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A Departure, an Arrival

October 21, 2015

Yesterday I marked two anniversaries. One was very hard. It was a year since my mother-in-law Barbara died. She’s the first of our kids’ grandparents to die. Although she was being treated for lung cancer, her death was sudden and surprising. It still feels very strange not to see her at family gatherings, to eat her macaroni salad or to pour her a glass of wine. It was much more pleasant to mark the other anniversary. One year ago yesterday I entered the Won-Buddhist temple in Chapel Hill for the first time. At 6:30am I joined two kyomunims (priests) and two other laypersons for one hour of meditation. We bowed, chanted, sat in silence, chanted some more, and even sang a bit. The simple beauty of the temple inspired me, and the deep resonance of the large bell ringing calmed me even as it awoke me to the moment. I knew that morning I wanted to return, but mourning kept me away for a few days. Over the year I have meditated there often, spent a weekend learning 8-form tai chi, studied the Diamond Sutra with a small group, met a Prime Dharma Master Emeritus, and participated with the sangha (community) in other ways. I have spent time in other meditation settings, but this one immediately felt like a spiritual home. I am now preparing to take a dharma name, and in the spring I will travel to Korea with nearly two dozen other members of the temple to mark the centennial of Won-Buddhism. As with Barbara’s dying, my spiritual rebirth in this place has been both sudden, and emerging for some time. I am grateful for knowing Barbara, and I am grateful to know the Won-Buddhist temple. May both continue to shape my life.

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3 comments

  1. This is an amazing development. I’m so happy for you.


    • Thanks, KL. For reading, and for supporting.


  2. Life’s journey holds many vistas. Enjoy and best thoughts going out to you, Bob.



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