A month or so ago, I gave a sermon about a desperate time of financial crisis in my life, when life itself did not seem worth living. The sermon was in two parts, the first part ended with me driving down a section the Mid-Cape highway called “Suicide Alley”—a two lane stretch where cars approach each other at sixty to seventy miles per hour and just a sneeze could carry one into oncoming traffic. I pulled over into the oncoming lane. The first part of the sermon ended there.
After church many people asked me, “What happened?” I thought it was obvious, since I was standing there, almost thirty years later, with a cup of coffee in one hand and in the other one of Sandi Pierce’s blond brownies. For many that wasn’t good enough, wasn’t satisfying, left too many unanswered questions . . . so here’s the rest of the story.
People are confused when I say within one breath that I am a Universalist and a Buddhist as if they are mutually exclusive concepts or, at least, ought to be in conflict. Gradually, over the course of my spiritual life, words like “Buddhist” and “Universalist” have become more vaporous, more ethereal. As the mind becomes more inclined to behave and live within certain values such as “generosity, acceptance, justice and compassion,” the conceptual framework or container becomes less important. This sermon will speak to a time almost thirty years ago when the path of Buddhism became the essential and critical working tool on the path of my life.