Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sixty - It's a Dangerous Age

I'm sixty this year, in fact in June past. It's the kind of number that makes one pause for thought. The usual topics come to mind; the flabbing body, the turkey neck, worries about the prostate (already realised in the case of my older brother), retirement, the older years if we live long enough or too long, mortality; What does it all mean? Is there a life after death? And so on. It takes up a lot of time this thinking and I don't have a lot of time. I'm too busy working or practicing golf or riding my bicycle, but working mostly.
Anyway what seems to occupy most of my thoughts, other than, strangely enough, sex, is religion and the spiritual. Recently I have taken to attending, when I'm able and not travelling or have other pressing commitments, the Tibetan Buddhist Centre in Glasgow. I go there on a Wednesday evening after work and spend an hour meditating. Well that's not strictly true. An hour meditating is beyond my capability, but it's an hour long class for beginners. And, incidentally, it's an introduction to Buddhism. I say incidentally because they are not in the least proselytising. They (and I've not met all that many of the regulars) seem a very nice bunch of people. I've occasionally attended a class given by a real monk (albeit he's from Dundee and not Lhasa). As religions go it seems, how shall I put it, the least dictating.

Apparently there is a stricture (maybe that's a bit strong as I can't see these nice people being strict in the way we would normally think) against alcohol, but they were recently giving a party to mark a new chapter in the running of the centre and the invitation definitely said BYOB which I'm sure means bring your own bottle. OK it doesn't specify what should be or not be in the bottle but if it wasn't optional surely they would say. The thing is due to being abroad on business I couldn't make it so I didn't find out. If anyone's got any helpful information on this I'll be glad to hear from you.
I'd previously been guided that Buddhism is not a religion as they don't deify a superior being, i.e. some god or God or Allah or the Duke of Edinburgh, but that it is mainly a way of life as set out be a living and long dead person, viz. the Buddha. This is complicated by the fact that they believe in a life after death which is hopeful but confusing. If anyone's got any helpful information on this I'll be glad to hear from you.
Good night and may your god go with you, as Dave Allen used to say.

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