Saturday, May 13, 2006

Legs cut from under me

Today is Wesak which is a celebration of the Enlightenment of the Buddha. Many of my friends know that I have been exploring Buddhism lately. If I continue with this exploration, I don't know at which point, if any, I will feel entitled to call myself a Buddhist. And does that label matter, anyway?

So, some of my friends will not be surprise to know that I attended the celebration of Wesak which was held at the Glasgow Buddhist Centre. I found it a thoroughly enjoyable, and moving, experience. Being the kind of person who is attracted to ritual, I enjoyed the seven-fold puja (note: I tried to put a link in here, but it wouldn't work) and the sight of the shrine lit up with many candle flames, covered with chrysanthemum petals was very moving. However, there is much more to Buddhism than ritual! Much of the ethics of the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order fits in with how I feel just now, how I would like to live my life, where I might want to go in the future.

So. I was horrified on Thursday. I did a Google search about Wesak, as I had intended to post a bit about the celebration, and what was happening in the Tramway today. What I found was horrific. There have been accusation of the most awful kind against the FWBO. One of the centres in England was accused of behaviour which, quite frankly, beggars belief. If the word 'Moonies' was substituted for FWBO, that gives you an idea of what I mean. I was stunned. Upset. Horrified. Speechless.

I took a deep breath. Calmed myself. Spoke to my husband. I do not feel that there are problems of this nature at the centre I have been attending, Quite the reverse. However, as my husband and I agreed, a degree of healthy scepticism is required (which I have been employing ever since I began to attend). I have spoken to a fellow attendee, who has had a lot of contact via her husband. I have spoken to a member of the association. I feel much better. He did not deny that in the past there had been some difficulties - I am not going into the details of what we discussed, but I am much more at ease. I do not feel that the FWBO as it stands is any more of a 'cult' than the Catholic church or any other mainstream 'religious' organisation (in otherwords, I think there is an element of cultish behaviour in all these things, it just depends on what the type of behaviour is). I feel that the FWBO centre that I attend is staffed and attended by the normal cross-section of humanity that have an interest in such things. I feel that the people whom I have met are open, genuine people who have no more of a hidden agenda than the rest of us (make of that what you will!).

Where does all of this leave me? Well, I have spoken to Mr India and a few of my friends about the content of this website and my reaction to it. They will keep a little eye on me to see if I act out of character (or any more so than usual...). I will discuss the situation again with one of the order members. I will continue to keep my sceptical eye employed as before. And then I'm going to relax and enjoy the experience and the company of some kind, open hearted and generous people. Now, if I tell you all that I can't buy anymore yarn because all of my cash is going to the FWBO, you'll know there was a problem 0:)


Blogger ambermoggie said...

Enjoy your journey into buddhism and I hope the path is yours:) Don't worry over what you read. The group we used to have links to through our friends had all that and in their case richly deserved. But I think you have to go with the thought that you follow your own path and the journey is as much part of it.
And enjoy SP8 it will be fun, its good to meet new people

11:33 am  
Blogger Poshyarns said...

What an interesting post India. I think you are taking a sensible level headed approach and should be fine. I grew up in Belfast in the 70's - hidden agendas and unhealthy elements can definitely crop up in even the most mainstream of religions.

I hope this discovery doesn't taint for you what sounds like an enjoyable part of your life. Anyway it sounds as though you have the perfect barometer by which to check yourself - stash enhancing!

8:20 pm  

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