Religio-Politics 101: The Final Stage of Life—Buddhism

Statue of Buddha in Kandy, Sri Lanka

Statue of Buddha in Kandy, Sri Lanka

I figure if you’re not getting more religious as you’re getting older, then you’re doing something wrong. I thought I’d be a Buddhist monk by now, ensconced in some little corner of the globe hanging with the brotherhood and speaking Tibetan or Pali or even just Thai would be okay, doing the business of no-business, begging for alms in return for my purity and compassion, just trying to provide the world some moral compass, without desire or desiderata, without percussion or repercussions, ni meringue ni compas, life as lived in the latter days of ambition, no ambition just breath in breath out occasional fuel and oxygen fanning the flames of non-consumption…

I suppose that those plans are on hold by now, as long as my 1954 libido has a first gear, a clutch, a power train and a love of transmission, not something you take for granted in the fourth semester of life, the will to power and all that rap, or even the will to succeed and all that jazz…

I was a Muslim by youth and training, figuratively if not literally, schooled in the arts of youth and training, obedience prized above all else, and sacrifice to the greater good, permanent boot camp, brutal youth circumvented into the military arts of church and state, Boy Scouts, loyalty to the flag and fealty to the Cross, religion glorified in the act of self-sacrifice, like Jesus the Muslim, demanding loyalty and little else, pissing off the Empire and sticking it to the umpires, imploring submission by definition…

But then Jesus became a Christian, assuring us that all we need is love, i.e. love is all you need. So I became a Christian, too, with the emergence of new desires and the erection of new regimes and new regimens, new habits to feed and new victims for all my little schemes. That yielded precious little fruit, but not for lack of trying, and allowed for plenty of drama in the infrastructure department, getting and taking and laying waste to the unwanted. Christian girls are way too easy, and so are the men, all in the name of fun fun fun…

Now there’s nothing left to be but Buddhist, dispossess myself of all those distractions, racks of mammaries and full-to-overflowing granaries, the only disease the one of consumption, having traveled far from our roots as nomads in search of something anything a life worth living, that is, in constant flux; time to leave the brick sh*t-house behind, plans held up in the planning and zoning departments of governments gone wrong, time to leave all that behind—next year. Jesus probably would’ve been a Buddhist, too—if he’d lived long enough. It’s preferable to being consumed by passion.

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