A Self-Respecting Naked Buddhist

Buddha on the journey to enlightenment.

Buddha on the journey to enlightenment.

Yes, Buddha, or should I say Siddhartha Gautama, would have looked like this not long after he began his journey to enlightenment. Like all those before him, that journey was marked by being skyclad, by meditation, and by deprivation. Today, Sadhu Nagas still continue this practice. Somewhere between then and now, the Digambara who stress the practice of nudity as an absolute prerequisite to the attainment of salvation.

Somewhere along his journey toward salvation, he decided that the traditional means of attaining salvation were just not enough. He abandoned the classical Hindu and Jainist rituals and carved his own path that he called the middle way. He came to reject nudity as being unseemly with the nude body being ugly and not suitable for polite company. As Buddha, he self-proclaimed as fully aware. Yet, he was still a man of his times, a time when nudity was not considered suitable in polite company. In other words, he didn’t want Buddhists to be in conflict with cultural norms. Another reason for his rejection of nudity was the fact that he was rejecting Hinduism and Jainism and he wanted his followers to be be distinctive in appearance and dress. Both reasons are sensible when the objective is to have Buddhism become mainstream. As far as nudity being objectionable in terms of ultimate moral truth, that would be a different story, one that Buddha never addressed.

Of course, Buddha also said that we each must carve our own path to enlightenment, not simply to adopt his path as our path. My path includes nude meditation and respect for the naked human body.

I want to bring in a different voice here, Radmila Moacanin who wrote in 1986 in a book that looked at Jungian psychology and Buddhism:

“the strength of Buddhism, namely the flexibility of its method s and practice, its emphasis on each individual’ s experience , not intellectual, philosophical knowledge alone , or blind faith. Nothing, no method is excluded that could lead to the ultimate goal of liberation.”

Blind faith, a rigorous following of a document as the “holy words” of a belief system, was not what Buddhism is supposed to be about.

Book Review of Aglow by Will Forest

Cover of Will Forest's latest book, Aglow.

Cover of Will Forest’s latest book, Aglow.

I’ve just finished reading Will Forest’s second naturist novel, Aglow. Having enjoyed his first naturist novel, Coed Naked Philosophy, I was anxious to begin reading with high expectations. I wasn’t disappointed. I was, however, surprised.

As a person who views life through a worldview that includes Jungian psychology, the shift from a theme of college life to a blend of Meso-American mythology and contemporary Mexico and Brazil, was something that added value to a tale of naturist exploration. My readers here know I often write about the masculine and the feminine psyche. Will Forest travels back in time through artefacts that have stories to reveal which speak with both a masculine and a feminine voice. Combined, those voices talk of wholeness and a universal oneness.

Will Forest’s writing, as in his first book, shows care and attention to historical accuracy and does so in a manner that avoids having the novel sound too academic. The story emerges with both playfulness and seriousness being present in both the past and present faces of the novel. And in the end, one is left wanting to hear more of the story that involves the protagonists, Marisol and Ze.

More Than Just Selling Books

SONY DSC

Sunrise coming in Red Deer

It’s early morning while I am in Red Deer, only two hours before I drive north for another book signing event at the Sherwood Park Chapters store.

Enjoying a cool morning sunrise in Red Deer.

Enjoying a cool morning sunrise in Red Deer.

Yesterday in Edmonton I sold ten books, a significant number for a Friday afternoon much to the surprise of the staff at the Southpoint Chapters store. What surprised me was the number of visitors who wanted to talk. As people told me their stories, whether they bought books or not, I realised that none of that would have happened had I not written and published my books. These people told me of their stories of abuse, some while tears rolled down their cheeks. I could tell that their standing in a store, letting the stories and tears come out was something that made the whole journey worth it for me.

I have just put the coffee on to brew and am waiting for my first cup of the day while enjoying the view of the sky’s light show. In another hour my grandson will be up and wanting to play for a bit before I make the drive. It looks like it will be a good day in another Chapters store, listening to more stories.

