Wednesday, October 24, 2007

For Bryan the Buddhist

I received an e-fan-mail the other day expressing gratitude that I was such a wonderful writer and a Buddhist to boot - 'Your writing is absolutely delicious, and it's also nice to know that you're a teacher in what makes ultimate sense to me.' This is because I share a name with a great good man, Bryan Appleyard, who is vice-president of the Buddhist Society. Today, I note, he is advocating meditation in schools as a way of producing 'greater concentration, awareness, clarity, equanimity and tranquillity'. Well, I'm all for that. To tell the truth, the more I hear about this Appleyard chap, the more I like the cut of his jib. Lately, I have begun to wonder if we are, in fact, the same person - it's a very rare name after all, there's only one Bryan Appleyard in the whole of the US. Anyway, since Buddhists reincarnate, is it not possible that, through some kharmic cock-up, one of us has reincarnated while still alive? It's the sort of thing that happens all the time on Stargate SG9. I hope Bryan the Buddhist is my reincarnation; he's plainly a better person than me so it would mean I was on an upward path and not destined to be a snail or anything.

10 comments:

  1. It's possible (and common) for the same soul to incarnate simultaneously in more than one body. Some people do this a lot, you may meet two or three 'versions' of the same soul in the same week. The parallels are often interesting, names for example often echo each other in amusing ways.

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  2. maybe you're an 'anonymous' Buddhist (cf. Rahner's concept of the anonymous Christian)

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  3. About three years ago, I attended a course of lectures (an introduction to Buddhism) given by the other Bryan. He was straightforward, pithy and no-nonsense. I particularly recall him saying that Buddhism was no cakewalk and required effort and application. He also said that meditation alone was not enough: it was not an escape from troubles nor a substitute for correct, moral behaviour although it was an important way to lay the ground for such behaviour - something a lot of other teachers cop out from addressing in my experience. He also said that Buddhists have a right to self-defence just like anyone else: "Saying 'Don't shoot me, brother, I'm a Buddhist' to a robber means you'll shortly be a dead Buddhist". No doubt my memory has mangled this a bit but, yes, a very good guy and his talks made a big impression here.

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  4. I was always caught meditating at school - it didn't do a thing for my grades but, possibly, because I was often interrupted by the sting of chalk.

    Earlier, in little school, we were encouraged to put our head on our arms and sit quietly for a spell while the teacher read softly from a book. I don't remember there being any mention of Buddha but they say god works in mysterious ways...

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  5. I am confused by this idea of a dead Buddhist. Is it not an eternal cycle of life and rebirths for them?

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  6. Ian Russell wrote: I am confused by this idea of a dead Buddhist. Is it not an eternal cycle of life and rebirths for them?

    Yes, being dead could be a temporary inconvenience even to a Buddha. But if you can't be dead, can it be said you are able to be alive? You could try saying "Don't shoot me, brother, I'm already dead" while advancing on your assailant and extending your fangs Christopher Lee stylee.

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  7. Or maybe, ''Don't shoot me yet, Brother, I've not lead a good enough life''.

    or reverse psychology, ''Shoot me then and see which of us doesn't come back a slug!''

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  8. Does your physionomy bear any resemblance to the Buddha, Bryan?

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