Friday, January 12, 2007


There is an image of Tara in my room. How it ended hanging on a wall is a simple story: My landlady was cleaning the unoccupied room besides mine and I spotted the image. I asked her if she is a Buddhist and she responded 'sort of '. She then offered the image for the naked walls of my new room. Later, I would find out that the house were we live serves also as a yoga center for a spiritual community based in British Columbia (the province to the west of Edmonton and where Vancouver is).

The inspiration for this community can be traced to the person of Swami Sivananda. A woman from the west, who was his disciple, brought to Canada his teachings and put on them a special emphasis in the feminine spirit. I see this specially relevant as it happened in 1956. A "spiritual feminism" imported from India may not sound strange for the 70s or even the 60s, but for the 50s I suppose she was a pioneer in a world that was asking for changes.

Changes are either radical or require, like I see in this case, a syncretism, an open and eclectic mind that mixes the old way of thinking with new ways. Finding myself living in a Yoga centre was motivation enough to participate in the activities. I have seen in those activities the mixture of the Christian tradition with Hinduism and Buddhism and this suited me perfectly. I have wondered before if Christ was a Buddhist himself and I have been increasingly interested in Buddhism.

In Buddhism, Buddha is not seen as a god detached from this world and humans. In a sense, God, the Light, the Highest is everything and a Buddha is a human being who has become aware and part of that totality. The experience of concepts like ego grasping, duality, and delusion is a barrier in our life for the achievement of that awareness. To overcome that barrier is not an easy goal to achieve. I'm happy that I found this house and people in Edmonton. Together with the people and good friends that I have found in the past, they make feel this samsara like a better one.

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