Welcome to the Brand New VBA Website!
Welcome to our brand new site!
Since middle of last year, we decided to revamp the website. While the available technology is many, some of us, including the technically savvy, found ourselves becoming luddites. We installed and uninstalled engines and themes, emails were sent back and forth — and yet, we were not able to come to a consensus on what to do with the website. It was not until early this year we got our act together — by meeting in person. It was one of the rare cold days this Winter. We each tracked to an agreed location for lunch and finally resolved our differences. Now that we are into Spring, this feels quite momentous.
It is only a website. What is the big fuss?
Thanks to the advent of search engines, and with increasing interest in Buddhism and mindfulness, naturally many were brought to our website. Our volunteers worked hard to contribute content on the Buddhist practice.
The new VBA website fashions itself like a blog but are we? Are we a blog? When the term “blog” came out, it is short for “weblog” — a record of experience documented in a conversational style. We are Buddhist practitioners, both beginners and old-timers, trying to articulate on the 5Ws (what, when, why, where, how) of the practice. Because the practice has such a long history passing on from Buddha’s time (five centuries before common era!), some of the lingo becomes arcane and mysterious. Sometimes the word “esoteric” is used; other times, we refer to the teaching as “secret.”
About the secret. I have a habit of wearing an tiny earpiece, connected to my mobile phone, while driving. This morning I went to a cafe for a coffee. I parked my car next to the cafe without taking off the earpiece. Fifteen minutes after I came out of the cafe, the earpiece was nowhere to be found. I hopped out of car to look for it beside the car, underneath the car. By the cafe, inside the cafe. My phone clearly registered the existence of the earpiece. Where could it possibly be? It was raining hard. Puddles were everywhere. Fearing the worst, I thought the little piece of technology might soon be drowned in the rain.
And then I rummaged my pant pocket. It was with me this whole time. I could not for the life of me remember taking it off. It could be that when I was enjoying my coffee. It could be when I was chatting away with the person behind the counter. Whatever happened to it was a mystery.
(What makes a similarly hilarious story could easily be about frantically searching for your glasses when they are firmly affixed on your face!)
I am making light of the secret here; after all, the word “secret” seems so mysterious and even magical. Really, it is often about something being there at all time but you are oblivious to it. Sometimes this secret shows up as “potential.” Your potential or your ability don’t appear unless you make use of it, often in times of challenge or problem solving. Other times, the word “compassion” is used, when it is not only about being charitable to others, when the interaction is like a tango. It takes two to tango, no?
I hope we have succeeded in modernizing the teaching somewhat. In the end, humans are creatures of words, which we can offer on the website. If you are in the Toronto area, our general meditation class is open to the community on Saturdays 10:30am to noon (unless otherwise noted). Both beginners and experienced practitioners are welcome. For more information, I can be reached at vivian [dot] tsang [at] vbatoronto [dot] org.
Happy Spring Equinox!