Of My liberal religion

First me let me start off by defining a word. A word that has a nasty connotation here in Texas.

Liberal:

favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs (according to dictionary.com)

synonyms include:

 
1.  progressive  broad-minded, unprejudiced.  beneficent,charitable, openhanded, munificent, unstinting, lavish


1.  reactionary. 8.  intolerant. 9, 10.  niggardly

Hmmm….seems that liberal might have been unfairly maligned, huh?   

As a Buddhsit, I feel liek we've been trying to re-invent the wheel. There is a place for shikentaza and koan practice and sesshin, certainly?

But is there any reason that that same place can't host pot-lucks and classes on druidic shamanism?

I really don't see why not.

Maybe it's because I'm attached to the forms of Christianity but the manners and the whole attitude of the Zen Center system as it has come to be in these United States is entirely too solemn and almost a farce of itself. I respect anyone who can take themselves that seriously. I admire anyone who can approach their practice with such single-minded focus. I can't. I need more.

I need a welcoming smile and a friendly conversation. I need someone to show me around and answer questions and not two Wednesdays from now when the next class. Why not now? 

So I've found myself attending and now joining a Unitarian Universalist Church. My family likes it. It's welcoming to families. My wife likes it, it's familiar and doesn't require a Japanese/Chinese/Pali glossary. 

So have we given up Buddhism? Nope. It's our worldview. I haven't given up Zen practice, either. I'm not interested in the strict monastic type practice that is the rule at most Soto zen centers. I'll do Rohatsu sesshins and half days , if they'll have me, as I do feel like I might eventually leave home if Mountains and Rivers or Boundless Way or one of the other truly American Zen orders will have me as a student then teacher from faraway Texas.

I might even try and get a Dokusan in here and there with the teacher there. She is a good teacher and they have a good Center, I just don't think that type of practice is for me. I'll sit and I'll listen and I'll read.

My sangha however will be the sangha of the world in the microcosm of my Church family. 

I'm a UU Zen Buddhist. I'm not the first and I won't be the last but I do feel like I fit into the puzzle, here.

Gassho.
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