Buddhist Blog Swap: The Interview Answers

Time for another Buddhist Blogger Swap. This is actually my first one on Posterous. This time we created questions that our partners generously answered. My partner was my friend Kyle from The Reformed Buddhist. Check out Precious Metal later today for the list of Participants.

1. What is your religious background prior to your conversion? Why'd you turn to Buddhism from Catholicism / agnosticism.

I had long since left the Catholic church, and up to that point in my life I was just existing, never really taking the time to examine the big questions in life. Oddly enough, I was wandering around a Borders bookstore, and the cover a book that was something like  Buddhism, Zen and Tantra caught my eye. I looked in, flipping through the pages, and came across two things that changed the direction of my life. One was the four noble truths, which resonated with me greatly at that point in my life. The second was a conjecture by the author that he said the Buddha said most beings aren't awake to true reality; almost like it was a dare for me to explore more.

2. Do you fell that you have converted or are still a Catholic /agnostic with a different viewpoint?

Nope, I'm converted, albeit in a reformed manner than most of my Buddhist counterparts.

3. What is your practice and how did you come to it?

I just sit these days, not much more. With the lack of any teacher, I now just attempt to sit bringing myself back to the breathe.

4. Do you feel that your practice has helped you though the rough spots in your life? How so?

Yes, it has taught me how to detach and let go, not to hold on so hard to the things that hurt me. Now, just letting go of the things that give me pleasure…..that I am still working on.

5. What is your position on engaged Buddhism? How far is too far?

Engaged, yes in so far as it is a part of ones life. Engaged as in a political movement, no as in that just ends up being another thing we grasp too.

6. Should we as "Second Generation" Buddhists be more active in the promotion of Buddhism? Again where do we draw the line or should a line be drawn at all?

At first, I would have said yes about the promotion bit, but as I have gotten older, I realize how difficult it is for people to come to grips with the teachings without putting their own slant on it, making it out to be something it isn't. Call me jaded I'd guess.

7. How do feel about fusion Buddhists such as Christian Buddhists or Jewish Buddhists? Is this a legitimate practice?

Yes, Buddhism never asks one to relinquish their beliefs. Indeed, we all have beliefs, just as powerful as religious beliefs when we begin practice. What those beliefs are hardly makes a difference when we learn to just sit with things as they are.

8. If there is one issue you feel needs addressing in the Western Buddhist Sangha, if there is such a thing, what do you think it is?

Expansion. We need to find ways to get more teachers and sanghas out there. Right now, there are too many people practicing alone, with no guidance. This is very pressing I think.

9. You've professed a tendency towards Zen Practice? Which flavor, and why?

Yes, Zen. Because it cuts through the bullshit of extra bits and gets one right into being the practice. First Rinzai, but lately just a Soto flavor, since Koans are impossible to practice without a teacher.

10. How do you feel that practice has shaped your marriage?

It has led to excellent discussions and a great understanding of expectations of what a marriage should be. I feel that I am a better husband because of my practice, but I have a long way to go.!

Thanks, Kyle!


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