Today is the first day of October. I’ve also made a commitment. I decided to commit to my secular Buddhism. It’s a thing that matters to me. I’m a confirmed Christian. My mother was a Catholic (until she was excommunicated and decided that God hated her). My friends cross all faith boundaries. I have always been extremely flexible around my idea of what the world means, the known and the unknown. As a teenager I was a hugely evangelical Christian. I was good at it. It’s a warm community. I met some wonderful people. I noticed a hierarchy, though, which is a thing I hate. But those friends of mine from back then – they’re doing brilliantly in that world. I think that there’s depth and weight in that Christianity. It’s a beautiful faith, despite the male patriarchal Godhead and the badly thought out detail. I practice Christianity and would gladly taIk about it for hours. I’ve cared about that faith structure for decades and there is much to love. But my recent focus has been much more on Nichiren Buddhism.
“I’m worried about Al. He’s got himself involved with witchcraft.” That’s what I’ve been hearing from my old friends. Of course it’s meaningless nonsense, the idea of witchcraft. But it’s also fascinating to engage with the fear of the other. Witchcraft. So, what’s that? You have an idea. That idea is the idea that’s the right idea because it’s yours, and it’s supported by multiple other people who you’ve met… Someone on the fringes of your idea discovers that instead of bleeding yourself with leeches, you should eat the mold from bread. Witchcraft! How can you change your idea when you’ve already had it?
Today I committed to receiving the idea of a “gohonzon” for a secular form of Buddhism. It’s the first idea after my ongoing youthful christian faith that I’ve shown or felt any commitment to.
I got up this morning and put on my three piece. “I see, so we’re dressing like it’s a christening.” Said Brian in the morning as I threw on my suit. I agreed. He was willing to come and see what’s what. Irrespective of his belief structures, we both arrived looking a million dollars. I was being christened into the practice. I was surrounded by friends.
Sue was running the event and gave me my scroll. She was the head of technical theatre at Guildhall, and her son is my very dear friend with whom I hung out in LA. Sam, my vastly loved ex, was there today too. Here’s a scratchy photo.
Now I’m trying to work out how to sleep. I feel strangely different from the people I’ve met today. Ollie is booking a flight to LA on impulse using some sort of online personal assistant thing. Right now he’s quibbling about detail. It seems like he wants to add me to his booking. I’m game, of course. But it could be difficult because I need to get back in time for my coming job in Milan.
Today was beautiful. I ended up surrounded by amazing people who I barely know. Everyone has a different idea of what’s normal. But I’m feeling very well placed, and very solid. And really quite unbelievably drunk. Xx zzz