Bed Stand Buddhism


The other day, I read a post on Tex’s bicycling/Buddhism blog about “bed stand Buddhists.” These are people whose night stands are full of books about the Buddha and meditation and whatnot, but who never actually make the time to sit down and meditate.

It seems that I fall into this category, as my bed-side library can attest.

My books.
My night stand library – Click for big

Well, I had the day off from work today, in observance of an unrelated Christian holiday, so I made grandiose plans… I would travel to the mountaintop, plop myself down and meditate until I became wise.

It was a great plan. I got to the mountaintop reasonably early in the morning, took in the view, and sat down for some deep spiritual enlightenment.

The view
The view from the mountain – click for big

After a few minutes, it became quite apparent that I was going to become hypothermic if I carried on like this for much longer. So, I descended from my lofty perch, and sat under a bridge, alongside the great and mighty river.

It was much warmer in the valley, and the gurgling noise from the water was very conducive to contemplation.

My half-assed half-lotus
My Half-Assed Half Lotus Posture

I was able to relax, and after several minutes of monkey-mindedness, I got an idea that that perhaps the fundamental building blocks of reality were somehow related to river mud… something about the flooding of the Nile and the beginnings of agricultural civilization…

Just then, a big, loud diesel went roaring over the bridge and broke my concentration. Sadly, my grand unified theory of the metaphysics of river mud would have to wait for another day.

Milton Bridge
The view from under the bridge – Click for big

I had a hard time getting back into the zone, so I just kind of sat there, marveling at the glorious Miltonian architecture, and enjoying my quiet time under the bridge.

Glorious Miltonian Arcitecture
Downtown Milton (Troll’s eye view) – Click for big

Tommorow, when I get back to the office, people will ask me what I did on my day off. I’m not sure if I should tell them that I spent the day sitting under a bridge thinking deep thoughts about river mud.

They probably wouldn’t believe me anyway.

5 thoughts on “Bed Stand Buddhism

  1. The saying came from Gil Fronsdal, who I found through His point was not just not meditating, but those who read a lot and know a lot but didn’t practice the 5 Precepts. Posers, as it were. I can meditate all day (not actually), but until I’m mindful of that Monkey Mind and better incorporate the Precepts, I’m more a “bed-stand Buddhist” . Perhaps if you’re aware of only being a BSB, then that’s a first step to being a Buddhist. Right View and Right Intention are important, are they not?


  2. I think that if it weren’t for books, many people would have no exposure to Buddhism at all. Not everyone lives in big cities with access to temples and stuff.

    There’s nothing wrong with reading, but I know that I sometimes allow reading about things to substitute for actually doing the thing. I do this with cycling, hiking, etc, too, and that’s kind of lame.

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