Becoming a Buddha (Part 1)

I started to write this while my Facebook was charging up and then this appeared from my spiritual teacher (my Guru) DarmaYasa.

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Life should be about play and laughter when we’re younger. I have many kids, when I’m asked “How many children do you have?” I think “Oh no here we go again”. Because I’ve been blessed with many, at my last count 11 (that I know of). Wow people say eleven, then I have to explain (which in my case could take a lifetime), and at 66 I don’t have all day ha-ha. So before I go any further I will explain.

In my first ‘true marriage’ I first ‘inherited’ 6 children, sure I wasn’t the sperm donor, but I happily ‘took on’ at 23 Oh My God, the Joy these kids brought me. I then had my ‘own’ daughter Sarah (who’s the light of my life). It gets even more complicated ‘cos before Bobbin (my daughter’s nickname) came along I had a relationship with someone else and she gave me another daughter Elizabeth, so Elizabeth is the eldest of my ‘personal children‘. Later my wife and I divorced (long story too long for this post) and I remarried someone with 3 kids, so 6+3+2 = 11 numbers are important…. see Angka meditation for more info.

I’ve learnt a lot as I’ve enjoyed teaching and being taught by my kids through the years, such as ‘I too can become a Buddha‘ and kids know when there’s a swimming pool around especially when they want to go swimming, (I’d be driving along the road and Bobbin would say “wimming pool” she couldn’t pronounce the Ss but she could smell the chlorine in the air, and wanted to go for a swim with her big ‘smiley face’). Even now after some 35 years makes me smile just thinking about it.

So yes I have lots of kids, I don’t like calling them my ‘step children’ ‘cos I knew what I was doing when I married their mothers I ‘adopted’ them, and it’s been a Joy watching them all grow up have their own children, some of whom went on to have even more children. There are now more children bearing my name in the world than ever before (my dad would be proud of his son getting our family name re-established tehe). Sure they don’t have my genes but I hope in some small way I can contribute to showing them the true path, the middle path no extremes are necessary to attain happiness (Buddhahood).

So I call myself a Christian Buddhist, I was born a Christian but later became attached to Buddhism (which to me isn’t a religion but a way of life). It was Bobbin that was instrumental in in bringing me that realization and Leigh her brother that developed it, (long story). But because of all of my ‘earthly’ responsibilities I put this ‘self-realization’ on the back-burner (I had all these kid’s to provide for and what a journey it’s been).

So to the original point I was going to make “You too Anya can be a Buddha” that’s what Chuthima (Anya’s mother) said to Anya when he started moving off that ‘middle path‘ (Anya is my Grandson). It was said on Facebook so everyone saw Chuthima teaching her son a lesson. It amused me at the time but also gave me one of those Aha moments (and there have been many since). Could I become a Buddha? Surely that’s a bit like saying I’m Jesus, and that in Christianity would be a heresy, you’d be burnt at the stake for saying that not so long ago. But Buddhism is much different, The Buddha wanted to teach everyone that no need to go through all these trials and tribulations to reach your Nirvana . I’ll cut through the crap, he would have said in today’s modern lingo and then you can experience true bliss much earlier in this thing we call life (which is just the blink of an eye). So for now its goodbye from me and goodbye from him “all the best”

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CHANGE OF LIFE

Change of Life

  • Menopause is defined as the absence of menstrual periods for 12 months. It is the time in a woman’s life when the function of the ovaries ceases.
  • The process of menopause does not occur overnight, but rather is a gradual process. This so-called perimenopausal transition period is a different experience for each woman.
  • The average age of menopause is 51 years old, but menopause may occur as early as the 30s or as late as the 60s. There is no reliable lab test to predict when a woman will experience menopause.

http://www.medicinenet.com/menopause/article.htm

This opening to my blog may verge on the unusual or even unacceptable to some reading this, however as usual there’s a good reason for it. I woke this morning as is normal recently at 4-30am, believe me that’s a total change to what the Crazy Brit has been doing previously in his normal daily routine. I could and sometimes did stay in bed all day not wanting to start my day. But since coming here to Gozo my life has changed in many ways and I’m not so sure that it’s just a coincidence. So when my eyes opened this morning looking forward to the day ahead the first thing I said to my myself wasn’t  “oh crap I need to go back to sleep”, I just accepted the thought that came into my head which was, its OK Crazy Brit give yourself permission to get up, and, accept the first phrase that came into my head “Change of Life” so Google it and see what comes up.

Now I’m not really stupid (crazy maybe) but at 65 I’m well aware that the phrase “change of Life “refers to a woman going through her menopause so I wasn’t surprised to see the statement* above, as the second thing that hit me, but to be fair the first link I saw  took me to a completely unexpected place and I guess I need to mention that as I’m sure it has some relevance to my journey change in life“ or My Change”(*see note below)

I arrived on the island on 29th April 2016 today is the 20th May 2016 I’ve been here just 3 weeks and yet I started to feel way back at the beginning that “I’d come home” and the Sat Nav (Satellite Navigation) I’d brought with me was redundant I didn’t need any device to show me where to go I felt like I’d lived here before. OK I like to wander and get off the beaten track to place where even an “Old Soul” would get lost but otherwise I just knew where I was going.

So without stretching the bounds of credibility ‘cos I used to be skeptical too, (but at the end of the day I needed to be skeptical in my old PR job in the USA – ‘nasty business’), but all I would ask is even if you take the view that the CB has gone completely crazy just go with the flow for a while and see where the journey takes us ‘cos at this moment I’ve no idea. So moving on as people have said to me for some time (just move on and let go) what are some of the other changes that I’ve experienced.

