I’ve been meaning to post for sometime, but living life seems to get in the way.
A couple of years back I read Stephen Bachelors‘Confession of a Buddhist Atheist‘ and it seemed to appear at the period of self-reflection, perhaps I was looking for it? I spoke to friend whom I’d assisted with putting on retreats and asked if Stephen would be a good speaker to invite for a weekend retreat, He said that he was ‘boring and geeky’. We had been centered on Tibetan/Bhutanese Buddhism with all the smells and bells so I imagine that ‘Plain Buddhism’ would not appeal to the previous or regular retreat goers.
My own views differ, what Stephen has to offer and details in his book is an insight as to what Buddhism is really about. Bachelor points towards a ‘culturally free’ more accurate interpretation of what the Buddha said according to an oral recitation that then recounts what is remembered to form a collection of his sermons. These became known as the Tripitaka. There is much debate as to the interpretations and recollections of what was said, that is where it all becomes complex, something the Buddha was trying his utmost to avoid.
If we apply the core of Buddhist teaching we will soon see that there is little cultural baggage. Simple words of wisdom that are relevant for anyone at anytime, anywhere, with the ultimate goal of ‘Compassion and Wisdom’.
Every day, every moment one has to examine reality, where the truth is, or as Stephen’s teacher Ven.Kusan Sunim asked, “What is this?”
I was thrown in the deep end at my friends seaside walk-in shop. Previously I had been working for a local MP as the head gardener to make money and exhibiting my paintings and illustrations to make a small amount of money. The first few weeks of tattooing full time was certainly an eye-opener. In those days it quite an ugly place to be and work, but what attracted me most were the possibilities of using the medium artistically.
As with any form of expression it has its limitations, one has to stay within the limits of the medium and learn to use them thoroughly, then that will enable one to push the boundaries and make advances for the benefit of that particular art form.
Today I have been painting, It feels as if I have returned home. And as I was preparing the paint I was thinking of what my tattoo mentor said when I was earnestly and slowly tattooing someone’s arm.
“Hurry up you arty farty wanker , we’ve got a queue out here !”
This is a photo of my mother aged 16 on St. Patrick’s day 1926. Had she been alive today this would be her 105th birthday. Every year I have endeavoured to visit her grave on her birthday as mark of respect for not only Peg but for all my ( our ?) ancestors. I’m usually accompanied by my children, It’s something we know we should or need to do. It has nothing to do with religion or guilt, it’s just a lovely reminder of celebrating a life. This will be the first time in many years that we’ll miss our pilgrimage.
Peg , I’m sure you’re still smiling your sunny smile, you were a great teacher and Mum, I love you.
Here’s to celebrating all our ancestors whoever and wherever they may be.