On the lighter-side of things, I wanted to post this hilarious video by Day Job Orchestra or “DJO”. They are a Canadian rock band that periodically posts dubbed videos. The quality of the lip-synching is fantastic, and the videos are hilarious, albeit very naughty (fair warning). My personal favorites are “Happy in Paraguay” and “Soup Kitchen In My Pants”.
Anyhow, what I find amusing about this video, apart from the obvious, is that it kind of deflates the “Asian Buddhist teacher mystique” that is popular in the West.¹ Further, it’s also a reminder that we’re all human and have our limits. That’s why I think the Buddha in his time setup an ascetic, monastic community:² without the proper environment, it’s hard to make progress in the deeper practices of Buddhism.
There’s something to be said for Buddhists who are “in the trenches” too, but I think there’s a point in a Buddhist’s life when he or she must step away for a while and engage in some kind of intensive retreat for an extended period of time (or smaller retreats more often). If nothing else, it “recharges the batteries”.
Personally, as a father of two, I can’t afford to take one of those nice retreats that they advertise in Buddhist magazines. I usually just have to stay off social media and the internet for a few days and do some reading and study. Think of it as “Buddhist retreat on a budget”. 😉
¹ I’m no expert on the subject, but I think if you ever do study with an Asian Buddhist community, you’ll eventually find many of the same frustrations with religion that you had back home. People are people after all.
² Granted, it was already very commonplace at the time in India, so it’s not like the Buddha invented it, but it’s clear from his sermons that the monastic community was the most conducive for training.