Mamad Purbo

Annual Enlightenment

Being occasionally lazy, I usually would welcome a collection of short writings, so that I can innocently skip pieces that I don't like without feeling like I miss anything. Being occasionally trying to enlighten myself with a presently acceptable brand of spiritualism, I found 'The Best Buddhist Writing' series to be irresistibly attractive. I have been following this series from the beginning (as if it was so long ago). Actually, this series has just been started on 2004.

Just as the 2004 one, Best Buddhist Writing 2005 is a delightful assortment of both short and long lectures by both cute (Dalai Lama) and fearsome ([insert a hard to pronounce name here] Rinpoche) Tibetan sounding names, and of writings by amazing lineup of all kinds of people: a murder convict, a sober former-drunk, a dying journalist, or just somebody driving down Sunset Boulevard.

It is hard not to be inspired by these, not necessarily Buddhist, writings. After all, Buddhism is about nothing but trying to cope with occasional, or frequent, absurdity everybody have to face in daily life. As is wonderfully summarized by the following anecdote as recounted by a certain Gretel Ehrlich climbing southern Patagonia:

Once a Chinese master asked his head monk where he was going. Fa-yen answered: "I'm rambling aimlessly around." The teacher asked what good it did, and Fa-yen answered: "I don't know." The teacher smiled. "That's good."