The OCeeker: The Buddhist Church of Orange County and Meditations on Women, the Lakers and Pabst Blue Ribbon
We stood, and he suggested we not lock our knees during the five-minute mediation. He also explained that we "don't have to be in a temple to meditate", and we want to learn to take the practice out into our daily lives.
He rang a smaller bell, and the OCeeker got his meditation on again: in the heartland...Stater Bros.; naked women; do you know the muffin man?; naked women; bet I can get through the date with the Mexican babe for under $20; too bad it didn't work out with the girl I just broke it off with; she was actually intelligent; I was too much man for her anyway; Foster the People sucks; naked women; etc.
Mark rang the bell. We did the little bow thing again, and he explained that the biggest benefit of meditation is discovering that we can manage our thoughts, which enables us to deal with bad experiences in the past.
"You can control what you hang onto," Mark said.
He rang the big bell for the next 10-minute sitting meditation: a particular naked woman; Clayton Kershaw's curveball; people need to stop wearing fake mustaches and taking pics for Facebook, because it's not funny; damn, I just put on my sleepy pants; Yahtzee!; he lives on Drury Lane; men should never put smiley faces on the end of any message; naked women doing jazz hands; etc.
Mark rang the bell again and we bowed. He talked about the importance of meditating at least once a day and perhaps not flipping on the TV as soon as we get home, or turning up the radio when we get in the car.
Bumper Sticker in Parking Lot: Forgot to Look; Meditation Took it Out of Me
We then opened our song books and busted out some chanting, after Mark rang a bell twice. The chant was the Juseige, a gatha (song of praise) in the primary sutra of Shin Buddhism, "The Larger Sutra of Immeasurable Life". It's about the Bodhisattva Dharmakara promising to seek enlightenment and making 48 vows to the Buddha Lokes-vararaja. The gatha is his praise to the vows.
In the midst of the monotone chanting, the OCeeker snuck in some "Tang Soo Do and a do-si-do, Mr. Roboto" for shits and giggles.
Mark rang the bell a couple more times and we wrapped up the chanting.
He then summarized a story of Siddhartha, the OG Buddha, who struggled to find a way to deal with the sickness and suffering he saw around him. OG Buddha whipped up what would become some fundamental teachings called the "Four Noble Truths" (sounds like a Motown band), which explain the origin of suffering and how to overcome it.
Mark said we are going to cross "the gates" of suffering--old age, sickness and death. But, he said, a lot of suffering is caused by ourselves, and we, in turn, cause others to suffer, who then cause us to suffer because we have caused them to suffer. It's a loop of suffering, kinda like an OC Weekly article that causes the suffering of a reader, who then posts a lame-ass comment on the article, causing the suffering of the writer, who then complains to Gustavo about lame-ass readers, which causes the suffering of Gustavo, who then puts the writer on the pervert beat, which causes the writer to suffer, who then pisses of perverts with his stories, which causes the suffering of the perverts, who post lame-ass comments on the articles, which causes the writer to suffer. As Sylvester Buddha said: Suffering succotash!
|I tawt I taw a Buddha tat|
Mark said we worry over suffering because we do not control our thoughts, which, ultimately, is something we can learn to do through meditation.
He then explained that to bow before the Buddha is not worship the image.
"We're actually paying respect for the teaching," he said. "It goes beyond the person so...we really are bowing to (the) teaching."
In turn, we each moseyed up to the altar, offered incense and prayer, then bowed, with the OCeeker lifting a quick "what up, dead B?"
Mark invited us to have tea and sit in on a dharma teaching, but the OCeeker was tuckered out from the meditating. Goodbye, melatonin supplements!
The OCeeker gave Mark's meditation service a C+. Warmhearted teaching mixed with meditation allowed the OCeeker to suffer past Anaheim's drivers before hitting the freeway.
At least half the guys greeted the OCeeker. Gassho to yooz guys too!
The Buddhist Church of Orange County meets every Sunday at 10 a.m., with meditation services at 8:30 a.m. every Sunday and 7:30 p.m. every Wednesday at 909 Dale Ave., Anaheim, (714) 827-9590; www.ocbuddhist.org