Jet-Lag Diaries, part 2: Graduating Thai School–in Buddhism…

Continued from here

img_1400Back in Thailand the king is dead, so all other plans are automatically on hold. The temples are now full of temporary monks, so my own meager plans are secondary. My temple priest once told me it’s up to my own heart, and so it is, I must say, even if I have to pay to play. But if I can meditate in a moving plane and meditate on a moving bus, then I must be moving toward something real and good, is it not? I think it must be: I meditate, therefore I am…

If I’d left my practice of holy writ and dharma for a month, or longer, then I’d have to start over by design and definition, would I not? But that didn’t happen, so the details of any future ordination are unimportant, best left to the dealers and traders, and not the midnight meditators. So if my shitty little revelations and pissy little epiphanies have to wait another week, or month, or year, or decade, for my eminent imminent ordination, then so be it. The world has waited a few millennia already…

It works best after midnight, you know: sitting that is, in the still of darkness, in the small hours of morning, when hearts calm down, and breaths beat slower, and all the world takes a heartfelt breather, night considering becoming day again and cool considering becoming warm once again, just in time for waking…

And one godforsaken little town passes by another as the bus rolls by in the darkness, from Phitsanulok to Uttaradit: a dog licks itself because it can, while another species hedges its bets because it can’t. This is life in the slow lane, daylight forgiving all, while vehicles self-mobile speed by in the fast lane, midnight express, and no one is even one word the wiser…

For the first time in my life, it all kinda’ makes sense, my life, that is, all the dead ends, and all the blind alleys, all the winding narratives, and all the purple passages, leading nowhere at all until coming together at the last minute all of a sudden for an impromptu party in an old abandoned warehouse, long since abandoned by all my family and most of my friends, but I don’t blame them…

…’cuz my mother never knew what to do with me, either, and she never knew about the nine-letter deletion on my thirteenth chromosome, since they didn’t have DNA back then, Watson and Crick still playing by the creek in 1954 and plastering their labs with proteins. So my mother left me abandoned by the side of the road, bleeding but not yet dead, hoping some temple would eventually take me in…

And eventually one did, though many years later, after all the damage had long been done, and after most of the races had long been run, and there was nothing left to do but clean up the mess and inventory the stock, and get ready for the wholesale liquidation…

So here I sit all naked and unafraid, waiting for my diploma and the robes to wear, unconcerned of the whys or the wherefores. Black robes and saffron are two different things, and the ways to get there are likewise. There is no one correct answer to the conundrum of existence, and there is no reason to quibble over the minutiae of meditation, i.e. which one is better: left-brain or right, psychic or somatic…

The only measure of meditation is to sit there unmoving unflinching for a half hour or more, then do it again, then do it over, then do it over and over until life do us part, for better or worse. Serious Buddhism is a kind of homelessness by choice, a life without friends, and even less family, travel without really going anywhere, in this little place I call home without contracts, in this little life I call freedom with no tears…

So that’s what I did, just now, to prove that I could, sat here for a half hour unmoving, then did it again with no break in between, so an hour in total, same position no shift, one thousand breaths all counted and kept, the Holy Grail for me as trainee, a Buddhist monk-in-training, just waiting for the date and the signal to begin…

So I’ve now graduated Thai school, the best that they’ve got, signed sealed and finally delivered after all of these years and after all of these daydreams, on the edge of a feather, expecting to fly. So that’s one minor conundrum out of the way, the eternal question of the glass half-full or half-empty, no mere riddle of chicken and egg, but the fundamental question of your approach to life, but more than just ‘optimistic’ or ‘pessimistic’, such concerns sophomoric, if not freshmanic…

To wit: if you’re Western and/or Christian, then the glass is half full, and the object of life is to full the sucker up. If you’re Eastern and/or Buddhist, then the glass is half-empty, and the object is to drain the damn thing, then enjoy the non-show of silence. I think I finally know which way is mine to go, now with my freshly-earned degree in Thai school, with a Masters degree in—patience. Did I pass or fail, teacher? At least I passed the driving test…

 

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