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buddha camp 2002

Buddha Camp 2002 is what Shauna calls my upcoming retreat. It doesn't really have a name, but the teaching is on part of a new english translation of a classic (and exhaustive) Tibetan Buddhist text called Mahamudra: The Ocean of Definitive Meaning, which is a shortened version of it's more literally translated title, 'The Profound Instructions on the Definitive Meaning, Mahamudra, Connate Union: The Radiant Activity of the Essence of the Ocean of Definitive Meaning'.

A friend, as we were out for dinner with some friends, asked me the very succinct question of, "What the hell does that mean?"

"Well," I said, after some careful consideration, "I'm afraid that's beyond the scope of this discussion."

You know, it's not like I think it's just SO DEEP or anything...it's just that it's a pretty foreign presentation of reality, and to understand it, a little bit of groundwork has to be laid. Most people just want to hear enough so they can argue semantics, convince themselves that there's some sort of logical flaw in it, and then go back to being too cool to align themselves with any particular spiritual tradition. Which is cool, but as a result I'm a little gunshy. I don't explain unless it seems like people are really interested.

Are you interested? Many of the teachings that introduced me to these concepts are edited, transcribed, and published as a periodical called Shenpen Osel. There's links there to pdf's of each issue. I recommend Volume 1 Issue 1, Volume 2 Issue 1, and Volume 3 Issue 1 in that order. That's a lot of reading. If you're still remotely interested after that, then talk to me. Hehehehehe.

Another great way to learn a little bit about modern Buddhist thought is to read some Chogyam Trungpa. They just released the amazing The Essential Chogyam Trungpa, and that's a good place to start where that's concerned.

Want something sweet and calming and gentle and loving and simple? You can't do much better than Thich Naht Hanh.

I hope that helps anyone who is genuinely interested.


Oh man, I know what you mean about being gunshy. Actually, that's the best expression of why I am reluctant to get "into it" on topics of Catholic spirituality with people as well. Rarely is there the time or the will to listen to the background info to get the conversants into the same vocabulary of common discourse.

I am fascinated with Buddhism, especially with ways in which it can inform and enrich my practice of Christianity. My knowledge only skims the surface, though. Are types of Buddhism analogous to Christiam denominations (Nichien, Mahayana, Tibetan, etc.) or are they another thing entirely? Is it true that Buddhism is technically not a "religion" per se, since there is no entity that is worshipped?

Anyway, I could pelt you with stupid questions or I could just ask you to send me some of the explanations you offered at your next convenience. So I'm asking.