Monday, March 27, 2006

The Weekend

I spent Saturday with these people. Bert, our Senegal parrot, has chosen Doug to be his current best friend. We had a pleasant brunch at the 17th Street Cafe in Santa Monica and did grocery shopping at the Bristol Farms in Westwood and at Famima!! just across the street. On Sunday I hosted the Senshin Bookclub meeting by leading a discussion of Joan Didion's bestseller, "The Year of Magical Thinking," chronicling her observations following the sudden death of her husband, writer John Gregory Dunne. The books we previously discussed were all written from a Buddhist perspective about difficult personal experiences or church doctrine. This time I wanted to go at it from another angle. I wanted the Buddhism to be outside the realm of the author. How does someone with a non-Buddhist background face the death of a spouse? The meeting instead of focusing on points such as style and structure concentrated on the evolution of her thinking from a Jodo Shinshu point of view. In Jodo Shinshu Buddhism there is a term, tariki, meaning "other power," which derives from our acceptance of reality "as it is." Didion's sense that things were still unresolved was one of her concluding remarks. Ironically, that is where many Buddhist books begin. The hardest part of being a host is not leading the discussion (that's just talkin') but making the chinese chicken salad and getting the empanadas and madeleines, setting out the plates, encouraging everyone to eat; now that's reality - as it is.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

how sad! you referred to your family as "these people." no one wonder bert has a new best friend.

-- 2D68

p.s. some guy was using your cube today. thought it was you for moment, but i looked again and he told me "i'm not asian for today." tsk, tsk, tsk.

11:53 AM  

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