There are sacred writings that help guide us on our spiritual journey. Jews hold fast to the Torah, Christians to the New Testament, Muslims to the Koran, Buddhists to the Dhammapada and Hindus to the Bhagavad Gita. While these ancient writings have had and continue to have a profound influence upon people across the world, there is a more recent spiritual text which is equally profound but perhaps less well known. It is revered by JuBus (Jewish Buddhists) for its concise spiritual insights that speak volumes about the human condition. Unlike the other great spiritual texts from thousands of years ago, this gem, called: Zen Judaism: For you, a Little Enlightenment
, was written in 2002 by David M. Bader. Though some might debate whether he is truly a prophet or a holy man, he is a graduate of Harvard Law School, and that, I think, is enough to kvell
(Yiddish: to be extremely proud; to rejoice) over.
The great sage, David M. Bader, begins his teachings with the caveat that though the path of the JuBu is a spiritually enlightened one, the road can be difficult. For it is written:
“It’s sacred teachings combining ancient Eastern meditation techniques with traditional Jewish lower-back pain, are not easily mastered. And yet, properly understood, Zen Judaism is capable of bringing about an enlightenment experience so pure, so elevating, and so intense, you could plotz
(Yiddish for burst or explode).” (pp.11-12)
JuBus the world over can benefit from studying this great text. While a thorough exploration of Zen Judaism can take a lifetime (or many lifetimes, depending on your current incarnation and the direction your karma is heading) I offer some truths revealed by David M. Bader for you to ponder.
On Forgiveness it is written:
Let go of pride, ego and opinions. Admit your errors and forgive those of others. Relinquishment will lead to calm and healing in your relationships. If that doesn’t work try small-claims court.
On the Golden Rule it is written:
The Torah says, “love thy neighbor as thy self.” The Buddha says there is no “self.” So maybe you are off the hook.
On Renunciation is it written:
The path of Enlightenment begins with renunciation. When you come of age, depart from the house of your childhood like a swan abandoning a lake. Later, you may return, like a swan that needs laundry done.
On the Spiritual Journey it is written:
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single oy.
Wherever you go, there you are. Your luggage is another story.
If you meet the Buddha on the path, show him the photos of your grandchildren.
On Idol Worship it is written:
Thou shalt not bow down before false idols. You may, however, rent a Buddha statue for your Zen-theme bar mitzvah.
On Inviting in the Spirit it is written:
Make room for the spirit of the Buddha at your dinner table. At Passover, make room for the prophet, Elijah, too. And that’s it. Two invisible guests are enough.
On Enlightenment it is written:
Enlightenment is a sudden, wordless understanding. Stop telling everyone already.
So much wisdom, who knew? I invite all of you JuBus out there, or any combination thereof (Ju but no Bu, or Bu but no Ju) to pick up a copy of Zen Judaism
and study these sutra-like nuggets. Let their ageless wisdom speak to your present moment, and guide you in leading a pure and noble life. But before you follow this link, there are important questions to ask yourself:
Should you first have something to eat?
Did you call your mother?
Do you need a little nap?
Now you are ready: http://goo.gl/rGpXE
Posted by emfrankel at 12:08 PM
I want to welcome you to my new blog with the proper greetings, but tis the season to be confused on the best way to convey those well wishes. There’s Happy Hanukkah for some, of course, but it came early this year and so that only worked for those who celebrated the holiday during the first eight days of December. Now, the Hanukkah wrapping paper and dreidels are in the 50% off bin and the smell of the potato latkes that hovered for days in the kitchen has finally been rendered neutral from the scented holiday Yankee Candle. So Happy Hanukkah is now out.
There’s Merry Christmas, for those who celebrate Christmas. Certainly the ringing of the Salvation Army’s bells, the lights on the trees and the echoes of Christmas carols reflect this holiday season. But not everyone celebrates this holiday.
And then, the day after Christmas, it’s Kwanza, but I haven’t heard many people offering Kwanza salutations. And I’m guessing that most of us missed Diwali, which this year was celebrated from November 5th through the 9th.
Sometimes, people become offended if they are wished a happy holiday referencing a date they do not celebrate. Lawsuits are filed in cities where there are decorations on public property reflecting one holiday of the season, but not others (the whole separation of Church and State will have to wait for another blog post). Feelings are hurt, tempers flare.
What people want, I think, is to be seen for who they are. They want to be seen as authentic, and they want to matter. We get caught up in language, and in assumptions about what someone means in their greetings. People mean well in their wishes, but too often people walk away feeling invalidated, for not being seen for who they are. Maybe this season is about moving beyond the words and into the heart. As the days grow darker, it is our own inner light than can brighten the way for those with whom we cross paths. Perhaps it is enough to put our palms together at our heart, and, with a slight bow of our head, acknowledge and honor the person whom we wish to send greetings. Or maybe it’s about asking the person what holiday they celebrate this time of year, and wishing them accordingly. Or maybe it’s about responding with reciprocal wishes, even if it’s not our holiday, knowing that the wishes themselves matter more than the particular brand in which they were sent.
Maybe it’s about letting go of the need to be wished perfectly or the need to wish someone else perfectly. Maybe it’s just about stopping and seeing what is right in front of us— the grandfather zipping up his grandson’s coat and taking his hand, the woman holding the door open for us, the smile of a friend inviting us to sit and share a latte—and being grateful, truly grateful for just this, this present moment and sharing it with the people around us.
It is with these thoughts that I welcome you to my blog, and send you wishes of joy during this season in all of its many manifestations.
Posted by emfrankel at 3:23 PM