Sunday, April 03, 2011

Becoming a Lay Buddhist

Today, I officially became a Buddhist. It is not that today I became a much better person. I feel I have lived my life with good intentions and through good deeds. I do the best I can and try to help others when possible. But today I made it "official."

Being a Buddhist may not be very different from being a person of other faiths and beliefs. We all share certain "sacred" values that bind us. In Buddhism we call these values The Precepts. We believe in the Three Pure Precepts:
  • Cease from evil
  • Do only good
  • Do good for others

We also follow the Ten Great Precepts:
  • Do not kill
  • Do not steal
  • Do not covet
  • Do not say which is not true
  • Do not sell the wine of delusion
  • Do not speak against others
  • Do not be proud of yourself and devalue others
  • Do not be mean in giving either Dharma or wealth
  • Do not be angry
  • Do not defame the Three Treasures
Many of these are familiar to most people; they are the common rules most humans follow to be good members of society.

The greatest change for me today is becoming a vegetarian. This is not a requirement for becoming a Buddhist, but it is a choice I am making for many reasons, not the least being that this will (even in a small way) reduce the demand for meat and make a small impact on the cruelty suffered by farmed animals.

My biggest challenge over the last few years has been anger. I have had a lot to be angry about, and I was not dealing with these issues in a healthy manner. Through Buddhism and meditation I have gained tools to deal with this aspect of my humanity. It is not perfect but it is a lot better.

I am grateful everyday  for all I have.

The Year of Money

I received the following from a friend through an email. Take it for what is worth:

"This is the year of Money! This year has four unusual dates: 1/1/11, 1/11/11, 11/1/11, and 11/11/11. That's not all. Take the last two digits of the year in which you were born; now add the age you will be this year, and the result will be 111 for everyone! This year October will have 5 Sundays, 5 Mondays and 5 Saturdays. This happens only every 823 years."