Kusula Bhikshu Explains Buddhism to a High School English Class.
16, 2004 - The journals of Fran aka Redondowriter
Every year the teachers of our high school Literature of the
Spirit classes have a series of clergy people come to speak
to the students about their religions and the sacred texts.
One of my favorite visitors is a Buddhist monk named Rev. Kusala
Bhikshu. I sat in on one class today and between classes he
came to my office and talked to me.
American Caucasian, Rev. Kusala became interested in Buddhism
in 1980 and you can read about his life on his website. In the
Southern California media I have seen stories about him teaching
meditation or working on his projects as part of Urban Dharma.
He is a gifted, down-to-earth guy who can synopsize complex
concepts in every day terms, especially for students and those
unfamiliar with Buddhism at all.
among other things, he spoke about Stupidity—which Christians
would probably call Original Sin, and I actually "got it."
But his main topic today was The Last Great Secret - Death!
He believes in personal storytelling to get across his points
and the example he used was that in Garden Grove, where he is
a police chaplain, all the chaplains were invited to tour the
coroner's office. He asked how many had visited the coroner's
office--and none of us raised our hands.
talked about how ill-prepared most people are for death in the
American culture and gave specific examples of the six corpses
of varying ages and sexes that were in the morgue and that most
were probably utterly surprised death had visited the night
before. But then he used the visit to explain spiritual energy,
trapped energy, and the importance of living life fully and
understanding death. I guess the Dalai Lama says that in life
death ideally sits on your shoulder as your co-pilot, but as
Americans we shun death and don’t ordinarily talk about
next went on to use an example of being on a speaking tour and
staying as a guest in an old home that the townspeople said
was haunted. He forgot to ask the Spirits for permission to
stay there and found that during the night his sleep was interrupted
by restless energy. He explains all this matter-of-factly and
I watch the kids' faces--not a muscle moves, but no one is even
remotely nodding off. During that early morning, Rev. Kusula
did a meditation in the old house with the Spirits thanking
them for allowing him to stay. For the next days Rev. Kusula
and the "ghosts" all co-existed without problem.
he left the old house, he thanked the Spirits for sharing space
with him. He used his stories to convey the importance of awareness
in every moment, of gratitude for everything, and the great
truth that coming to peace with death helps one to live life
Kusala, who is a very fine blues musician, ended his talk with
playing an incredible piece on his harmonica. The tension in
the room was shifted immediately and the kids began to smile
and laugh. He reminds me so much of Ram Dass in his earlier
days--so human, so spiritual.
- website has a wealth of information about Buddhism available
to the general public but Rev. Kusala particularly recommends
the - Buddhist
E-Books link. Several Buddhist texts and talks can be downloaded
in PDF format and they are written so that regular folks can