What is Buddhism?

Life is what it is.

I’m siting in a chair, pen in hand, writing these words while glancing out the window at the yews to the west and north of the house. This is life.

It seems trivial, but the fundamental aspects underlying our universe are often just simple. I could imagine my consciousness floating over to a restaurant where people are having dinner and listening to conversations and observing them eat etc., but that would be artificial not real. Real is me sitting in this chair and writing.

One is inclined to say, Is that all? I want a vision to appear in the sky titled THE TRUTH and containing some great revelations! That will never happen. I’m disappointed.

But an odd thing did happen. About ten years ago I found a book that I’d been looking for my whole life. It is a program for meditation that was developed by two authors in San Francisco and tested using several classes. They took ideas from Yoga and meditation traditions and modified them for a Western society. The authors are George Leonard and Michael Murphy, and the book is titled The Life We Are Given.

I have used this method to practice a basic meditation. One lies on the floor, on the back, and totally relaxes the body. Thoughts flit through and you pay no great attention. Sounds go in one ear and out the other. The goal is to eventually have no thought, no sensation except the even breath. In a Yoga class that I took the instructor said “Let go of everything that is you.” You go to ground in a great emptiness.

As you experience this emptiness, however, you at the same time feel a field of spirit all around. For me it is like a gentle wind blowing through me and supporting everything I am and do. When I come out of this state, which I can do any time, I feel energized and re-invigorated.

The experience of meditation helps me to understand that the ground of being is quite simple. Life is what it is, in this moment and the next and the next. We only need to pay attention.

That is Buddhism.