[Buddha-l] Watery dharma

Richard Hayes rhayes at unm.edu
Mon Dec 17 20:25:19 MST 2007

On Sat, 2007-12-15 at 16:26 -0500, Joel Tatelman wrote:

> I don't know whether this speaks very directly to your query, but the  
> male members of my family, all non-observant Jews, have always been a  
> little embarrassed by my Buddhist practice. On the other hand,  
> they've always been proud of my scholarly work. Were I less low-key,  
> I suspect "a little embarrassed" could transmute into something like  
> "intensely embarrassed" or even "ashamed."

Keep working on it, Joel. It's a pity to see relatives being only a
little embarrassed when they are eligible to receive the upgrade to
being ashamed.

My father, one of the world's most unrepentant atheists and a sworn
enemy to all religions of every kind, used to be bewildered by my
Buddhist practice. (He took to flagellating himself and incanting "Where
the hell did I go wrong? My son has taken up religion." He felt a little
better when I explained that I had been captured by aliens and taken to
a nearby black hole to be brainwashed; then he knew it was not his
fault. Despite his atheism, he celebrates Christmas. He religiously
sends me a Sam Harris book every year.)

> But they'd never send a party of armed men to my house, as happened  
> to a British woman I heard interviewed on BBC last night (she, the  
> daughter of an imam, converted to Xnty).

That also happened to one of my students at University of Toronto many
years ago. She was kidnapped by armed men and taken to India, because
she had refused to marry the total stranger her Sikh parents had picked
out for her. That kind of parental disapproval, is, I would agree, on a
different scale from the bemused furrowing of the brow that you and I
cause our kin to do.

Richard Hayes
Department of Philosophy
University of New Mexico

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