Life as an Extreme Sport

Broken Buddhas

claimtoken-5134dd6ba13d0 For Nicholas. I, as you most likely know, am a Buddhist. I am a very bad Buddhist: I drink, swear like a sailor, and until recently was a very happy ethical omnivore. I make my amends, though, and one way I do that is through routine meditation practice. As an offshoot of that, I have a lot of boddhisatva statues around my house. They’ve been on my mind lately – probably because, in the recent CLEAN ALL THE THINGS push, I’ve handled each of them to wash, dust, and reposition them. From where I’m sitting on my bed, I can actually see four statues: a Green Tara, a Kuan Yin, a weeping Buddha and my yard gnome Buddha.So named because I found him as garden statuary in a garden store. There are at least another two Buddhas in other areas of my home. And what struck me about them

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why “but buddhism is a philosophy” is obnoxious

Earlier today, my Twitter buddy Tauriq Moosa retweeted a link to Martin Pribble’s lastest blog post, titled What’s the Harm in Religion? I find a lot of the atheist blogger output to be interesting, and trust that anything Tauriq retweets will at least be thought-provoking, so I clicked and read. And sure enough, thought-provoking is one way to put it. Right in the first paragraph is one of those things that has me gritting my teeth and rolling my eyes, hard: And herein lies the problem with religions; they, by their nature, encroach upon the non-religious areas of life and influence decisions on a social and political level. Uhm. Okay. And from there, Pribble goes on to make some pretty gross generalizations about religions, period, which of course, by virtue of being gross generalizations, are wrong. And being irritated and pre-coffee and armed with Twitter, I fired off a quick

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Katharsis

While my copy of Poetics has apparently gone walkabout, it seems like a general reminder of the meaning of katharsis might be timely. Why were people celebrating in the streets that bin Laden is dead? Because they feel this overwhelming catharsis, and that’s the only way they know how to express it. It often surprises people to learn that a cathartic is any substance that purges feces from the body, or that the original Greek phrase specified the purging of menstrual fluid and semen. In fact, that’s why Aristotle snagged the term for Poetics – he wanted that medical association of purging, because he saw catharsis as being an emotional cleansing, purging, or evacuation. In Poetics, catharsis is the extreme change in emotion that happens for character and audience after strong emotion, something that is achieved often through opposition – laughter set against tears, death that comes immediately after success

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A Bad Buddhist’s Thoughts on bin Laden’s Death

How can you be a Buddhist, and celebrate someone’s death? Isn’t that contradictory? I’m sure the question is going around. I’ve seen quite a few people already make the broader and more vague “could never be happy anyone has died” – to which I say, really? Really? I realize that World War II ended 66 years ago, but really? You would have been sad Hitler died? I just question the sentiment, that’s all. And before anyone wants to tell me that I’m Godwinning things from the outset, let me say that Hitler is actually relevant to the conversation, at least in regards to being Buddhist and finding the deep relief and release of joy that comes from that, from bin Laden’s death. How is it relevant, aside from the synchronicity in dates of death? Well, most of the conversations that exist with the Dalai Lama regarding violence and the deaths

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strange hopes

There are strange things to hope for in life. Being woken up by my sister, so she can tell me Mom has died, is probably going to top the list for a long time. But it’s true, it’s what we’re all hoping for. She’s been semi-comatose all day, and we’re pretty sure she just checked out completely while the chaplain was attending to her. She has gone from being agitated, talking, trying to move, get water, wanting to hold our hands with desperate grip, to being curled within herself. Mother, that which is called death has now arrived. You are leaving this world. But in this you are not alone. This happens to everyone. Do not be attached to this life! Do not cling to this life! Even if you remain attached and clinging, you do not have the power to stay. Marianne, beloved child of Christ, beloved wife and

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