Thursday, July 3, 2008

Buddhism, or Setting Myself Up for More Failure

After I got a ton of traffic from that last post about "Marie Claire Vs. Details" (thanks GlossedOver!), I'd decided to write more about my ruminations on crappy women's magazines . . . but then I was sidetracked (ADD anyone?) by my OTHER active ruminations, on Buddhism of all things. So I decided to write about that first. Yeah, we'll see how it goes . . .

A little background: as a lifelong hardly-practicing Christian, I have come to the conclusion that while Christianity is certainly a perfectly valid form of spiritual practice for those who choose it, it's just not my thing (I'll take this opportunity to apologize for offending the sensibilities of any wayward family member who might happen to be reading this -- uh, sorry). What is? Not entirely sure, but have always been drawn to Buddhism, at least intellectually -- I know a small bit about it after taking a religion course on it in college and doing some reading on my own.
There are a number of reason it appeals to me, and I won't bore you by enumerating any of them (and the collective sigh of relief . . . ). I will, however, allow you to join me as I peruse and react to a list of the Five Buddhist Precepts (kind of like commandments, except without the "eternal damnation" clause attached -- phew!).

Buddhist Precepts

There are five precepts commonly observed by Buddhists:

1. To avoid killing or harming any living being. No problem here, I don't hunt, don't even like to squish bugs (though those giant cockroaches in Florida were asking for it). Oh, well, there is that pesky meat-eating thing. Does that count? Hmmmm.

2. To avoid taking that which has not been given. Now this I can do. Except for all those books and DVDs I borrow and, er, forget to return. But you can help me on this one -- do not, under any circumstances, ever loan me a book or DVD. Or CD. Or clothing. Or money. Especially money. Okay, I think we're good.

3. To avoid committing sexual misconduct. I did a little research on this one (I mean, come on, this is not very specific, is it?) -- apparently it basically means don't have sex with someone with whom it is "improper" for you to have sex. Excellent. One definition of "improper," by the way, is "abnormal or irregular." That should be easy to avoid. Maybe.

4. To avoid using false words. Okay, no lying. I'm a horrible liar anyway, so I'm very nearly in the clear on that one. This is looking pretty good. And finally . . .

5. To avoid taking alcohol and other intoxicants. Whoa, wait a minute here. Seriously? Shit.

Disclaimer (necessary due to an overactive sense of guilt from my previous incarnation as a Catholic): This is, of course, in no way meant to disrespect Buddhism. It's merely my gut-level reactions to a set of standards that I will, very sadly, find it hard to live up to . . . fortunately, Buddhists have lifetimes to achieve enlightenment, so it's relatively low-pressure situation. Nice.


vandamonium said...

Numbers 1 and 2 are no problem, 3 shouldn't be a problem either. My health issues prevent me from going down that path. Number 4 is the way I am anyway. Won't be hard to keep on keeping on. However, number 5 is the one I have the biggest problem with. I've gone 21 days now without a cigarette and I pretty much quit drinking at all. I have maybe a couple of beers once a week. So where I have been calling myself an agnostic I guess I'm a lot closer to being a Buddhist.

So, what part of Illinois are you from? My ex grew up in Granite City.

I come from a family of educators. My father was in the San Antonio School District for a little over 32 years and both of my sisters are teachers and have been ever since college.

I was without a computer for almost a year and this is the most I have written at one time since then. I got a new laptop on the 1st of this month and I've been getting it set up for the last couple of days. Gotta get some sleep now. I have to host Karaoke tonight at 9:30. TTYL

vandamonium a.k.a. van......

Angela S. said...

Hey Van, thanks for stopping by . . . interestingly, I'm in that same general part of Illinois, closer to the St. Louis area, actually, but have only been here for about a year . . . I tend to move around. A lot.

Anyway, congrats on the quitting smoking! Yup, #5 is what's going to get me, though. It's tough being human . . .

katinka - spirituality said...

I also feel very inspired by Buddhism. The five precepts just make sense, don't they?

Dennis said...

Hi Angela,
I stumbled onto your blog and I would like to add a thought to number 4.

False words also includes perspectives and delusions. One way we commonly see this is when someone hurts our feelings we might say, "You're an a#*hole!" rather than the more accurate response, "I am hurt when you .... (whatever the action was)".

Remembering an incident often carries selected outtakes and modifications. rather than precision of events. So what is more to the truth is how one is affected now.

Thanks for letting me post,