Point/Counterpoint: A Health Advocate vs A Buddhist Monk

Buddhist_healthfreak

A Buddhist Monk and Bobby “The Body” BraLanche, debate about the body as a temple, in snippets each time Bobby jogs by.

Point: My Body Is A Temple

By Bobby BraLanche

I care for my body with utmost devotion. We are all on this planet for a relatively short while. I feel like my soul or something is just temporarily housed here by this flesh and blood. And for this reason I am very grateful for my body, it is a temple.

I need my temple very much in order to experience the lessons of this world. Whatever it is that God, or Brahma, or Dharma or Tao wants me to learn while I am here, I can do so best with a well-honed, proper physical vehicle.

I feel so lucky to be healthy and yet aware of my mortality. It makes me not take my body for granted. I shall preserve my mortal coil as long as possible in order to maximize my time here. I want to be fit to learn as much as I can about the right way to live, for my benefit and for the highest benefit of everyone.

This physical shell, as I often call it, is actually the most incredible creation. We are a complex matrix of many synchronized systems: digestive; nervous; circulatory; lymphatic; endocrine, and so much more. Each requires its own nutrients, nurturing, strengthening and rules for maintenance.

I practice yoga, jog, I keep away from intoxicants and stimulants, I eat and relax properly. By maintaining steadfast health, I am creating a comfortable temple in which I don’t mind meditating, or praying, or just being still and introspective. I always say, “we have to get physical in order to get metaphysical.”

I love my body; it should be around for a long time as the best mule my soul could possibly borrow. I’m treating it like a temple.

Kamakurabuddha

The Great Buddha of Kamakura, Japan, is a temple shaped like a body.

Counterpoint: My Temple Is A Body

By a Buddhist Monk

I care for my temple with utmost devotion. It is located in Kamakura, Japan, and has been there since 1252. While I am temporarily physical, I live at the base of a huge temple shaped like a person, Buddha Amitabha.  I am very grateful to that my temple is a body.

I need my temple very much in order to have a place to meditate and chant the sutras. It is my good karma to be incarnated as a monk with exclusive focus on learning the Dharma, or Path, as we call it. But I can only do it with a well-honed temple, shaped like a house-sized meditating bronze body.

I’m so glad that this bronze temple, partially destroyed in 1334, and again in 1369 and 1498, is repeatedly repaired so that I can maximize my time in its shadow. I’m especially glad the base was repaired in 1925 after breaking during the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. Now it benefits everyone.

The Great Buddha Dharmakāra, or infinite light, as I call him, is actually quite the work of art. It weights 93 tons, is 44 feet tall, the face is over 8 feet tall with each ear being 6 feet long. The daily offerings and sweeping and polishing of the bronze are only part of the rules I follow for maintenance.

It isn’t easy caring for a temple that is shaped like a body, but in doing so it helps me stay healthy for later when I can meditate. And work helps me get to know myself, which helps my meditation. Like I always say, “I have to get personal in order to get transpersonal.”

I love my temple; it should be around for a long time as the best hallowed ground my low birth could procure. I’m treating it like a body.

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Read other debates with a Buddhist Monk

Photo credit: istolethetv/flickr; Kensmith/flickr

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