By Louis De Lauro
Am I Buddhist or Am I Jersey? This is a question I ask myself often.
I am a school teacher and I like homemade quizzes. The quiz below is not for a grade but take it anyway. Ask yourself the seven questions below.
Choose Buddhist, Jersey, Both, or Neither. I will share my results at the end of the quiz.
Just a reminder, I am The Jersey Buddhist. My posts are not recommended for accomplished Buddhists but may be useful for people who want to learn about Buddhism or people who struggle with Buddhism.
Here is my Quiz: Am I Buddhist or Am I Jersey?
1. Do you think life is impermanent or will you spend your last dying breath living in New Jersey insisting you are very happy while paying the highest property taxes in the United States?
2. Do you think there is no eternal, unchanging self or do you hate yourself for arguing with people on social media daily and always grabbing a second or third slice of pizza?
3. Do you feel suffering is simply part of the human experience or do you think pineapple on pizza causes more suffering than you could possibly handle or digest?
4. Do you believe the cause of suffering is greed or will you die unhappy because you never made enough money to buy a second home at the Jersey shore?
5. Do you use right speech daily or do you swear like an Italian Grandma at her 80-year-old husband when he flips through the channels on the TV remote at warp speed only to stop when he lands on FOX News?
6. Do you practice right mindfulness or do you lose your mind when someone is driving the speed limit in the left lane in front of you on the Garden State Parkway?
7. Do you meditate daily in an effort to reach Nirvana or do you medicate daily while listening to Bon Jovi?
That was fun, right? Both meaningful and mildly entertaining. Let’s see my results.
No surprise. I am both, Buddhist and Jersey, for just about every question. I don’t medicate, but I probably should drink more wine before bedtime. My results are no surprise because I am The Jersey Buddhist. No, I am not the only Jersey Buddhist, just the only one writing a blog using a ridiculous moniker.
Anyway, I hope when this is shared on the Tattooed Buddha Facebook page a few of you will share your results or comments with me. I will write back. And I won’t argue with you or call you names. I like the quiz I made because it emphasizes how I practice Buddhism. I always try my best to accept the impermanence of life, to accept suffering as part of my life experience, to not be greedy, to use the right speech, to be mindful, and to meditate.
Let’s be clear, meditation for me means putting down my phone, closing my eyes for 30-45 seconds while sipping lemonade.
As much as I try, I struggle. Why? Because I am from Jersey might be a funny answer. But you struggle too. And you are from Ohio, California, Georgia, Vermont, Canada and France. Yes, I have at least one reader in France that I know of, and a whole bunch of Canadian Buddhist Monks liked a post I wrote a few years ago. So my words are almost global. And globally, we are struggling with Buddhism.
I struggle because Buddhism is not easy. I am not good at it and either are you. But we are not worried about achieving a perfect Buddhist life. We are not Buddhist monks. We are not even Canadian. We are imperfect people. And we are simply trying our best. I had several goals while writing this piece.
1. To refresh the beginners on some simple ways to practice Buddhism.
2. To teach you a bit more about wacky New Jersey.
3. To make you giggle.
4. To make you nod. And think, yep, I am trying my best.
I hope I achieved a few of my writing goals. And I want you to know I am going to keep trying my best! I am The Jersey Buddhist, I hate pineapple on my pizza. But I love the gorgeous Jersey shore (Google photos of Cape May and Avon by the Sea).
And I love Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, and you.
Editor: Dana Gornall
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