i have never fully connected with religion, nor did i have a very religious upbringing. in fact, i actually found it off-putting because someone told me i couldn’t be saved when i was younger. however, i have strong viewpoints on certain values that are central to my life, and i’ve become more conscious of these lately as i deepen my introspection through yoga. as it happens, i am drawn to buddhist teachings and philosophy, and i strive to incorporate certain aspects of buddhism in to my life.
how i was raised. my parents claim we are buddhist, but we aren’t adamant practitioners. i actually did not know the basic tenants of buddhism growing up. we practiced ancestor worship, certain buddhist rituals, and went to temple a few times a year, but you can hardly call that buddhism. however, in my recent attempts to learn buddhist philosophy, i realized my parents instilled very real buddhist teachings in me through their actions.
buddhist teachings. karma has been pervasive in my subconscious since i was young, and lately through my yoga practice, it has surfaced as a way of life. the essence of karma is cause and effect – actions that spring from mental intent and bring about a consequence. the important part to me is the focus on intent. to me, it’s all about setting an intention and then following through. in my life, this means to be open-minded, help others, not cause harm, and be happy.
application to life. my learning process is still in the early phases and will always continue, but i find it important to incorporate my biggest takeaways in to a conscious effort in the way i live. as with anything, it’s hard to make simple things in life seem black and white, let alone something complex like buddhism. i have decided to take what is practical for my life and focus on maximizing those areas. for example, i’ve been wanting to experiment with a vegetarian diet, just because i really don’t like red meat that much. but i have a crazy obsession with burgers and i love chicken, so easier said than done. i have at least set the intention to cut out red meat significantly and replace it with tofu when applicable. small steps.
another reason why buddhism feels like a natural course for my life is due to surfing and yoga. buddhist principles are so profoundly connected to the easy-going, simple surfer life, and every yoga practice starts with setting an intention that carries through your practice and in to your life. it’s perhaps due to my obsession with these sports over the past two years that my interest in buddhist philosophy grew.
living it. religion, philosophy, rituals, they can all be pretty complex. i’m a business person, so i’ve taken what seems to make practical sense so far and boiled it down to basic learnings and action items –
find peace through meditation. develop strength from yoga and surfing. achieve clarity in water. strive for simplicity, happiness, and good intentions. breathe and smile.
book recommendation – Saltwater Buddha: A Surfer’s Quest to find Zen on the Sea
oh yes, i started going to temple again