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 14

Man, last night I tempted myself to break my dietary time restrictions. I was finished with work and at home by 5:30pm and had nothing to do. It's at these times that I struggle the most. I like giving in to my desires. I've been doing it for 27 years. So, last night I got home and had nothing to do. I needed to meditate and bow, but that wasn't going to take all night. 

What was I going to do?

My first thought was food. Maybe a little cheese wouldn't hurt, right? That craving lasted for a few minutes, but I beat it. Cheese-breath isn't worth it.

My next thought was (and please pardon the vulgarity, but I've gotta be honest), well, a little more private. Masturbation is what men do when they're out of ideas and last night, I was fresh out of ideas. It was cold too outside to walk my dog (I have a cold) and I had already read and written all I wanted for the day.  I'm not supposed to nap and there generally isn't anything on television. It was literally the only thing I could think about doing. However, I decided not to and opted for a shower instead. It was long enough to make me forget about the temptation of auto-eroticism and I eventually settled for a repeat of Scrubs (which I don't care for).

Managing down time is proving to be harder than I expected. Because of the ethics I have chosen to live by, my pool of quick time-fillers has been seriously diminished. If nothing else is learned from this month, it's becoming clear to me that I need more hobbies. I've always wanted to get into woodworking. 


The Buddha is the quote master. This guy was so in touch with himself and understood what it meant to be human.
Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.
This is what I like about Buddhism and the Buddha in particular. I think it may be because it  appeals to the humanist in me. It gives humans some autonomy and doesn't reject human thought as being flawed. Buddha does not praise or elevate himself to a level that's unobtainable by man, so fearing him or his words aren't issues. He's accessible for humans. 
Buddha is a good friend to all people.
Never will you hear a Buddhist called a "Buddha-fearing man". And this, I believe,  is where I find the connection. All religions --be it monotheistic or polytheistic-- have a god or deity to fear. The assumption in those religions is that humans do not have the capacity to act or behave properly, so a authority figure must be in control.  To me, that seems insulting. I know that humans don't really have the greatest track record on NOT causing problems for the earth, each other and themselves, but has having a god really make it better?

If anything, it plays into the whole "we are only human" and "to err is human" meme that has been plaguing modern human philosophy for centuries. Of course humans make mistakes, but that doesn't mean we don't have the ability to grasp what should have been done or what we need to do to better ourselves.

Buddha was a human before other people started calling him "Buddha". His name was Siddhārtha Gautama and he was from India. He was not a god or "God" and he always made this distinction clear. He was a human and reached enlightenment and nirvana as such. That's the accessibility I'm talking about.

Let me ask you a question: In school, who were you most inspired by? Was it the strict teacher who insisted on maintaining the student-teacher dynamic or was it the teacher who spoke with you (not at you)? Was it the authority figure that you learned the most from or the mentor?

My English teacher during my sophomore year of high-school answers that question quite well. He was well-educated, experienced and had absolute passion for literature. All of those things are required of teachers, though. This guy understood his role in our lives. He cherished the opportunity to teach us wisdom along with literature. At 16, life can seem quite perilous -key word being "seem". Life at 16 seems difficult, but it's really not and that's what "Old Man" (as we called him) let us know. He didn't waste time telling us that without English literature we'd fail, nor did he handout strict punishments. He related to us. He connected.

I know that billions of humans might disagree with me, but I like the idea of learning from a mentor; a friend. 


  1. Hard to know where to go with this post. At least in this one your mother was not depicted as torturing you... in one way or another! (shopping or scary Buddhas)

    Mentors are important but we need to always strive to live a more perfect life. I know I need some role models.

  2. I just discovered you were doing this George and I spent the first 2 hrs at work going over each of your days. I love it and I think you are so interesting. Good Luck and I cant wait to read more of your adventure :)

  3. In some of André Malraux's writings one of his characters (a Chinese intellectual) remarks that early Christian theology, unlike the Romans, Greeks, and others, placed original sin within each human being rather than assigning responsibility to the gods (Zeus or Athena caused my problems or made me act this way). Since Christians were all "fallen", they had to seek forgiveness, which automatically placed God or Jesus or whatever in a judgmental, strict role. At least that is what is propagated by many strains of Christianity -- punishment, divine retribution, etc. -- still today.

  4. I say go ahead and spank it!

    Think of it this way. Since you’re doing Catholicism next month, you’ll be compelled to feel guilty about just considering it. Get it out of the way now. You can always find a priest (one you’re sure won’t find some prurient interest in the story) and confess in May.

  5. Emily,

    Continue reading. It's bound to get more interesting.

    Uncle John,

    While Chritianity certainly pushes the idea of a fearsome god, I feel like the sermons many people are growing accustomed to are leaving out the "you're hellbound unless" talk and replacing it with positive chatter. I think it'd be interesting to how sermons differ in times of economic turmoil compared with times of relative success.


    I'm more interested to see how my Korean language skills hold up in confession.