First I guess are the material things. I arrived with 2 suitcase and a “carry on case” inside I had lots of clothes including 2 business suits. Now to be sure (that’s an Irish way of speaking) I doubt I’ll ever need to wear a suit on this “laid back island” but I suppose that was my previous life telling me what was acceptable and what was unacceptable. But the thing is, I now believe that there’s nothing that should be regarded as acceptable or unacceptable so long as it hurts no-one (including opening a blog about the changes that every woman goes through).

I feel inside that I’ve been building up to this change for quite some time but I don’t have a crystal ball (I really do walk funny at the moment). So I didn’t know what I was trying to tell myself. Now it’s no secret that I describe myself as a Christian Buddhist when asked about my beliefs and religion, and despite previously not wanting to explain how I arrived at that point I think it best to mention. I was born a Christian (so I had no choice in that part). But over 30 years ago Sarah (Bobbin) my daughter, wanted to go to the library to find some books to help with her homework (we didn’t have Google in those days). While she was looking for what she wanted I started browsing around the book shelves and a brightly colored book stood out from the rest so I picked it up and flicked through it. It was a book on Buddhism, OK nothing too strange so far. I decided to check the book out and Bobbin and I went home, me to read my book, Sarah to do her homework. A few days later Leigh (my stepson) rang me from Los Angeles where he now lived (the Chalkley’s certainly get around) and the first bit of news he gave us was that he’d become a Buddhist. I was gobsmacked as no-one in our family had ever tinkered with this subject before, and I certainly hadn’t specifically given Buddhism a second thought, but I guess this was the starting point of what has been a very long journey, to arrive where I am today. Now like any 30 year old in those days I was driven to be successful, to surround myself with material things and achievements to create what I thought as a better life for me and my family and in my way I did it. At 20 I was the youngest manager of one of the UK’s biggest jewelry shop multiple and later I became one of the youngest sales managers in the international company I was working for. So in my own way in those early years I was typical of what most men and some women aspired to. But I guess I hadn’t had a completely normal childhood as I experienced many changes not only in my school and home, but in some of the things I learnt. One of my favorite poems and my dad is by Rudyard Kipling it’s called “IF”IF

Now my dad was without a doubt a frustrated poet, he not only recited to me on a regular basis IF but he also wrote a lot of his own poetry. I believe in his way either consciously or subconsciously my dad was instilling what he believed were the best attributes to a real man. Now I’m no angel, I’ve been a bugger (as my sisters would say) in much of my early life but I’ve always had this underlying feeling of what was right or wrong. I’ve always stood up for the underdog and in many cases suffered the consequences even when I knew what the consequences would inevitably be, so I guess I feel I was a bit crazy even then. However it’s not good to dwell on the past (as I told a friend yesterday) so now it’s all about the present with a little bit of the future thrown in.

In the final months of my old life I really was just “holding on” I lived what I regarded as a fairly austere life and had clawed my way back from the “rock bottom” that I’d hit (and I really did hit rock bottom with a bang). I arrived back in the UK with hardly anything $5k and 2 suitcases after going there 10 years before with over $150k and a 10×20 foot shipping container full of my collections (you can pick up a lot of stuff in 50+ years).

I arrived on Gozo with a little of what I’d saved in the previous 18 months and my pensions (give a guy a break I’d worked since I was 15 that’s 50 years, surely I deserved to be paid something for my hard work). But I didn’t accept that it was time to “retire” quite the opposite, I found that this was the time to do whatever I felt I wanted or needed to do and accepted for the first time what destiny (Kismet) had in store for me. And to be fair it was the first time in my life that I’ve never had to be responsible for anyone else, my daughter Bobbin is almost 40 now and is settled in her life, and she is quite happy for her Crazy Brit of a dad to go out and “find himself” so I can do so without a guilty conscience. Even The Buddha didn’t have this opportunity as he had to leave his wife and child behind when he set off to find enlightenment. And if that story interests you just click this link Buddha but please remember to come back when you have.

The Buddha by the way told his followers he wasn’t a god and never asked to be worshiped as a god, I accept that and regard Buddhism as a way of life rather than to be worshipped. So we’re back to today and we really can’t say what will happen in the future all I know and need to know is that first thing today I have to be at the Ministry for 8am (its now 6-30) to collect my residency card (and accept gracefully whatever issues that may bring). Then I’m off to the hospital to get this old body of mine sorted out (I asked several qualified people if there was any chance of a new one and it was always the same just a smile and probably thinking crazy brit). My life has certainly changed and I hope you’ll join me the next time I move on and open my heart to you in the hope that you’ll comment GOOD OR BAD below so that I can respond in the way we all need. PEACE & Namaste.

  • update 3rd October 2016, since writing this blog so much has happened that it truly amazes even me (and I’m pretty hard to surprise these days). I started a business (Hug’s Tea Shop) and found a business partner who had experience in the business and is the coordinator for a special spiritual movement Angka Cafe/Meditation she is also a doctor and ex psychiatrist, so I had an investment in someone with a motive to cure my craziness (now that is a bonus). The organisation is linked to many good causes (particularly Africa) so when I said at the begining that my original google for change of life may be relevant in the future I was spot on  https://www.rokpa.org/en/home.html I told you there was something different about this island. Namaste x

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John Paul Chalkley aka The Crazy Brit