Buddhism and Me: Part One, Becoming a Buddhist

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The lotus flower represents one symbol of fortune in Buddhism. It grows in muddy water, and it is this environment that gives forth the flower’s first and most literal meaning: rising and blooming above the murk to achieve enlightenment.

Religion hasn’t been something I’ve talked about a bunch on my blog or social media. A few months after Cora died, I talked about it a bit. I never really felt like I did a good job with that posting explaining why I felt uncomfortable. I found that it was in general just assumed I was Christian, and I felt that I might be judged by reveling that I’m another faith. And honestly, after Cora died, I found myself moving away from Buddhism and all religion.

The opposite happened after my father-in-law died earlier this month. I found myself more connected to my faith. Ben’s dad was really involved in his Buddhist organization and his ceremony was at the Buddhist center. Sometime during that ceremony, something happened. Something clicked. I left and told Ben that I wanted to become more involved again.

Let me start by saying, I’m not trying to convert anyone. I truly have lots of respect for each and every religion. I thought writing a series of post might be interesting to some of you, and help me when I talk about it in the future.

My Buddhism Introduction

I was born into a Catholic family and attended Sunday school as a child. Sometime during high school, I first started reading about Buddhism and was intrigued. Something about it just felt right for me. I liked the idea that all we need is already inside of us. I never really acted on it, but sometime in college started referring to myself as “Buddhist.”

I attempted to live my life in a way that aligned with many of the Buddhist viewpoints, but also found some parts I didn’t relate to. Buddhism is like any other religion, there are lots of different types of Buddhists.

Meeting My Buddhist Husband

I met Ben and it was several weeks before I knew his family was Buddhist. His father had converted when he moved to California many years ago and Ben was born into a Buddhist family. He grew up going to Buddhism meetings and chanting.

This chanting business was completely new to me. The Buddhism I studied focused on meditation.

It was sorta like a Catholic marrying a Baptist. The basic beliefs are the same, the readings are the same, but as there are differences in Christian churches, so are there in Buddhism.

I’ve blended the two together to create my faith.

I think that’s a right we all have, to take what best fits us and to go for it! When I meet one of the Buddhist community members that Ben’s family knows, sometimes I relate to almost everything they say. Other times I listen contently but don’t find it something that fits me.

It’s Okay to Say to Me…

After reading this, some of you are probably have second doubts about things you’ve written or sent me. Don’t! I appreciate all of the sentiment and value any time given to thinking of Cora and I.

Feel free to tell me…

You’re praying for me. We might not pray in the same way, but I pray too. I send prayers and good thoughts, and really believe that energy makes a difference.

That you lit a candle/remembered me/spoke about Cora at your church. Again appreciated. Cora has had a tree planted in Israel from a Jewish family, a Buddhist prayer cloth given to me in her memory, and a Christian prayer cloth sent to me for her. I love them all. I think it’s really neat!

Don’t feel like you have to walk on egg shells around me when it comes to faith and religion. I’m extremely familiar with Christianity, would love to learn about other religions and would never stop anyone from expressing their faith.

Please Don’t…

That being said, some things are hurtful. And not only to me, I’ve heard from other Christian loss moms that these things hurt.

Don’t tell me God wanted my daughter.

Don’t tell me that she died because I’m not Christian.

Don’t try to convert me. I’d love to talk to you about your religion, and am opening to talking about mine. I’ll never put any sort of pressure on you to change your belief system and hope that any conversation can be a mutually respectful discussion.

I’m not sure how many parts this series will have. I do know I’m going to write about how I feel about Cora and how it comes from my religion.I think I’ll write another post about some of my beliefs. I’m also going to look at Facebook comments and see if anyone has questions they’d like to see answered.