With a little encouragement from my friend Christopher King, I discovered Buddhism as a way of life in 1989. At the time, I was transitioning out of the Veteran Administration’s outpatient drug and alcohol program in Salt Lake City and I was looking for a practice to sustain me. I was looking for an approach to living that would help me stay sober, positive, healthy, and alive.
For the last two months on Thursday evenings I’ve been offering teachings on meditation. These teachings have been loosely based on Pema Chodron’s brief, easy to read and highly understandable book called How to Meditate: A Practical Guide to Making Friends With Your Mind. I especially like Pema Chodron’s making friends with your mind approach to meditation. It’s so down-to-earth and real.
“The Buddha” is in you
Despite all the ways I think I’m different from others, I also try to see how we’re the same. Here’s one way I think we’re the same. Each of us is a mystery. Whatever this life is, at rock bottom, we don’t know what it is, or who, or what we are. While I’m at it, there’s another way we’re all the same. No matter what, whether I meet an inmate at the corrections facility, a homeless person in Gloucester, or a member at Sweeping Heart Zen, that person, just like me, longs to feel whole, content, and happy. So, in my view, we’re each a mystery that longs for peace and joy, and the welfare of those we love. To me, this is what Zen and some other schools of Buddhism mean when we talk about our shared Buddha Nature. And it’s what I mean when I say that “The Buddha” is in you.