I write this, sipping coffee and feeling the super gross Sara Lee brownie rolling around in my body. I write this, fully ready to talk about the change in my person since nestling and settling in TN. I write this, telling the world that Nichiren Buddhism burns in my soul, but is afraid to pass my lips. It cannot be in this home in any form. Not because I don’t want it to, but because I’m trying to respect the home I live in and not cause drama between my uncle–the pastor, and my aunt–the first lady.
I write about this a lot on Tumblr.
I guess it’s been itching at me and hurting me so much that I have to keep writing and writing about it. I’m pretty upset about it, and it’s really starting to dismantle things a bit. I don’t have the stress of Chicago, but the stress of joblessness, a dead lovelife, and a writing career that might as well be face-down in the nearest river really isn’t doing wonders either. I can’t chant about it in front of my Gohonzon. And, while I can simply chant with beads in hand and my other items in tow, it’s better to have the Butsudan and the Gohonzon.
This is the problem–I can’t.
I want to chant, but I feel like even that’s going to be offensive. I can’t have an Omamori, either. I can’t have an altar in this house from another faith. That’s just…it. When my aunt said “talk to your uncle about it”, I KNEW where it was going to go. I might not have been the best Christian in my past life, but I remember a lot of the basics about altars, idolatry, and what can and cannot be in a Christian home. I just didn’t want to start any drama.
My Butsudan is mine. So I didn’t leave it in Chicago. I snuck it in the house, here. I wrapped it up securely. It is in storage under the stairs. I hate to write that. I hate to think it. I don’t want to give it back, because I don’t want to stop practicing. But I haven’t practiced in a long time. I haven’t renewed my subscription to the World Tribune or Living Buddhism. I semi connected with the members who ARE down here.
That got messy.
Wires all crossed at the same time. I know my uncle and aunt are fine with whatever religion I choose. So it’s not like they’re going to throw me out. They love me and want me to take this time to straighten myself out. However, this is their house. So while they were fine with that, again, the altar. At the time, I asked when I was going back to Chicago to get my things and go to wedding. At the same time, I’m getting howdy do’s from the members here in Paris, not realizing what I would not be able to do.
I can still connect, I can still “be with my people”–but I’m stuck in this weird sadness. I’m embarrassed to tell them anything, so they probably feel like this lack of communication means I’m an antisocial jerk, or that I’m done practicing.
That’s the thing.
What we read over and over about this Buddhism.
Never give up. Practice the Sutra with your heart and soul, fiercely and courageously. Be a lion/lioness.
And I keep putting it off and promising the next day to do something about it, forgetting that Nichiren Buddhism is all about the change that starts with me. We chant for clarity and wisdom, we walk in faith, but WE have to make changes as well.
And I just want a job so I can get an apartment and put my Butsudan wherever I want it to go. I want to stop being sad and depressed. That stops everything, and I need to keep going. There have been days when I’ve gotten up to take on the world, and others where I just stay in bed and munch my problems away. And all the signs of depression–lethargy, carelessness, hopelessness…I don’t know what these people are seeing, but I’ve been a wreck for about two months. I’m 30, I don’t want to be a wreck.
How do I balance respecting this household, and practicing the religion of my choice? How do I maintain a good relationship with my family without stepping on their toes?
I don’t have an answer for anything, but doing nothing simply will not do.