More Than Just Selling Books

SONY DSC

Sunrise coming in Red Deer

It’s early morning while I am in Red Deer, only two hours before I drive north for another book signing event at the Sherwood Park Chapters store.

Enjoying a cool morning sunrise in Red Deer.

Enjoying a cool morning sunrise in Red Deer.

Yesterday in Edmonton I sold ten books, a significant number for a Friday afternoon much to the surprise of the staff at the Southpoint Chapters store. What surprised me was the number of visitors who wanted to talk. As people told me their stories, whether they bought books or not, I realised that none of that would have happened had I not written and published my books. These people told me of their stories of abuse, some while tears rolled down their cheeks. I could tell that their standing in a store, letting the stories and tears come out was something that made the whole journey worth it for me.

I have just put the coffee on to brew and am waiting for my first cup of the day while enjoying the view of the sky’s light show. In another hour my grandson will be up and wanting to play for a bit before I make the drive. It looks like it will be a good day in another Chapters store, listening to more stories.

Reminders That There is More

A foggy morning on the prairies before the sun burns off the moisture.

A foggy morning on the prairies before the sun burns off the moisture.

It was foggy when we woke up this morning, a result of too much rain for too many weeks. This is typically dry prairie with about seven inches of rain up to this point in the year. So far we are somewhere around twenty inches of rain with some disastrous results for some crops that require less moisture and more heat.

But this isn’t about the weather, but about how we often find ourselves in our own seasons of fog. It seems that after a period of clarity and awareness, we get visited by ghostly shadows which remind us that we are far from being fully aware of very much at all. All I have to do is judge how I respond to the retreat of sunshine behind clouds and then being embraced by the clammy-feeling fog. There is a sensation that there are things out there that surround me that I have absolutely no knowledge of, dark and damp things, stuff from the personal and collective unconscious.

Reminders That There is More

A foggy morning on the prairies before the sun burns off the moisture.

A foggy morning on the prairies before the sun burns off the moisture.

It was foggy when we woke up this morning, a result of too much rain for too many weeks. This is typically dry prairie with about seven inches of rain up to this point in the year. So far we are somewhere around twenty inches of rain with some disastrous results for some crops that require less moisture and more heat.

But this isn’t about the weather, but about how we often find ourselves in our own seasons of fog. It seems that after a period of clarity and awareness, we get visited by ghostly shadows which remind us that we are far from being fully aware of very much at all. All I have to do is judge how I respond to the retreat of sunshine behind clouds and then being embraced by the clammy-feeling fog. There is a sensation that there are things out there that surround me that I have absolutely no knowledge of, dark and damp things, stuff from the personal and collective unconscious.

Daring Full and Transparent Honesty in Relationship

The years have allowed relationship to be playful.

The years have allowed relationship to be playful.

This couple, Melvin and Sandy, are friends of mine in the cyberworld, friends for several years. I look forward to the day when we get together. Like my wife and I, this couple has a long history together, one that has worked to allow them to discover themselves as individuals within an intimate relationship, and to rediscover the “other” fully. What is learned about the other, because of daring to risk being authentic, includes both darkness and light.

Daring to be playful, trusting that respect for each other is never compromised.

Daring to be playful, trusting that respect for each other is never compromised.

The shadows beneath the surface hide most of who we are, even from ourselves. As we become self-aware, a process that requires others, we are better able to see the others as who they really are. Unfortunately, with the projections withdrawn which allow us to see others as they are, we often find ourselves deciding that this “significant” other doesn’t fit well with our own newly discovered self. The result is typically divorce or keeping the relationship together with repressed anger, psychological barriers, and physical distance (no touching, separate bedrooms, etc.). However, for some like this couple, the exposed warts, scars and bruises both physical and psychological, that predate their union, as well as having grown out of unconscious reactions out of fear and anger, serve to cement the union because of honesty.

Some of us are “lucky” according to the majority who are jealous of what appears to be an evident happy union. Yes, we are lucky that we have dared honesty, dared being totally vulnerable to each other, and dared to hold with awe, the other in our hearts and lives.