As I study the teachings of Buddha and enjoy the parables that are infused thoughout the text I know he just wants us all to avoid suffering.  The stories tell of people who made the wrong choices and the consequences were dire.  If only they had not been greedy, angry or ignorant and choosen instead the right path they would be walking the earth as enlightened beings who are happy. 

  I imagine the same message is in the bible too. It is for our own good that we are told these rules of living so that we do not suffer.  No one wants to suffer and people want to know where they go when they die so religion has it all covered for you if you follow the path to the light and not to the dark.  Apparently the dark side holds horrors that the senses provide and if we indulge in them we pay.  

  I am paying now as I get older and feel the tide coming in on my life.  As I look back on 68 long years I can see where I took a path of pleasure that was greedy and indulgent.  I should have been more temperant in my decisions and not tasted life quite so robustly.  I had been warned.  My mother tried to tell me what good girls were like and my Dad thought he was some kind of Buddhist and loved the middle way.  They were beautiful people but I didn't see too much happiness and fun.  There seemed to be lots of fear about all those sensual, greedy, ignorant choices that were everywhere just waiting to trip us up.

   So I ate too much. As a teenager I was bulimic and indulged in that sick behavior for quite a few years.  I think I was rebelling against control.  Maybe I was just being piggy and trying to get a free ride for all the excess food I ate that I knew I shouldn't have eaten.  It was a vicious cycle and I broke it when I went to college and just decided to eat what I wanted.  I got bigger but so what?  There are many kinds of suffering.  Maybe Buddha and Christ needed to be more clear about what kind of suffering they are talking about.  The little death of an orgasm is something to be cherished, not avoided.

   There is the ache of a full stomach, the regret of an illicit affair and the angst of a poor score on a test. The anxiety of failing is excrutiating.  No success like failure and failure is no success at all.  The law of karma seems to be the only thing that really makes sense to me.  There are consequences.  If you want to avoid them don't do the stupid stuff to begin with.  Why is that so difficult?

    Because the stupid stuff is fun.  I love fun.  I miss fun with someone else but I still know how to have fun by myself.  I am amused by life.  There are so many different patterns to this existence and I like how the Buddhists explain the universe as a blank slate.  What you write is what will be, so be aware and careful.  If you think you are hot stuff someone will come along and mess with your vibrations and throw you for a loop.  So be prepared to fail.  Just don't expect not to be happy.  Humans deserve a little fun. I think religions should stop trying to protect us from suffering and encourage us to take a few chances and enjoy life's ups as well as the downs.  Riding the waves can be fun.

   Freedom and responsibility go hand in hand.  Rest and relax so you can enjoy each new day.

Views: 194

Comment by Julie Johnson on June 12, 2015 at 5:08am

Good words, Zanelle !  I'm going to keep them in mind this morning, as I head out into 'the world'.  

Comment by JMac1949 Today on June 12, 2015 at 9:12am

R&L ;-D But to the Buddha and the Church Lady I have this to say, from Nikos Kazantzakis and Zorba the Greek:

"I expect nothing. I fear no one. I am free.”

Comment by Zanelle on June 12, 2015 at 9:17am

Oh I like that jmac.  Who am I to challenge the validity of religion?  Glad to be in such good company tho.

Good luck in the world, Julie.  Im heading out to camp with my daughters.  I wonder about getting old and frail and being dependent on them.  Oh geez.  Life can be so humbling.  sigh.

Comment by Anna Herrington on June 12, 2015 at 9:28am

There are herbs called adaptogens, that help 'normalize' a body's systems, regardless of which direction out of balance the system is. The herb's properties aid in bringing a balance to the individual.

I think the *ideal* of growing older is supposed to be similar - not that so many of us do well with this, maybe.

The older I get, the more I try to bring into a better balance those areas I used to indulge, wildly or no - sometimes succeeding, sometimes, not at all. I've also noticed my body is telling me loud and clear which areas I have had a lifetime's worth already - and I don't get to indulge with that at all, anymore, or suffer those consequences of imbalance....too easily when older, turned into disease. injury. frailty. whathaveyou.

I still have those indulgent areas - some imbalances in the body seem to be worth it, to my greedy mind.


Comment by nerd cred on June 12, 2015 at 9:31am

... As I look back on 68 long years I can see where I took a path of pleasure that was greedy and indulgent.  I should have been more temperant in my decisions and not tasted life quite so robustly.

I'm not sure I agree. I took a more temperate path. I think you did better. I think where you are now is about the best of anyone I've known and I think you are wiser than most, too. At 68 you're spending the weekend camping with your daughters - you did well. That will continue, I'm sure.

Comment by Jerry DeNuccio on June 12, 2015 at 10:30am

Buddhism has always impressed me as both fearless and provocative.  It says, flatly, unsugar-coated, that change happens and that suffering results from attachment to things of the world.  Then, it basically asks, "do you have the wherewithal to abandon your yesterday and remake your tomorrow by doing something about it"?  In this country, happiness is made to almost seem an obligation we must pursue, but I like what Hawthorne says: "Happiness in this world, when it comes, comes incidentally.  Make it an object of pursuit, and it leads us a wild-goose chase.  Follow some other object, and very possibly we may find that we have caught happiness without dreaming of it."  For many people, that "other object" is a faith tradition.

Comment by Zanelle on June 12, 2015 at 11:30am

Jerry, I always loved the simple truth of Buddhism too but the avoid suffering stuff got to me as I read the teachings here.  I agree that you cant chase get it by the way as you explore the world in other ways.   Good thought.

Thanks for the compliment nc but I am pretty nervous with all this getting older stuff and being alone.  Then when I am rested and eating I get brave. 

Anna,  adaptogens.  I love that word.  Ill look into them but mostly I think the bad is sometimes a good thing and a big fight can release some of the tension and right the balance again in some odd way.  There are no easy answers.  Peace is possible tho.

Comment by Anna Herrington on June 12, 2015 at 12:55pm

" a big fight can release some of the tension "

Well, this does seem to be how/why we are still married, over here.  ha!   : )

Making up is fun, anyway.

Comment by Heidi Banerjee on June 14, 2015 at 7:45am

Per coincidence, I am also reading literature on Buddhism. There is one book in particular I like which I have read about 20yrs ago.

"Pure Heart, Enlightened Mind" by Maura Soshin O'Halloran ( THE LIFE & LETTERS OF AN IRISH ZEN SAINT )

Comment by vzn on June 14, 2015 at 10:07am
re jmacs comment, reminds me. you might enjoy the writings of osho who considered himself espousing a philosophy of "zorba the buddha"... have read several of his books last few yrs... he was in many ways a sensualist!


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