Saturday, April 19, 2008

It's not just me

"This threefold characterization of the nature of the world and all it contains-sorrowful, transient, and soulless- is frequently repeated in Buddhist literature, and without fully grasping its truth no being has any chance of salvation."-Theodore de Bary (Ed.); The Buddhist Tradition in India, China, and Japan

It's always comforting in my times of Existential crisis to know that there's a whole religion based on what I'm feeling. I think that's why I've always felt right at home with Buddhist thought. Not only does the philosophy of the big B teach inclusion, moderation, and meditiation, but also the realization of sorrow. It's the first step towards enlightenment. I love it. I'm like three steps away from enlightenment.

All kidding aside, I think that this is a crucial component of Buddhist thought that seems to be left out in the New age spirituality of our Western world that takes a lot of its cues from Eastern thought and especially Buddhism. Meditation and yoga are all the rage, and there are solid health reasons for that, if also hipness and image reasons that leave a bad taste.

There's just something about the whole New Age thing, to be ridiculously vague and general about it, that gives me shivers. It feels wrong and off and like a false positive, but I love the real deal. Old school Buddhist writings or even just new school non-western stuff feels more honest. I could never put my finger on what was missing until the other day when I read that line. It really seems like a lot of new age stuff dilutes out this important element of the philosophy for a feel-good good time. Once again, I'm working on vibes here, so take that for what it's worth.

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