Friday, September 25, 2009

Fine Line Between The Buddha and The Beggar

We've all heard the line, "there's a fine line between genius and insanity". This fine line between opposites can also be applied to the a Buddhist vs a vagrant beggar. 

Take this scenario:

A Buddhist and a beggar are walking down a path and the beggar asks the Buddhist what he is trying to achieve.
"I aim to live my life in the now, for thats what the Buddhist tradition teaches." replies the Buddhist.
To which the beggar quickly responds; "Why do you need Buddhism?  I can teach you how to do that!"

The art of living in the present moment is fundamental to  the Buddhist way of life. Meditation is one of the practices that trains the mind to rid itself of thought so that the present moment can be experienced to the fullest. When woody Allan said, "80% of life is just showing up", he was on to something. Showing up to the present moment allows us to escape mechanical mindsets that keep us from experiencing fullness in life.

As a retreatist from mainstream expectations, the vagrant beggar lives in the present moment. Perhaps the beggar is drug addicted and simply looking for a fix. Upon getting that fix, the beggar feels every sensation. Warmth coming up through the veins, a liquid orgasm engulfs the body; consciousness zoomed in on the present. The anxiety laden world appears robotic in what's really just a game after-all. Some players in this game simply prefer to sit out and watch.

The Buddha knows this game well since he's seen it been played may times: always through the powerful consciousness of the present.

*Special thanks to Phil for ideas on this concept 

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