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Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

his chance to shine—or fail spectacularly… - My Buddhist Christmas by Jeremy Phillips

Caught between the principles of his religion and the influence of his hard-partying bandmates, Chris is in a constant struggle for balance. [...] 
Conflicted about his friends, lying to his family, and still mourning a devastating loss, Chris wonders if being an American Buddhist guitar wizard wanna-be is worth it.

Description:

Release Date: September 8th, 2015

It’s not surprising that sixteen year old Chris Jones has no idea where he fits in…

After all, he’s a Buddhist kid in America—during the Christmas season. Add in the fact he plays guitar in a punk rock band called The Dharma Bhumz, and his life is one giant paradox. Caught between the principles of his religion and the influence of his hard-partying bandmates, Chris is in a constant struggle for balance.

An upcoming talent show is his chance to shine—or fail spectacularly…

It’s already hard enough preparing for the show, since his friends are more interested in getting high than practicing. And now Chris has to worry about impressing pretty Mary Simpson. To make matters even worse, Mary’s parents are fundamentalist Christians, a few steps above his family on the social ladder, and they firmly believe Chris isn’t good enough for their precious daughter.

Conflicted about his friends, lying to his family, and still mourning a devastating loss, Chris wonders if being an American Buddhist guitar wizard wanna-be is worth it.

Or does any of it even matter anymore?

EXCERPTs


“Well hello there,” Mary’s dad says. His handshake is aggressive, the “greetings” version of an assault. It leaves my hand sore afterwards. His next statement comes out sounding like an accusation: “Mary likes you a lot, you know.”

Mary’s dad is a big guy. Wide at the shoulders, like a football linebacker. Something about his body language is just plain intimidating. The man smiles at me an awful lot, a fake plastic smile that never seems to end, but with also this tension in his body as though he wants to attack me if he could just find the right excuse. Maybe he’s that way with everyone?
****
“So doesn’t it bother you?” I shudder, thinking of ending up like one of the various invalids that my father takes care of. Not to run and play anymore, or even to have proper control of your own bowels. Perhaps it would be better to lose your mind, like the one old fellow I’d seen earlier, staring blindly off into space. Only, perhaps that would be worse. 

All of a sudden, I realize that what’s been bothering me is the Buddha’s so-called First Noble Truth, the one that set him onto the path of trying to find Enlightenment—Awakening, Satori, that type of stuff—in the first place. This is the First Noble Truth set into flesh, in the bodies of a hundred different examples, scattered in the building all around me. The Truth of Suffering, that all who are born will come to suffer, at least once in their lifetime, from the unhappy triple curse of sickness, old age, and death.

About the author:
Jeremy Phillips has been interested in Buddhist philosophy for more than twenty years, and attends services at a Shin Buddhist temple in Spokane, Washington. When he isn't writing or keeping busy being a father and husband, he works as a Respiratory Therapist at several different hospitals. He lives in Spokane with his wife, children, dogs, and bonsai trees.

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