Thursday, January 12, 2017

Buddhism Week 2: A serendipitous meeting

So it's week 2, and as I've been "Going with the flow" (Year of Faiths Rule #3), that "flow" seems to have found me in the form of a serendipitous stranger: Dr. Phil Meckley.
You see, I was standing in line for lunch yesterday, when this guy from out of town (Phil) struck up a conversation with me about my loud, clopping cowboy boots. And somehow, as we got to talking, I learned that he had studied Buddhism at Naropa (THE American Buddhist University and hub), had a profound interest in the convergence between Buddhism and Christianity, and is the Chair of the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Kansas Wesleyan. (Not kidding!)

I told him about this project, and he insisted that I join him at the Rimes Center in downtown Kansas City. So tonight, I did just that.
He was a delightful tour guide, showing me the treasure trove of his favorite books and sacred objects, explaining their meanings.
And Dr. Phil sat beside me for a lovely Buddhist Healing Meditation, complete with bells and drums and incense. It was blissful!

 (Dr. Phil sneaked this photo of me at the end of our meditation - ha!)
And after he left, I met up with Lama Matt Rice and took a class on Tantra. That's right... but it's not as sexy as it sounds. :) Buddhist tantra is simply another branch of practice, and most of what I learned was way over my head! Still, it was great to pull up a chair and soak in a bit more of this fascinating tradition. I was especially taken by the wall hangings of various Buddhist deities, and to have their symbolism explained - it was so incredibly evocative of my trip to Greece and Turkey, and all the icons I encountered there.

To cap off this brilliant evening, God seemed to paint the sky with the diamond cutter sutra - just look at those clouds crashing in like a wave of impermanence upon the wolf moon!
This month of Buddhism is shaping up well - I've been practicing daily chanting meditation, devouring enlightening ideas and recording quotes, dedicating my mornings to the cultivation of wisdom and virtue, and maintaining my vegetarian diet (which has forced me to be intentional about what I eat - I feel so healthy). More to come soon...