Saturday, February 3, 2007

Zen on Two Wheels

Thanks to Google I happened to run across a web site belonging to a monk that rides a motorcycle. There's no real reason why they shouldn't, but it's great that he's not rejecting the new world. It means he thinking and analyzing the options around him and not imitating the past. He's got some smart observations on travel and is a bit of an inspiration for just getting out there and trying new things.

Q - As a monk, I thought you weren't supposed to own anything?

A - According to Buddhism I don't really own it, I'm just using it until it's taken away by theft, rust, accident, or my old age. It's really more about not being attached to the stuff you use and think you own.

Q - Why did you go on a 5000 mile motorcycle road trip?

A - I was 52 and felt I needed to do something special. Being a Buddhist monk in one kind of challenge, a 5000 mile motorcycle road trip is another. It was a mid-life thing, I suppose. What is life really all about? Is it more important to be something, or to do something? The teaching's of the Buddha gave me one answer, and I thought a motorcycle road trip would give me another. As it turns out, the truth found in the Dharma (Buddhism) and the truth you find on the road is pretty much the same thing.

My family lives in Wisconsin, so I had someplace to go. I thought a motorcycle road trip would answer stuff like... Could I ride 5000 miles on a motorcycle and not kill myself? Would I be flexible and resourceful enough to meet any problems that might occur? How would it feel to be in the rain, heat, and cold of the open road, hour after hour, day after day? Could I walk after 12 hours in the saddle?

Q - What did you learn?

A - A lot, for instance wherever you go, there you are. Your baggage travels with you. A change of place doesn't necessarily change the space inside your head. You suffer a lot more when you want things to be different than they are. My road trip began and ended in the very same place. I really didn't go anywhere, but what a journey!


j.martinson said...

Have you seen Ewan McGregor's "Long Way 'Round?" it was a book and also a TV show where he and a friend ride across Europe, through Asia and into the USA by way of Alaska. If you didn't catch it, the TV show is available on DVD.

My boyfriend read the book and we both watched the show. It was interesting from many standpoints.

Creighton said...

I love Long Way 'Round. By far the best movie for any motorcycle nut, or even travel nut.