maarmie's musings

Monday, May 22, 2006

Hawaii tomorr-o (well, the day after)

My friends Paul and Judi, a married couple, are moving to Hawaii in a couple of days. Paul is a Christian-turned-Buddhist who ran the Tallahassee Buddhist Center, and Judi, who is dispassionate about and skeptical of any type of organized religion, is a lawyer who defended death row inmates all over Florida.

In Hawaii, Paul will start and run the Hawaiian center for the Amida Trust, an order of Buddhists who live what they believe by reaching out in the world to people and places in need. I have had multiple invites to join the order and live in one of its centers in several countries and am seriously considering it. My family, no doubt, would treat it like I was running away with the circus.

The only reason I'd ever consider this move is because I'm drawn to this type of Buddhism. The members aren't cloistered away from the world and focused only on themselves. They focus on their teachings so they can focus on what's going on in the world - politics, social issues - and do whatever they can to raise the awareness of problems and assist where assistance is needed.

Dharmavidya Brazier is the monk who runs the whole show. I met he and his wife, a Buddhist nun, when they were in Tallahassee at Paul's invitation. I went for a dinner with Paul and the Braziers, and, without even knowing much about me, the Dharmavidya gave me his card and invited me to join.

I jokingly refer to the Braziers as cult leaders and laughingly hint that I think they're trying to brainwash me but that I think I'd look good in a red robe with a shaved head. Being a Buddhist monk, and one from England at that, I'm not sure he appreciates the humor, but you'd never know it because he seems to be, indeed, a real Buddhist. By that I mean that his face conveys nothing but calmness and peace, and his piercing blue eyes radiate only wisdom and concern. The fact that he has a Ph.D. and is knowledgeable about everything having to do with foreign and domestic affairs and exudes this calm kind of passion only makes him all the more interesting.

I just got back from dinner with Paul and Judi, and they keep bugging me to move to Hawaii. The only things I've committed to so far are thinking about their proposition and visiting them when I am able. Working for the order would provide me with food, shelter, clothing and medical care, but it would not provide me with money. I would get to see and do amazing things, though, and possibly make a huge difference in the lives of many people while becoming a more centered person through Buddhist teachings. I can think of worse things to do with my life.

11 comments:

Jeremy said...

Why not go for it? It's not like you'd have to live there for the rest of your life. And can you have a job if you live there? A part time job for a little pocket money? Plus it would give me an excuse to go to Hawaii again. :-)

But I can see your concern. It's that much time where you can't save for your future. You gotsta haves a house and plasma tv at some point, right? RIGHT??? Maybe my priorities are screwed up. *sigh*

maarmie said...

That's actually one of my biggest concerns. Not the house and plasma TV but retirement. Crikey! Of course, I could live with the Buddhists for the rest of my life - they wouldn't kick me out when I hit 65 - but I'm not sure that's what I would want to do with my life yet. I'd hate to get rid of everything I own and spend lots of money to move to Hawaii only to realize I hate it there and that a sparse life isn't for me.

The Misanthrope said...

That is a big decision. Also, I've heard about island fever after a few years people are going nuts to leave.

maarmie said...

I don't doubt it. I felt that way when I lived in NYC. Yes, there were all kinds of transportation options to get out of the city, but all of it seemed like such a pain and it always seemed to take forever to get away and the city just seemed to envelope you and make you feel like you couldn't escape. A lot of people who live there have never been out of the city. I can imagine it would be much worse in Hawaii.

schmutzie said...

It sounds like something fabulous to stow away as an option you can dream about for now. But what an option!

Chris said...

Walkin da erf.

Who is to be feared most? The person with answers to everything or the person with answers to nothing?

Ponder that one Grasshopper.

maarmie said...

I'd say the person with answers to everything is to be feared the most as long as the person with answers to nothing is open to learning.

Chris said...

Isn't the one with no answers frustrated by their state of ignorance, possibly precipitating an irrational act?

maarmie said...

What is considered irrational to one person could be considered rational to another. It all depends on a person's personality and value system and what he/she wants out of life.

Sunny said...

Oh gosh, fear the answer-man (or woman).

Being a "person with no answers" doesn't mean you're permanently ignorant--you just don't answer right away because you understand that you know nothing. So don't fear them. They know they're ignorant so they'll do research and find enough answers to make the right decisions.

Plus, people with all the answers are really, really frustrating. Sadly, by answering this question definitively, I've become one of them.

maarmie said...

I think we're ALL one of them at one time or another. I guess the key is knowing when not to be...But what do I know? I have the answers to nothing...