Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart


Is the Middle Path a Buddhist myth…?

The other day I was ranting about some injustice, and the way people were so unbalanced in their perceptions, and my husband stopped me cold.

“You know the Middle Path is just a Buddhist myth, don’t you?” he asked, only half in jest.

WHAT! It’s like he told me, when I was a vulnerable 6-year-old, that there was no Santa Claus. No tooth fairy. No happily ever after… Of course there’s a middle path, and people just need to be shown it to walk it happily.

Riiiight. Just like everyone loves Yo Yo Ma’s cello… (don’t they?).

In fact, that brings to mind the Buddhist analogy of the Middle Way~ lute strings tuned neither too tightly nor too loosely, but tuned just right to produce music. It’s a lovely metaphor, one I return to when I can’t seem to make music from my own tightly strung self-righteousness. More of a skreee than a song…

It’s hard to meet people in their good intentions. I’m thinking of a family  member on my Facebook, w/ whom I disagree on most things: politics, faith, environment, business… In fact, I think about all we would agree on is that we love our family :). So when he asks me loaded political questions, I try to respond w/ lovingkindness. Even when I know he’s going to come right back at me, and not get my point.

Because it’s what Buddhists try to do. It’s what we all need more of: people who will meet us in our good intentions, as he does me, as I try to him. I’m not very good at it. It’s what this whole blog project is about, why it began in the first place. I get excited, go off not-even-half-cocked, and blow :). So I decided to write about how we (I) might learn to be a better Buddhist, a better Unitarian, more practiced in lovingkindness.

In a recent issue of Friends Journal, there was a piece about ‘meeting at the center,’ and how we can hew to our own paths, while still meeting in love & respect in the middle. So that, for instance, Christians who find Buddhism heretical may still engage with me in our mutual respect for kindness, for social justice. And Buddhists who believe the Buddha is a deity can still find my reverence for the man respectful. We don’t have to agree, but we relinquish the desire to feel superior for our own beliefs, to  wield our spiritual beliefs arrogantly, as weapons.

That’s hard. But unlike my husband’s teasing question, I don’t believe that the Middle Path is a myth. Nor is it only for Buddhists. It’s where far more of us should walk. Even if some of us (me!) are still taking very baby steps…

 



Previous Posts

day 23 of Thanksgiving month: soundtracks
The other day I wrote about how much I love music, how it's one of my everyday gratitudes. Which set me to thinking: what would my life's soundtrack be? What would I like to exit to? You have to realise: I pick

posted 6:07:08pm Nov. 23, 2014 | read full post »

day 22 of Thanksgiving month: the kindness of strangers
Today's gratitude is slightly abashed. I'm grateful for kindness -- even my own, actually. And abashed that it's noticed so...noticeably...? Because if just joking w/ the Starbuck's barista, and teasing her about

posted 10:42:50pm Nov. 22, 2014 | read full post »

day 21 of Thanksgiving month
Today a very simple gratitude, but profound. Music. That ineffable language writers have tried to capture for centuries. Working to replicate its nuance, the way it creates dancing in the bones, melancholy in the he

posted 9:01:39pm Nov. 21, 2014 | read full post »

day #20 of Thanksgiving month
 It's an older picture, but still appropriate for today's post. Because here's my gratitude today: my grandson recognizes me! Before you think I've totally lost my marbles, let me explain. My grandson is only 18 months old next week. I haven't seen him f2f for the past 4 months. And despite grea

posted 7:04:57pm Nov. 20, 2014 | read full post »

day #17 of Thanksgiving: drive, she said
Americans take our ability to drive ourselves wherever for granted. I'm probably the only person I know who didn't drive until in my 20s. Yes, I 'learned' to drive. Took the test at 16 (the legal age when I was

posted 5:32:53pm Nov. 17, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.