Sunday, 29 March 2009

What's it like to be an American Buddhist in London. How is the practice the same and how is it different.

Being a Buddhist in London is not any different from being a Buddhist
in America. Remember that saying," you can run but you can't hide."
You carry your karma in a suitcase so it's with you wherever you go.
The Buddhist in London are lovely. Very well mannered. We have to sign
a log in book whenever we go to a Center. They want to keep track of
all the members, just in case there is a disaster or in London's case
a fire. Before meetings there is, what I call in case of a fire pep talk.
" Ok, just in case there is a fire everyone is to meet on the corner
of Hunter Street and Handel Street". I found it quite interesting and thought it was certainly because of the great fire of London in 1666 that wiped out most of the city. But when I had asked at a meeting everyone laughed and explained
to me it's most certainly not because of the Great Fire but
because of the Law. So there you have it.

Also, when the members get together to clean the centers. They do it in a very organized fashion. We put on uniforms and carry little carry all cases fully
supplied with rubber gloves, pine sol and sometimes eco friendly products
to clean our centers. Supposedly, cleaning the centers is a metaphor to cleaning one's karma. And, also a way of eradicating our ego and arrogance
that blocks us from achieving success in life. Nothing like cleaning the
toilets !I really look forward to it ! Seriously! It's quite humbling,
but it really feels great.

A thing I found most interesting is that our Monthly Kosen Rufu Gongyo sometimes takes place in people's homes or at a local community center.
Where in America we have big huge Kosen Rufu gongyo's where sometimes
up to a hundred people attend. In London it's quite different.
I went to Kosen Rufu gongyo at someone's house in Swiss Cottage-London, only to find only 4 people showed up.

The members in my group have visited me in my home and chanted with me.
The members in my Bayswater group have been quite supportive
and helpful. The Buddhist activity is called Keibi. The equivalent
of Byakuren( Young Women's Division- behind the scenes) are the Lilacs.
The Lilacs are quite diligent about giving you water as soon as your done drinking one glass they are their to serve you another one.

Being a buddhist in London is quite different from America.
I had to assimilate of course to fit in. There are Buddhist
members from all over the world in London. In the end, we are all the same
in our fight for happiness of ourselves and others.


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