Recently I have come to some crucial decisions that affect the blog and the youtube channel.
It began in the early summer when I took an interest in Tendai Buddhist teachings, but later due to a chance meeting, I realized that Tendai Buddhism was right for me. It was first time in many years where I felt all my internal doubts and contradictions about certain aspects of Buddhism were finally reconciled and it “just made sense”.
I assumed that this would go away in a few weeks or months, but so far that hasn’t been the case. In fact, I have decided to pursue the Tendai path exclusively maybe with the hope of becoming a priest some day. Tendai is really cool stuff, and it’s such a shame there aren’t more reliable sources in English about it.
However, this also means changes too. I have come to realize that I understand Buddhism a lot less than I thought I did. Much of this blog and its 10-year history1 has been fueled by2 long-standing contradictions I felt about my experiences with Pure Land Buddhism, particularly Jodo Shinshu Buddhism. Sure, I learned a bunch of stuff over the years as a result of that sense of contradiction, and sure, leaving Jodo Shinshu to be an “independent Buddhist” in recent years has been nice, but there’s also something to be said for structured training and education too. Cherry-picking what you like and what you agree with is like a nice, warm blanket, but it only gets you so far.
After meeting people who really live and breathe as Buddhists, I had to face the fact that having a bunch of historical facts and sutra knowledge in your head will only get you so far. You have to really apply it. Not as a weekend-warrior kind of thing, but you really got to make it a part of your life. There are some things in Buddhism that simply can’t be properly learned or explained until you’ve put them into practice first.
So, it’s time to start over as a Buddhist. I want to focus more on training and structured education for an extended period until I feel I can teach Buddhism in more professional manner. That means the blog is basically on hiatus for the foreseeable future. Comments will be turned off too a little later.
The Internet is littered with dead blogs, including dead Buddhist blogs. Some of which are/were quite good. I think it may be time to lay this one to rest as well. Maybe I’ll pick it up again in the future, maybe not. Time will tell. I have a lot of fond memories of this blog, its family memories, meeting readers face to face, posts about KPop and other odds and ends, but I also am really excited about the future, too.
Some parting bits of advice if I don’t pick up the blog again: remember that life is short. There are a lot of stupid things to waste your time on (including many things in Buddhism). Shed the unnecessary baggage, slow down and focus on the things that matter. Remember the Parable of the Burning House in the Lotus Sutra. Know who your friends are, stop being a fake, always question yourself, and never stop learning.
1 The first post. Note, I did have a previous blog called the Level 8 Buddhist, but it was much of the same content and lasted maybe 3-4 years. I can’t quite remember why I deleted it other than I had posted something I regretted and that I was so sensitive to what the online community said that I felt I had to start over. Having had 10 years to look back, I realize now that the online Buddhist community is a small, and somewhat skewed representation of the much larger Buddhist community and that in the grand scheme of things, none of it really matters that much. If nothing else, age does bring with it wisdom and experience. 🙂
2 Another motivation was sharing much of what I learned about Japanese culture through my wife and our visits there yearly, but having visited almost every year since 2005, there isn’t much novelty to share anymore. Of course I love Japanese culture, but it feels like a well-worn pair of pants now, instead of something new and crisp. Very comfortable, but nothing remarkable to talk about.