the buddha is my dj has been around for a while. When I started, exactly three people read this blog, and I’d known them all for decades. Or, in one case, all my life. So it didn’t matter what I said or how I said it. And, being a newbie, I wanted to attract attention. So I commented on all manner of things out there in the Real World. And I hid little secret and, to me, funny things all over my site, particularly in the alt and title tags for images. I’d post a picture of Cheney, say, and give it a particularly offensive alt-tag, for example.
The problem with alt-tags is that they’re the things that little search engine robots pick up. So, when some schmuck on a discussion board wants to post an asinine picture to make his point about why Star Trek 6 was better than Star Trek 5 but pales in comparison to Star Trek 2, he’d type that offensive phrase into Google and what’dya know I get traffic! Just not the sort of traffic I wanted.
As a result, when I look at my statistics, I often see the most random search strings that have brought people to these happy digital shores. But today I got saw one that was not only somewhat apropos to what this site is all about but that also made me smile:
Wow. I don’t think my family ever asked me. Even when Dana and I got married and had a “Buddhist ceremony,” I don’t think anyone in my family batted an eye. Even the Catholics. I never thought about “coming out” as a Buddhist to my family. (Needless to say, this makes me deeply grateful and I think I owe some folks some phone calls.) So when I saw that search string, my first reaction was, I’m sure that coming out as a Buddhist is infinitely easier than coming out as queer.
But then I remembered this post. On second thought, don’t click that link. It’s too depressing. The gist of it is that there are evangelical Christian missionary groups out there that actively target Buddhists because we’re a bunch of idol-worshiping heathens bound straight for hell.
(I’ve always found the “idol worshiper” thing to be the hardest criticism of Buddhists to swallow. Without getting into the deep and very significant theological and spiritual differences between bowing to a Buddha image and praying before a crucifix why is it so hard for some Christians to understand that bowing to a Buddha image is not at all unlike praying before a crucifix? You don’t consider the latter to be idol-worshiping? Why the former?)
At any rate, now that I’ve gotten ahead of myself and lost my train of thought, I really wanted to write something to this anonymous web searcher who is trying to find a way, no doubt as gently as possible, of breaking the news to her or his parents. “Mom? Dad? I have something to tell you….” And I’m at a loss for words. All I can think is to remember that Buddhism strives to live in the middle, that Buddhism strives to get beyond discriminative thinking, that Buddhists are gently prodded to be mindful and compassionate, and that, above all else, these people you’re coming out to are your family. Embrace them with the same compassion the Buddha exhorts us to embrace all sentient beings, do not condemn or bemoan them their beliefs, and never let them forget that Christ exhorts them to turn the other cheek, to treat others and they would have themselves be treated, and to give the poor and downtrodden the very coats off their backs.
And get thee to a Buddhist sangha for support!
Update: in part due to the encourangement of the commenters below, I am doing more research on this topic. Visit this post for more information on how you can help.