What did I learn this week?

Coming to the dharma

The past year has been full of change, and particularly difficult for Corey – who himself admits is not a person who deals well with change. I asked Corey a few nights ago if he considered himself to be a spiritual person. He replied, as he usually does to this type of question – “what do you mean?” I do not believe that one must follow an organized religion to in order to be a spiritual person. But, one does have to actually work at it. Spirituality arises from engaging in a purposeful examination of the self and our relationship with others and the world around us.

Corey tells me that he was raised in a family that did not incorporate any spiritual aspect into its daily living. I think that this is unfortunate, because I find him to be a fundamentally spiritual and introspective person. Together we decided to start attending weekly classes in Tibetan Buddhism, which he said he finds interesting and helpful to him. Part of his renewed interest in pursuing Buddhism has been motivated I think by the difficulty he has had dealing with the death of his father. But, whatever the motivation, I think it is good for him, and he has arrived at a point in his life when he is ready to undertake this training, or, come to the dharma.

The other motivating factor for both of us in seeking formal training is that we have decided to raise C and W as Buddhists – which means starting them early in providing them with tools for mindfulness and self-examination (one of the cornerstones of this being meditation). Given C’s particularly emotional nature, I think this will be a great help to her throughout her life.

Is she too young to meditate? Granted, she won’t be able to sit mindfully for long, but consider this: if it is in this culture thought to be “developmentally appropriate” to put children into “time out” for one minute per year of age, why not have them practice mediation for that time instead? Certainly, in my view, this is a more positive practice than time out.

For the time being, C won’t be attending classes, but we will start laying the foundation for her in terms of coming to the dharma and learning to meditate or sit mindfully. Fortunately, both she and W will be surrounded by both a family and also a larger community of Buddhists, which will help provide them with a compassionate and supportive environment for spiritual learning.

And what about W? Well he is certainly too young to meditate formally, but I believe many babies have a meditative nature – he certainly seems to be one of them. Our teacher says that he believes that although babies do not understand the words, they take the dharma in their hearts. So for now, we bring W with us to our classes, and he attends peacefully, if not necessarily mindfully, and that is a great start.

One Response to “Coming to the dharma”

  1. When you study the Four Noble Truths remember that some truths lead to suffering and maybe best left unsaid.

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