While one might say that I’m going through a “Buddhist phase” at this point, I’m not entirely sure what the best description is.
This began with me watching an anime based on the Chinese classic Journey to the West. The anime is called “Saiyuki” (the Japanese title; compare to the Chinese “Xi You Ji”), though the title is actually written 最遊記 instead of 西遊記.
So I began reading a book I picked up a while back, or downloaded would be the actual thing I did, but anyway, Daniel Ingram’s Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha, and let me tell you, it rocked my world. You can purchase a copy or read it online or download it; Daniel has it on his website.
Anyway, very quickly, ya gotta understand that in high school, I kind of floundered between Paganism and Buddhism for a while, and these past several years, I’ve had an ill-at-ease relationship with Christianity as best, mainly because I’m only concerned with the mystical components and the imagery that support that inner transformative mysticism.
Unfortunately, 99% of self-proclaimed Christians aren’t interested in those things at best, and at worst, they would condemn mysticism and such as being “of the Devil.” So, fuck ’em. I don’t have time to waste on that.
What I’ve discovered is the continuing process of “we bring ourselves, as in, in our maturity, our experiences, and so forth” to whatever path we’re walking. (Canova phrases this differently: she said, “Canova being Pagan in her 20s doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing as Canova being Pagan in her 30s.” Of course, we mean the same thing.)
My serious journey into mysticism started around the autumn of 2007, and that’s when I turned toward Christianity and began trying to make peace with it, searching through the mysticism and so on. And it’s interesting that in the autumn of 2017, ten years later, that would finally all collapse (but many people have noticed it’s been giving away for a while).
This is where things get interesting, though.
You see, in Buddhism, there’s a such thing a “skillful means,” and thus it’s possible to participate in other religions, their imagery, and their practices if they’re conducive toward attaining Nirvana.
Moreover, instead of seeing a conflict of worldviews among Paganism, Buddhism, and Christianity, I now see rather the internal clarity- I see that Buddhism can, in many ways, subsume both Paganism and Christianity as these can both be skillful means to Nirvana.
Which leads us to the point about how we’re still definitely celebrating Advent, Christmas, and so on, and also leads to the point about how I’ve been celebrating the Holy Eucharist in my home, by myself; Apostolic Succession and hierarchical structures be damned. I’ll still pray the rosary and use Christian prayers when it seems conducive and suitable. The biggest point here is that literally no one can stop me from doing any of this.
The goal is to attain Nirvana, not to fit neatly and squarely into a presupposed image of what some religion is meant to look like.
So I’ll celebrate the Holy Eucharist in my home, I’ll do rituals with Pagans, and I’ll keep doing vipassana meditation and chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.
And in some ways, this means that I’m more Gnostic than ever.
Honestly, Jordan Stratford was on the mark about Gnosticism being “Catholic on the outside and Buddhist on the inside.” He also said Gnostics quote a lot of dead Greek guys, but that’s not accurate on my end, but yeah, my Gnosticism is pretty much Buddhism in Catholic drag, so I mean I dunno what to tell anyone beyond that.
So am I a Buddhist? Maybe, but the goal is Nirvana and to realize the beyondness of it all, so there won’t be anyone left to be a Buddhist, just the Buddha Nature existing in all things as it always does anyway.
Hugs and kisses to those who’d like them,