Saturday, January 13, 2007

keeping the faith

Many of my friends have turned to Christianity of late.
My life has been flung into quandary.

After being a confirmed Catholic for, like, a million years - after much thought, I realised that I am not partial to Christianity. For reasons I shall not state for fear of being annihilated by a stray pulpit.

So, in keeping up with the trends of newly found enlightenment, I did my research and concluded that I quite enjoy the whole Buddhism vibe.
The ‘your reincarnation is defined by your actions on Earth, and if you’re good you’ll come back as Heidi Klum and if you’re bad, you’ll come back as a slug’ philosophy, really makes the most sense to me.

So I Googled “How to become a Buddhist.”
This is what I found:

How to become a Buddhist

A DIY Guide: What do I do to become a Buddhist?

To take refuge, it is best done with the guidance of a monk. However, if such a person is not available [I like this – it covers troubleshooting – Ed] , one may take refuge before an image of the Buddha. Place this image, which may be a statue, a picture or even a computer graphic [I like this too – very New Age – Ed] such that when you kneel before it, it is at the level of your head or higher. Kneel before the image and put your palms together at your chest. Compose yourself, calm your mind and bow three times to the image such that your palms and forehead touches the floor. Then recite the following formula in Pali, which is the ancient language of the scriptural texts.

Namo tassa, bhagavato, arahato samma sambuddhasa
Namo tassa, bhagavato, arahato samma sambuddhasa
Namo tassa, bhagavato, arahato, samma sambuddhasa

Buddham saranam gacchami,
Dhammam saranam gacchami,
Sangham saranam gacchami.

Dutiyampi Buddham saranam gacchami,
Dutiyampi Dhammam saranam gacchami,
Dutiyampi Sangham saranam gacchami.
Tatiyampi Buddham saranam gacchami,
Tatiyampi Dhammam saranam gacchami,
Tatiyampi Sangham saranam gacchami

[Huh? Did I just practice devil worship out loud? That is very late 90’s and reeks of teenage angst – Ed]

This means:
Homage to Him, the Exalted One, the Worthy One, The Supremely Enlightened One
I go to the Buddha as my refuge.
I go to the Dhamma as my refuge.
I go to the Sangha as my refuge.

For the second time, I go to the Buddha as my refuge.
For the second time, I go to the Dhamma as my refuge.
For the second time, I go to the Sangha as my refuge.

For the third time, I go to the Buddha as my refuge.
For the third time, I go to the Dhamma as my refuge.
For the third time, I go to the Sangha as my refuge.

[Ohhhhh… - Ed]


You are now officially a Buddhist. [Shut up. Seriously? That was easy – Ed]But wait, the ceremony is not complete. [Too late she cried – Ed]The Buddha recommends that all his disciples keep the minimum of the Five Precepts. These are not rigid commandments that one is compelled to live by. They really are more like training rules that are taken voluntarily. They establish your virtue and protect you from harm in this life as well as in future lives. It is the foundation for your spiritual journey.

How do I take these Five Precepts?

Again, the Five Precepts are taken by reciting in Pali while in the kneeling position.

Panatipata veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami.
Adinnadana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami.
Kamesu micchacara veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami.
Musavada veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami.
Sura meraya majja pamadatthana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami

This means:
I undertake the precept of abstaining from destroying living creatures.
I undertake the precept of abstaining from taking anything not freely given.
I undertake the precept of abstaining from sexual misconduct. [Having sex in an exclusive relationship is not misconduct by my standards – Ed]
I undertake the precept of abstaining from false speech.
I undertake the precept of abstaining from taking intoxicants which lead to carelessness. [Well now. This is getting a wee bit shirty. Shall ignore, since is only a recommendation – Ed]

That's it, now you are a practising Buddhist. Welcome to the Path. This is only the beginning and it is suggested that you join a Buddhist community to support it and be supported by it, and to continue to learn the Buddha's Teachings.

[Awesome - Ed].

