Digital Dharma

The Middle Path, One Day At A Time


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I run across people, on the Web and elsewhere, who seem directionless. They don’t seem engaged with their lives. Some seem simply to exist passively, with little pleasure and no discernible joy. Others flail around at this and that, become intrigued or outraged by every small thing that crosses their path and may, briefly, stop off and register their interest in some way. However, when push comes to shove, if you ask them what moves them, what their passion might be, they are often unable to answer. If they do, it’s often with a caveat: too old, too young, not enough time, can’t afford it, and so forth.

There is a temptation to think of those folks as shallow and superficial, but that is an arrogant (not to mention judgmental) attitude. It is not up to me to weigh the importance of someone else’s life, their degree of satisfaction and joy, or their lack thereof. I do, however, see folks who I believe could be happier, and I suspect that’s because they haven’t looked deeply enough into themselves. They haven’t identified the one or two things that they feel strongly enough to act on, instead of reacting.

I think everyone needs such an avocation: not a job, not a hobby, but something that is so important to them personally that they would work at it — whether or not for pay — in preference to many of the things that we conventionally think of as “fun.” Self-fulfillment is a basic human need, and I believe that in order to be happy we must pursue it in some way. We may not be able to change the world, but we can change our little corner of it, a little bit. We may not be able to affect history, but we can affect the future of individuals.

We can drive a disabled vet to the store or to the VA hospital. We can read to someone who is unable. We can volunteer as a Big Brother or Sister. We can call up a church, a charitable organization, a library, and ask if they need people to help with anything at all. We can volunteer at a local nature center and turn our love of critters or plants into an enthusiastic presentation that will engage budding naturalists. There are hundreds of such things that we can do, if we but look for them — things that allow us to make a difference that we can see, that is tangible, that can bring us satisfaction and fruits that we probably can’t imagine yet. The people I see doing these sorts of thing nearly always seem fulfilled and happy.

I’ve got mine. It’s not posting links on blogs or Facebook, not even writing essays like this. Those are things I do when I’m distracted — and I have a lot of distractions — but I also have time to pursue my “bliss”, as Joe Campbell used to say. It doesn’t matter what I do. What matters is what you do. I’ve found mine.

Have you? Will you look? Will you at least think about it?


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Top Fifty Buddhist Blog Award

We are pleased to report (we think) that we have been awarded a position in the Top Fifty Buddhist Blogs, as determined by a vote of our fans — or something like that. We’re not sure just how much of an honor this might be, but we get a cool medallion to put in the sidebar (down below the flag thingy) and we are included with some of the people that we consider to be top Buddhist bloggers, so we’re not knocking it.

On the other hand, it hasn’t exactly gone to our head, either. I mean, how many Buddhist blogs with any traffic to speak of are there, anyway?


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Holy hip hop

Al Jazeera English – Asia-Pacific – Holy hip hop

Kansho Tagai, a Buddhist monk known as MC Happiness, believes in keeping the appeal of his religion fresh.

He regularly holds music sessions at a 400-year old temple in central Tokyo to teach Buddhist principles and rituals through hip hop.

Tagai’s status as Japan’s premier rapper monk has turned him into a local icon with a loyal fan base of followers and performance artists.

Al Jazeera’s Zeina Awad reports…(video) Holy
hip hop