A Jewish Buddhist In India
A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.
For many years I have considered myself a Jewish Buddhist, or what is now commonly referred to as a JuBu. To be honest, I found the Bu part far more compelling than the Ju part. Growing up Jewish, I found synagogues lacking in spirituality and during services experienced myself more as an observer than a participant. As secular Jews, my family strongly identified with a cultural Judaism and took pride in both Jewish accomplishments and in Israel. Though we never lit the Sabbath candles we ate matzo ball soup and noodle kugel, enjoyed bagels on Sunday and cheered for the contestants with Jewish names on Jeopardy. As I sought greater connection to a spiritual tradition, I discovered a Buddhist path one could travel toward self-transformation and enlightenment. Brown rice and tofu spoke to me in whispers of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, while my Jewish roots spoke to me of oven-roasted brisket breathing down my neck with onions and heaviness.
When I was in my forties, I had the great fortune of living out my dream of traveling to the Himalayas on several occasions, visiting both Nepal and Bhutan to trek in the midst of 8,000 meter peaks, meditate in Buddhist monasteries, and spin prayer wheels at sacred stupas.
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Posted by emfrankel at 5:58 PM