Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | July 29, 2009

Latest Take On Buddhism

Ok, so I’ve been chanting daily. Is it working it’s miraculous magic? Well, I’ve gotten to work safe and sound every day so far, so maybe I’d be dead right now if I weren’t chanting. I could look at events the last week or so and say, oh yeah, it went this way because of the chanting. But, the point is, the chanting leads me to self responsibility and taking the bull by the horns with some deeper wisdom that I’ved tapped into. But a little obvious magic would be fun too.

Suffering and difficulty are real. They are part of life. They are not an illusion. To try to make a life free of suffering and difficulty is an illusion. What is an illusion about suffering and difficulty is how we percieve it, how we deal with it, what kind of attitude we bring to the table. Petty nonsense, cliques, gossip and rumor is the illusion way of dealing with things.

This part of it, the perception part, the approach part, is where I have difficulty with it. It can become a big mind f*. If I am, let’s say, shot in the head. This is not an illusion. Thinking that there is someway to create a life where people don’t get shot in the head is an illusion. Becoming jaded over being shot in the head is an illusion. Accepting the challenge of being shot in the head, finding the positive in being shot in the head, finding the lesson in the adversity, handling it with wisdom and courage is the buddhist way. But in the end, I’m still shot in the head…



  1. Yeah, speaking of being shot in the head, this is a lot like some things I have learned here in Afghanistan. A lot of the guys I work with are prior military, and a few are prior special forces. (There is also the bunch that make outlandish claims about being prior special forces, but never mind about them.)

    The SF guys have mastered the kind of attitude you are describing. “Quit” simply doesn’t exist for them; it is as though they are genetically incapable of quitting. Whenever someone comments on the apparent impossibility of a thing in front of us, the response from the SF folks is always along the lines of, “No, it can be done, and we will do it.” That line has become a private mantra for me, and I often hear it echoing in my head.

    Having been ushered through a few impossible tasks now, I have learned that you can’t always visualize what success will look like before hand, because you often just don’t know. Sometimes the plans have to change in order for the mission to be accomplished, but the plan was never the goal, the mission was. Sometimes the obstacle is so big, you can’t see the way around it. You just have to start walking and see what turns up.

    Right now a proposal I wrote almost a year ago is in Kabul being looked at by USAID. This proposal originally went up to a corporate headquarters where it got rewritten and changed all around, and then the program it was written for got cancelled anyway. Everything seemed finished.

    But then this happened, and that happened, and our team kept inching forward. For months things have been hazardous and uncertain. Then last week the right person heard the right stuff, and now USAID is suddenly calling us in for meetings. My proposal, as originally written, is getting special attention. I could never have imagined things playing out in the way they have, but neither I nor the other guys ever quit; we kept inching forward. (

    You can’t always visualize success. The question is, can you keep moving forward? The ability to press on is what separates success from failure. It’s what separates SF from the rest of the infantry. I heard a story about a SEAL team that got hit and almost wiped out. The few survivors reached a defensive position and were firing back on their attackers. One of the SEALs look to his buddy and saw that he had, in fact, been shot in the head. Half the guy’s skull was gone. But his weapon was still pointed at the enemy and with what little life was still in him, he was squeezing off rounds.

    Now all that being said, moving forward only makes sense on the condition that the world is real, and that it matters. Christianity teaches that it is real, and there is a lengthy doctrine of hope ( ) that teaches how to approach a real world that matters. This is contrary to Bhuddism. Bhuddism teaces that life is an illusion. Bhuddism looks inward and seeks peace within the self, but at the expense of outer affairs.

  2. Hey Mike, thanks for stopping by!
    We all get shot in the head from time to time.

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