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The Buddha

I don’t understand how most people think. I never have. Usually, I am just as happy not understanding how most people think. If I see a crowd, I try to get away from it as fast as possible.

Among the many things I do not understand about Christianity and its popularity is that people are willing to go to church at least weekly and hear the same story over and over. And over. And it is not, to my mind, a very interesting story.

Okay, I have taught U.S. history surveys, and that story usually does not change much, although it does change as historians change our understanding of the past. Since the early 1970s, the standard account of U.S. history includes a lot more information about African Americans and women, which is all to the good.

And, when I started meditating, for some time, I got up early on Sunday mornings, very unusual for me, to spend three hours meditating at the center where I learned to meditate.

It is an open question how similar/dissimilar that is to sitting through the same story at church every week. It is the same activity, but watching your own mind is usually a parade of highly unpredictable mental events that no one can control, even me, which is further evidence of not self. Maybe if you meditate regularly, you will find that you can control your thoughts. If so, please let us know. I doubt it.

Since I don’t understand how most people think and usually find myself more or less at odds with the prevailing culture, I am very bad at marketing. I do not understand how or why advertising works. I typically try to avoid advertising as much as possible. I decide if I need a particular product or service, then look around for the best version of it I can find, and buy that.

It is very frustrating to know that you have found the right answer and not know how to get people to listen. We know from recent experience that it is possible to motivate lots of people by lying to them, but Buddhists have an explicit ethical obligation not to lie, so that is not a viable option.

And my own boring injunction that I repeat incessantly is to meditate, meditate, meditate. It really works and it really is that simple.

So, today’s sermon (!) is meditate, meditate, meditate.

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Written by

Uppity gay, Buddhist, author, historian.

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