to look deeply and critically

May 27, 2016 – month of daily flower & buddha photos – Day 27

biker buddha

biking buddhas

back flower

flowers on robe of Pu-tai statue, porcelain, China c1900. photo may 2016

“It is sometimes quite startling how in young people today, there is often a strong awareness of death Each fall I teach an introductory Buddhism class at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Most of the students who enroll in this course know little about Buddhism, but they do have some idea that it presents a different perspective on life and death. In the first day, I ask each student what brought him or her to sign up for this class. I find that an extraordinarily high percentage of them report having had to face death or the prospect of death in some way. Some students have themselves faced life-threatening illnesses; some are still ill; others have been in serious accidents; some are still recovering; others have lost a parent, a sibling, a close friend, or a mate; and so on. For most of these young people, their encounter with death has dropped out of a clear blue sky and caught them completely unawares. These experiences have been transformative, making them realize that their lives are not a guaranteed thing. For some, the attitudes and values that had previously carried them have literally evaporated before their eyes. This, in turn, has led them to begin to look deeply and critically—usually for the first time—at who they are and what their life is about. They have found their way to my class on Buddhism as part of this endeavor.”

—Reginald A. Ray,

Indestructible Truth: The Living Spirituality of Tibetan Buddhism (2000)

I teach a variety of university courses on world religions—including Buddhism. But for a different university than Dr. Ray. My experience to some extent parallels his as described here.