Showing posts from October, 2017

Convert Buddhists: What's in a Name?

Tonight I spent a long time making a worksheet for my undergraduate students about clichés in writing. This is my second year teaching and grading essays, and it's taken me a long time to articulate why clichés bother me. The reason is because they are phrases that have been repeated so many times as to obscure meaning. More than just being a kind of grammar snob, I like to think I'm in the business of getting people to think and understand more, not less.

For several years I have been reading the term "convert Buddhism" in print media, and hearing it used casually in conversation. I will spend this post discussing why I think the phrase should go away. I would like to urge people to stop using the phrase, or at least think about alternate ways of articulating what this phrase signifies. The reason I think the phrase "convert Buddhist" is problematic is twofold: 1) it is an unspecific term that obscures more than it illuminates and 2) it is arguable whether…

The Suffering Around Us

This morning I woke up on my own at 7:30am. Instinctually I reached for my phone (nasty habit) and saw a bunch of new work emails. I groaned, turned off my phone, and closed my eyes again. My husband was still sleeping. I could hear the dog crying in the crate next to our bed where she sleeps; she likes the crate, but by the morning she's lonely. When my alarm went off ten minutes later, my husband put his arms around me. "I love you," he murmured sleepily, "And the dog loves you. She knows you're awake now, and she wants to see you."

We lay entangled in each other for a few more minutes. "Mondays are evil," he groaned. I agreed.

Eventually we both tore ourselves from the bed and got ready-- he, for work, and me, for the Downtown Women's Shelter where I volunteer on Mondays. I complained about not wanting to go; I've been volunteering there for about 6 months and enjoy it, but actually leaving the house is hard. I think if we could have i…