Do you know what is better than charity and fasting and prayer?

It is keeping peace and good relations between people,

as quarrels and bad feelings destroy mankind.

- Prophet Mohammed


Day 1

April 1st, 2010

So, it's official. I'm a Buddhist. 

Today has been pretty easy so far though. I woke up to the same alarm clock as I did yesterday. My dog jumped on the bed and licked the bedspread where my wife was laying just moments before. I showered, got dressed and headed to work. Same ol' thing.

I haven't had time to go to the grocery store and stock-up on Buddha-approved sustenance yet, so on the way to the office, I stopped by the local market for a little breakfast. This once simple task has already become more challenging. I knew it would be much trickier and more time-consuming to shop as a vegetarian, but actually doing it sucks. Being forced to be selective and picky is something that I've never dealt with before. 

Typically, I would bulldoze my way over to the sandwich-wing of the market and, depending on my mood, gorge on the meatiest and eggiest choice in front of my carnivorous eyes. Not today, though. Nope. I took my typical stance in front of those flesh-filled concoctions; sulked a bit and shuffled over to the fruit section. I have nothing against fruit. I just like animal flesh more. The pickings were pretty meager: bananas, tangerines or oranges. I opted for the tangerines. Six of those bad-boys cost me nearly three bucks. That's absurd.

I usually get to the office pretty early in the morning and one of the few delights of being up just after the sun is that my morning coffee gets upgraded to an almost-angelic status. And the thing that really twists the knife is that my wife makes excellent morning coffee. Well, today --and for the next thirty days-- I don't get any coffee. In fact, I'm staying away from all intoxicants and impurities, including caffeine and sugar. 

Some scholars of Buddhism might ask why I'm going to such an extreme. I guess that's a fair question and for it I have an easy answer: The point of this project is to experience sacrifice; true and honest sacrifice. I could have become a Buddhist-light, that's true. But that wouldn't require much from me at all. I chose to follow the eight ethics (listed on the right) known as The Eight Precepts, rather than the slightly more manageable Five Precepts. I thought that the eight were a happy median between the simple, everyday Buddhists and the monks. So, before you start making statements like, "I know Buddhists who eat meat and sleep in beds", just consider the fact that there are practitioners of all faiths who choose a simpler, less rigid interpretation of their respective faith, just like those who go all-out. I have chosen a pious and reasonable path for my life.

Perhaps "reasonable" isn't the correct word actually. Just last night, my wife told me that we had plans with a Korean couple for Friday night at, of all places, a Korean barbecue and booze joint. I'm not sure how I'm going to manage this one, but I guess it'll be a good test of will.

After finishing my morning classes, I headed home for a hearty lunch of kimchi ramen and Sun Chips. It wasn't great and I know it's not too healthy, but as I mentioned earlier, I have yet to go to the grocery. Don't worry though, I'm loaded on vitamins and other supplements. I won't shrivel up and die this month. 

My afternoon classes are always a little more active which, of course, means that I burn more energy. Today was a double-whammy for me as well. It's my first day on this regiment and it also happened to be the day I chose weeks ago to have a pizza party. I had to watch the kids devour piece after piece of pizza and wash it down with Pepsi. I wanted to partake, but didn't. Perhaps that's my first feat.

Now, I'm at home. It's around 7:00pm and I'm hungry. The wife is still out and I have nothing to do, but chant, meditate, do my 108 bows and then, in case you forgot, I get to sleep on the floor.

I'm still feeling great though and I'm really excited to see what I'm capable of. Until tomorrow...

Buddham saranam gacchami. (I go for refuge in the Buddha.)



  1. Remember as Michael always says, "Head down, power through"...that is until you get to December....then you can stop. ;)

  2. Ha! I figured December would be a good time for Protestantism.

    I'm actually going to rearrange some of the times and religions, so they correspond with holidays.

    Also, the Arrested Development movie comes out this year!