[Smoking Legs] bought me a toothbrush for when I stay over at his house. It has a supersonic grip and a built-in gum massager. Bless his motherlode of underpants - Ed]


other-duke said...

you're crazy ;)

Richard said...

Stray pulpit alert!

Why do you need a religion at all? It just seems like you've gone and chosen a religion to fit your current lifestyle. Since Christianity seems too strict for you, you've gone for Buddhism. Then Buddhism is too strict, so you've left some of the rules out. What's the point?

People who are religious, I think, find comfort in the structure. If you don't, why do it?

Peas on Toast said...

O-D - Touche. :)

Richard - I like the philospohy of Buddhism of being a generally good person will govern how you come back in your next life. And I do believe that I am a generally good person. The rules or precepts are there as recommendations, not hardfast rules.

Anonymous said...

I thnk spirituality is important when drunkenly trying to make meaning out of the world. I don't really follow any particular religion - I can of DIY it as I go, picking and choosing bits that make sense to me.

And my toothbrush is a far cry from your fancy one. It's old and miserable and at my BF's place. Poor thing.


Peas on Toast said...

Hello Jammie!

I also pick up my rules as I go along, for ultimatey God must have a sense of humour right? I mean, he created me, so he must do hey?

As for toothbrushes - Smoking Legs bought me a new one cos he couldn't handle my old manky one at his place any longer, and I think he's using it to clean his shoes now. :)

Richard said...

I hate to quote wikipedia but,

"The five precepts are not given in the form of commands such as "thou shalt not ...", but are training rules in order to live a better life in which one is happy, without worries, and can meditate well."

It also terms the five precepts as being basic morality.

Peas on Toast said...

Am I not basically moral Richard?

The last time I checked, I hadn't stolen anything, lied to anyone, committed fraud or wrestled a granny.

But cool, thanks for the link.

ChewTheCud said...

So - quick question - are you allowed to recite mantras in english or do you have to do it in mumbo-jumbo speak? Does this lend it an air of mystery? Stick to plain agnosticism like the rest of us. We get sundays off, no holds barred swearing and a "I'm better than you" attitude.

Did ya hear about the Exorcist remake? They're going to call in the devil to remove the priest from a boy.

Richard said...

Am I not basically moral Richard?

Well it's not for me to say. I guess that's between Buddhist teachings, Karma and you.

But I will say, that by society's standards (which are mine as well), you probably are a moral person.

Richard said... the ripping the soap dispenser off the wall and such.

Champagne Heathen said...

Sister Peas (or whatever dear Buddhists call their nuns??). It is a gorgeous philosophy, Buddhism, and researching into it can never hurt, so why not! (Actually the same can be said when exploring most religions' philosophies, not their churches & institutions.)

You can join me at my yoga centre one day! They are all about chanting & meditating & living a healthy lifestyle (says meat-eating, tekwila-swilling, sex-hunting me!) AND you get a kickass supple body as a bonus! (My Swarmi would have karma after me for saying that!)

You can visit a new blog, Buddha's Belly, I've been enjoying that will keep your mind in the right place,

& there is a new book out about this whole religion subject I can't wait to read; The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. Promises to be nice & controversial & thought-provoking!

(Excuse long comment! I will go back to hectic work day now!)

Peas on Toast said...

Chew - Luckily nowhere does it say that swearing is immoral. Quite frankly, if it did, I wouldn't be happy. Mainly because I can't stop swearing.
The Exorcist is crazzeeee shit...

Richard - why thank you. ;)

Peas on Toast said...

Richard - yeah...the soap dispensers. Shite. That was last year. Doesn't count. ;)

Champs - thanks babe for the links. I lived yoga when I did it CT, so maybe I should take it up again as a form of self-reflection and super [hot, supple] body in-training. Will take a look at the site.

duke said...

champagne, I was about to suggest The God Delusion. Should persuade Peas to get over this mix-and-match spirituality bullshit and just embrace atheism.

Viva rationality, viva.

