I have sat down many times now trying to write this essay on the Buddhism course by Tricia Stirling. I haven't been able to adequately put to words the influence that this course has had on my way of looking at life. Am I Buddhist, can I follow the Eight Fold Path? I would have to say no. I have been raised in this materialistic world and have become accustomed to my attachments to those things that make up my life, as I now know it to be.
Two aspects of Buddhism that do speak to me are the Six Perfections and the Four Immeasurables. Metta, Karuna, Mudita and Upekkha are to me four qualities that should be a crucial part of everyone's life and not just a Buddhist thing. If all encounters in life were to be approached with these four thought processes in mind, Loving-kindness, Compassion, Sympathetic joy and Equanimity, there would be little conflict and a lot less pain in our lives and the lives of those around us.
The Six Perfections of Generosity, Ethical behavior, Patience, Joyous effort, Concentration and Wisdom again, if practiced in everyone's daily interactions with everyone they encounter would eliminate conflict, anger and greed. Everyone should be concisely applying these 10 actions, regardless of their particular religious practice and belief system.
Am I ready to abandon all attachments? No, I like my home and truck and guitars. I like my children and wife and food and work and, well it goes on. I am learning though that allowing myself to become upset that I am late to work or the show or whatever I haven't achieved, is counter productive to peace in my life. I am learning that it is not the end of the world if I don't achieve something I was trying for or wanted. I am learning that I will not achieve enlightenment in this lifetime and that is all right. I have many lifetimes ahead to work on that.
I am on a path of enlightenment. Taking this course is one step on that journey. If I can share some of the knowledge that I am gaining in this lifetime with those that I encounter in this lifetime my journey will continue in a positive way. I believe that is where I am right now. Do I have a Buddha in me? Yes and he is guiding me along my journey, steering me in positive directions. I accept that the shortest path to enlightenment is not the best path. I want to enjoy the learning and the sharing and I am enjoying it. Maybe achieving is not the answer. Maybe traveling is.
Thank you Ms. Stirling. I recommend this course to anyone who is mildly interested. It will open up your mind to a different way of approaching your journey through this lifetime.
The ULC, run by Rev. Long, has created a chaplaincy program to help train our ministers. We also have a huge catalog of Universal Life Church materials. I've been ordained with the Universal Life Church for many years and it's Seminary since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.