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18. The Buddha Nature

18. The Buddha Nature

Truthfully, I have no business writing this chapter. I’m certainly no Buddhist scholar, and I don’t kid myself into thinking there’s any more “truth” to this than anything else I write. It is simply my personal experience here. When you come right down to it, what else can you really trust?

I was sitting in Bob’s back garden, a lovely little place with climbing flower vines and a remarkable tree that had these fuzzy bright red flowers. I was trying to explain to him the transformation I had gone through in the last few weeks.

“When I first was diagnosed with MS, I just chalked it up as the ‘balancing event’ in an otherwise perfect life.” The notion that “balance” must exist in each organism’s existence is silly to the point of ridiculousness. Any “balance” that exists, exists on a universal level. One that we are unable to access on a normal basis, only when in the grips of ecstasy.

But we can’t help ourselves. No matter how much our intellect tells us it’s silly, for some reason we hang on to many superstitions. In the backs of our heads, of course. No “reasonable” person would ever believe such stupid stuff. Right?

“Now I realize that it may just have been the one thing that could jolt me out of the bad pattern I was in before. I would never have changed without the MS.” As Lao Tzu says, inside every curse is nestled a blessing, and I really felt I had found it.

“You know Bob, I’m really not afraid of death anymore. I could be run over tomorrow. What difference would that make to me? Nothing at all…”

Bob peered at me from across the table where he was rolling a joint. “I can see that you mean that,” he said. “You’ve made some good progress. You have a very long way to go.”

“Maybe,” I answered, “But I just wanted to tell you how good it feels…. Blow it out, you know. Nirvana…”

“Leave Nirvana out of this,” Bob said, “You’ve got to work on your addictive behaviors….”

“Here he goes again….” I thought to myself. More lectures on the Winstons. It’s not that I disagree with anything he says; it’s just that I’m unwilling to give up this last crutch until at least the first ayahuasca session. I see no advantage in needless suffering at this point. It would only distract me from what I was trying to do.

I started to answer him when he held up his hand to stop me. “I just want you to know that whatever you say to me will make no difference. I will regard it as an addict’s rationalization.”

Ouch! “Alright, then I won’t waste our time. What’s your point?”

“All these addictive behaviors have a motive behind them. A reason they are there. They don’t ‘just happen’.” He lit the joint and passed it over. “Do you think it’s the same reason you think you have MS?”

I instantly knew it wasn’t. It was much deeper. It somehow struck to the core of my perception of “being” in itself. And then I suddenly knew the answer…

“No. Not at all. It’s more the bottom line of human existence, if you will. Here we are, but we’re all going to die no matter what we do… You know,” I chuckled as I realized what I was saying. “The problems the Buddha was concerned with.”

Bob peered at me intensely. He had to know I was telling him the truth as I had just discovered it. He saw me do it….

“You know, I called an MD friend of mine who’s also a Shaman and I spoke to him about your case. That I wasn’t sure if you were prepared enough.”

“What’d he say?” I asked, very interested.

“He said I should tell you that whatever pain you avoid now through your habits, you will pay for in your ayahuasca experience. The experience ‘cleanses” you of all the shit… The more shit you have, the harder it’s going to be…”

“You mean it’s going to hurt more or terrify more?” I asked.

He nodded gravely.

“Bring it on…” I answered truthfully. I really am not afraid. Well, maybe a little, but not enough to give up the cigs yet. No way…

But I really do feel like I’ve broken through some level or other. Last night, I half kiddingly told my wife that I finally had an ambition.

“What… to write your book?” She asked.

“No,” I answered. “I want to be a Buddha…”

I told Bob this story and he laughed.

“I’ll be right back.” I said and went off for an MS piss.

While waiting for the goddamned “hesitation” to end, I thought about the effect my words may have had on Bob.

On returning to our table I immediately said to him (So I wouldn’t forget), “Listen, I don’t want you to have any misapprehensions about me because of my saying I want to be a Buddha. The point is that I’m not really seeking Nirvana or anything else for that matter. I want to have the “effect” of a Buddha on all those around me. The way Jack Kornfield makes me feel when I hear him speak. Calm, and somehow ‘knowing’ that everything’s OK.”

As I spoke, I realized that that’s what had happened way back under the rockets in Rosh Hanikra. Somehow, the acid had given me the “Buddha nature” for a short period of time. I did more good for more people during those few weeks than I had ever done before. And it was effortless, or at least it felt that way.

“Anyhow, that’s really what I’m after. To develop a ‘Buddha nature’ rather than “being” a pratyeka (private) Buddha sitting off by myself in a corner somewhere.”

Lao Tzu says “An integral being benefits all things, yet people are scarcely aware of his existence.”

This is going to be quite a challenge, I would say. To develop a calming Buddha nature while suffering from Progressive Relapsing MS. I wonder if it’s been done before? Maybe I’ll be the first?

Maybe not…

Stay tuned for the next episode of: Will I be a Buddha or a Drool Bucket?

July 16, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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