ChewTheCud said...

champers - was rubthebuddhasbelly taken? I have that book btw. if ya wanna borrow it;P

peas - anything conducted while under the influence of alcohol doesn't count.

Peas on Toast said...

duke - Funnily enough. Smoking Legs' granny was reading this book and suggested it to me. I'd love to read it.

What I like about Buddhism, if I am to do my spiritual homework, is that it's more about a way of life than focusing on a God no questions asked. I still need to learn more about it obviously, and am keen to go to a Buddhist retreat as well.

Anonymous said...

Hank's gonna kick your ass! - KN

Peas on Toast said...

Kyk - So I'm not getting the one million dollars? Bugger. ;)

Lollipop said...

I love the whole Bhuddism thing and would love to study it further. It was my ultimate goal to go to Tibet and book myself into monastery. Do the whole shaven head, orange robe thing and come out cleansed, calm and fuckin skinny!

Then I read about female monks in the Fairlady and their lives. Did you know they pray every night to be reborn a man?! That's like the second highest being in this world followed by the Bhudda himself.

From my experience with men, they are aiming low.

Peas on Toast said...

Hmm Lollipop I certainly didn't no that, no. Hectic man!

It seems that all religions have not-so-innocuous flaws everywhere, this is what worries me.

I definitely need to learn more about Buddhism before I accept the whole patriarchal vibe, that's for sure.

Buddha Belly said...

How perfectly karmic that I read your blog for the first time on this day.

Now all that is left is to get you to the buddhist retreat for a weekend of silence thereby bringing you closer to Enlightenment.

Dick said...

On the subject of the Buddha belly. Lets stay away from that part of the philosophy. And reincarnation hey? So you will just keep coming back til the sun explodes or nuclear war?

Peas on Toast said...

Buddha Belly - indeed! Apparently at the retreat, I am not allowed to talk for 24 hours. This is brilliant - no small talk with perfect strangers, and a heightened discipline of my verbal diarrhoea. ;)

Dick - If you rub my buddha belly, they say it's good luck. But you should first be concerned about the size of my bottom before my tummy - it's where I hold my weight. ;)

If I'm reincarnated as Heidi Klum, you won't be complaining. ;)

Revolving Credit said...

When do you get to rub the Buddha's belly for money???

Isn't that meant to be a good luck thing?

Peas on Toast said...

Revvie - hello dollface. I think good luck can be directly translated into money. Your thoughts?

PS: Where are you these days, it's been awfully quiet without you in the blogosphere lately...we miss you. ;)

Antoine said...

Next step is following the Hindu faith. All the guys that I know who are Hindi use the rules as guidelines.

Which in my opinion - rules are but guidelines :)

Kevin Cadman said...

Coming from an ex-christian atheist, I wouldn't say buddhism is the worst option.

However -- I mean no disrespect saying this -- the main problem with any chosen spiritual belief is the finely tuned ability to believe the good and forget the bad. I'm not one for picking and choosing; surely Jesus, Allah, Buddha, Krishna et al would shun that concept?

I personally believe that if you're going to accept supernaturalism, it shouldn't be something done so aloofly. Buddhism is not just about lifestyle and finding peace; you're chanting to some fat guy who died 9234782 years ago - doesn't that strike you as slightly weird?

Anyway, that's just my very atheistic outlook. I believe in the beauty around us and living each day to the fullest - banking on the fact that we're going to get a 2nd chance anywhere is one hell of a gamble. It's quite refreshing living your life for today when you reject the concept of ever getting another chance.

Anyway, how you Peaslet? Have a good weekend? :)

Anonymous said...

Kevin is wrong - you are not chanting to some fat guy who lived x years ago. Normally (your mileage may vary) you are chanting to your own buddha nature.

BTW when I took refuge, the monk who gave the instruction said that the "sexual misconduct" refers to not having sex with someone who is in a relationship with someone else, and being faithful to your current partner. Any other guidelines beyond that need to be taken in the context in which they were originally given (no oral sex, etc.).