stifled. Because I have read much Buddhist philosophy and have meditated on my own for years, I advanced quickly and wanted more, yet they are focused on teaching basic meditation to the masses.
What's an aspiring Buddha to do?
It gives me comfort knowing that earthly spiritual quests are horrid for the most part. I look at Jesus Christ and how his earthly spiritual quest ended with his own torture and brutal murder at the hands of ignorant haters.
So yes, my journey is a cake walk thus far.

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