Certainty isn’t always certain

A quick health update: I’m still very unwell, but at least I’m now getting treatment for it and should hopefully recover within a month or two.

Anyway, I had to go to the doctor today in connection with my illness, and since the Tibetan Buddhist Centre isn’t very far from my doctor’s surgery I decided to pay a visit. It’s the first time I’ve been there for quite a while.

It was great to see the people there again, especially as I was able to get a bit of private time with Lama to pay my respects as well. One thing that it brought home to me is that I had really missed the place and the people. In many ways, it felt like returning home after a long absence. I spent a while in the shrine room meditating before I left.

During my enforced absence due to illness (I haven’t been able to get to the Triratna centre either), I have had a lot of time to reflect on where I see my Buddhist practice going, and I am now far less certain than I was a few months ago. What do I mean by that? Well, a few months ago I had pretty much decided that my future lay firmly with the Triratna Buddhist community rather than with the Tibetan Buddhist community. Now I’m far less certain.

My current thinking is that there is nothing wrong with belonging to both communities. For all its faults, and all the problems I have with it (like the cultural divide, excessive superstition etc.) I still feel a strong connection with the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, which – let’s not forget – is the lineage in which I first took refuge earlier in the year.

I’m aware that this may make me sound indecisive, given my earlier posts on the subject. Nevertheless, this is where I find myself. I believe that I benefit from my connections with both the Karma Kagyu  and Triratna sanghas, so why commit to only one of them? Why make yourself choose between having an apple or having a banana when you could have an apple today and a banana tomorrow as well? Both are good for you, after all, and both provide different nutrients.

My health difficulties mean that I am now paying for the energy I expended in visiting the Karma Kagyu centre in that I’m feeling quite ill, but I’m so glad I went. My own Dharma practice can only be stronger for having a cross-pollination of different Buddhist ideas, and that in turn will enable me to be of more benefit to others, which is what Mahayana Buddhism is ultimately all about.

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