I suppose I should begin by explaining how I came (no pun intended) to give such a title to a blog about “the” Buddhist experience. Truly, “mindful” isn’t a word one sees plastered all over the American literary landscape everyday. And then, there’s that other word… If you learn nothing else in life, remember what you learn here, today. Never judge a book, or a blog, by its title.
On the Yahoo! Answers Page, there’s an adorable inquiry regarding “ejaculation”:
Question: “A Catholic prayer book says we should ejaculate frequently during prayer. Is this another Catholic tradition? It just doesn’t make sense and is never mentioned in the Bible.”
“Yahoo! Answers” answer: “The term “ejaculation” refers to a short prayer, and its usage predates the sexual definition of expelling semen. Generally speaking, Catholics are not as bound up about sex as are Protestants and unbelievers, and we still joke about the term.”
Frankly, I find the subsequent aside about Catholics having fewer sexual hang-ups even more provocative than their use of the term “ejaculation.”
Wikipedia also addresses this, shall we say, predicament:
Wikipedia.com answer: Wikipedia.com defines ‘ejaculation’ as, among other things, “…a short utterance that usually expresses a strong feeling (from “Ouch!” to “Christ!” to “Up yours!”)…In Roman Catholic piety, an ejaculation, sometimes known as ejaculatory prayer or aspiration… the Jesus Prayer, the Fatima Prayer of the Holy Rosary, Come Holy Spirit, and Eternal Rest.”
And if we look up this same term in the CatholicCulture.org Dictionary, we receive the following answer:
ASPIRATION: “Short formalized prayer of about a dozen words. It is expressed in choice language, sometimes poetic, its purpose being to help maintain a spirit of recollection (emphasis mine) in God’s presence during the day. Such prayers are generally indulgenced by the Church (Etym. Latin aspirare, literally, to breathe upon”).
So, whatever you call “it,” an ejaculation, in the non-sexual, verbal sense, is an inspired, short burst of… prayer. And you will kindly note that the “See” definition does not refer to the term, ejaculation, at all, which seems more like glossing over than joking… But what I found truly fascinating about the definition of ejaculation, I mean, “aspiration,” was the expression “spirit of recollection” (emboldened above). You see, the Buddhist term, “mindfulness,” and the expression, “spirit of recollection,” are very closely related, if not exactly the same. In her July 4, 2014 post titled “Right mindfulness,” in the blog “The Buddha’s Advice to Laypeople,” the author writes:
…”The word translated as mindfulness is sati in Pali, which doesn’t match well with any single English word. The root of sati is memory – both remembering to be present with our immediate experience, and remembering the object of our meditation (e.g., the breath, or the passing flow of experience)” [July 4, 2014, ‘Right Mindfulness’, in “The Buddha’s Advice to Laypeople”].
To a Buddhist, there is probably nothing more important than mindfulness, because all that we could ever hope to accomplish depends on our cultivation of mindfulness and discernment. Nonetheless, I found the juxtaposition of the two concepts, mindfulness and ejaculation (tinged by the common parlance, of course), so seemingly oppositional to each other yet, here, so intricately related, to be simply irresistible. Language is, at once, so beautiful, yet so ultimately useless. Nonetheless, I’ve found myself inspired not only by the words and actions of other Buddhists, but non-Buddhists, and even imagined “enemies.”
The Buddha is in us all, and learning to sense this, everywhere, and in everyone, is at least half the battle. And that’s what this blog is “About.”
Penultimate Final Note: In keeping with the decidedly honorable, irrefutably respectful title of this blog, I will keep my posts brief, i.e., usually around the length of one 8.5″ x 11″-sized page, two at most! It is not my intention, or within my scope, to write lengthy philosophical treatises on the nature of being and nothingness — but as for my book reviews, you’d best have a seat! I simply write until I’m finished!
Final note: Pornographers and urologists, kindly back off!!
This blog, created on July 12, 2014, the second anniversary of my father’s death, is lovingly dedicated to him. We shall meet again, and again, and again, as we always have…