Caught Between Worlds or a Pagan Dharma19 May 2011
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This post is partially an explanation of why this site, Pagan Dharma has been created. The other day, I was speaking with my old friend, Catherine. Catherine and I went to college together 20 years ago this year. We met through the pagan student group at the University of Washington as undergraduate students there, circled together on and off, were in a magical order together later, dated some of the same people, and are still friends through all of this.
These days, Catherine and I are both basically Buddhists. She practices a form of Chinese Chan, which is really the kissing cousin of my own American form of Korean Zen. Before all of this, we were both card carrying members of American Neopagandom. In many ways, we still are though, and that was where my conversation was coming from. While we both very much identify with a spiritual tradition, that of the Buddha, which is not “pagan” in the sense of the 20th (and now 21st) century neopagan movement, it is very much a pagan one in any classical sense. Additionally, speaking for me, my cultural outlook and how I relate to the world spiritually is still very much influenced and informed by the nearly 20 years I spent as a pagan. My orientation to the sacred, this world as a lived thing, and how I go about my life and ritual is as much that of a neopagan and a magician as it is that of a Buddhist. I’ll allow Catherine to speak for herself on this site but I think it is very much the same for her.
I had the idea of putting up a site that looks at the Dharma, the teachings and way of being derived from the Buddha, from the point of view of being a pagan, in whatever loose sense we want to define that. It is easy enough to put a site up and so much of Buddhism as taught in the West derives from a much more Protestant (or even occasionally Jewish) way of interacting with the world and basic mindset.
What does a pagan dharma look like? I’m interested in finding out. In talking to Catherine, she is interested in talking about this as well. The hope is that perhaps others will find this of interest and contribute to the potential community here as well.
This site will act as a vehicle for some essays by the pair of us and possibly by a few other pagan Buddhists that I know. I’ve also added the capability to have groups and forums so we can communicate with each other in an ad-hoc fashion. Maybe nothing much will come of it but it never hurts to try and I can use an excuse to inflict my thoughts upon the world.
More of this sort of thing can occasionally be read on my blog, Open Buddha, along with some hackerish and geeky things as well.