I’ve never written in to a magazine before, but I couldn’t resist this invitation:
Do you practice Buddhism alongside another religion? If so, how does that work?
Here’s what I sent them:
I was born, raised and educated Jewish, but I first experienced religious feelings when I encountered Buddhist teachings. In college, I reconnected with my Judaism, but I also developed a relationship with a Buddhist teacher and community and began my meditation practice. I’ve maintained that practice, but I’ve also become more enmeshed in Jewish community; in fact, my wife is about to be ordained as a Conservative rabbi, and our family observes the practices and rituals of a Jewish home.
All along, I’ve wondered how to be a Buddhist Jew. I’ve had trouble integrating my Buddhist practices and beliefs into the culture and worldview of Judaism. Recently, though, I’ve realized I might actually be a Jewish Buddhist, not a Buddhist Jew, and that makes a big difference. Jewishness provides my culture, which I share with my family and community, and that culture and its practices point towards spiritual truth in many ways. But if my religion is my core beliefs about the nature of the universe, all beings within it, and the way for all beings to live harmoniously, then I’m a Buddhist, and Jewishness is the cultural source of my mindfulness practices.
We’ll see if it gets printed!