Thursday, February 22, 2007


We watched a most moving documentary on Buddhism, shot in 2006, and sponsored by National Geographic. It was an interesting adjunct for the studying I've done (which is not vast) on the Tibetan Book of the Dead. I was asked on a few memorable occasions to recite from the Book of the Dead for a couple of our AIDS patients in Guelph, who were near their transition. As an interfaith aboriginal minister, I have tried to broaden my understanding of world religions to be able to serve those I am responsible to, and for...

This documentary was not about death directly, but I observed the concepts in practice of meditation, and understanding the "science of the mind" as it relates to life journey. In the west we run around and live frantically, doing anything we can to cheat death - we fear death. Yet, Buddhists spend their whole lives preparing for death - the principle issue is transcendence of the suffering of daily life through their spiritual practices, and obtainable enlightenment. This enlightenment is available to everyone through simple means.

Brian was part of the Transcendental Meditation group (TM) for something like 15 years... he was a diligent practitioner of meditation, even moving his family to live in a TM co-op near Ottawa for awhile. When we met, he had not been actively practicing his meditation or yoga for quite some time, and has always spoken of a desire to do it again... He remarked last night that he and his ex spent an hour meditating in the morning, and an hour in the evening on top of working full time - this was a long-term lifestyle for them. They "found" the time that he can't "find" now... Finding is passive - "making" time is active and assertive... I asked him if the evolution toward the native way of thinking had quashed his meditation. He is processing that thought, but doubts that's a part of what stops him now... 2500 years of Buddhism, and 400,000,000+/- practitioners world-wide must be doing something right.

So I am pondering what similarities there are between native thinking and Buddhism... certainly modern First Nations peoples are still reflecting the hurts and disenfranchisement of contact - if I am to compare these two philosophies, I think I have to do that from a pre-contact perspective. The Buddha created 84,000 tenets of Buddhism - I know I won't find that kind of comparable formality within my own spirit walk - this should be an interesting exercise.

I'll keep you posted on what I figure are the main similarities and differences between the two perspectives... I welcome emails with your thoughts...

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