The dog and oyster vineyard
I came across the work of a man named David Brown, and his work has made a big impact on my life. A few years ago I was struggling to understand and come to terms with the fact that I was living as an agnostic and atheist. One day I was surfing YouTube and found the “Theology of the Dog” videos, and it immediately spoke to me and resonated in the way I felt at that time. So I asked a question of him on Twitter, which led to a discussion we had on Facebook and some other social networks. It is the first time I had met someone in real life that was doing what I had read about, and since then, and after finding out that David Brown is an ordained Anglican priest and a Buddhist, I knew that I needed to get more involved in the Buddhist community. This is my story of meeting David Brown and my experiences with him.
I first became aware of David Brown’s work in the mid-2000’s, when I was searching online for a website about Buddhism. I found a page by him on a Buddhist group that I was a member of at the time. He was talking about a place he had gone to to pray and meditate that he loved. He had gone out to the woods in New Mexico in the summer, and just sat there in the peace of nature. He went into some detail about the experience and the way he processed it in his mind afterwards, and that really resonated with me. I remember searching for that site again, and thinking that I had to meet this guy, that I had to meet this man who had written a blog about a very beautiful and peaceful place to go and pray, and then I thought that I need to learn more about Buddhism, and his website was the first to come to mind.
I went to his website and read a number of posts he had made there, where he went into depth about Buddhism, and about spiritual things. His understanding and his ability to explain all this made me want to learn more about Buddhism, so I did. After a while I asked to be introduced to him, and I did so in a way that seemed right at the time. He told me I was being a bit intrusive, so I didn’t do it again, but I had learnt a lot about Buddhism by then. I found out from him that he was very happy with it, and he said he liked to be reminded of it every now and again.
At this point in time, I didn’t really know anything about Buddhism, except that it didn’t have any gods, and there was no one God. I just read a lot of the websites he recommended to me, and started learning about Buddhism. I learnt about meditation, and also that meditation wasn’t something you had to do for hours on end, but that it was a daily practice that was meant to be done by you. I also learnt that you weren’t supposed to give up after a certain time, but you were to continue practicing, although you did not have to stop all other activities.
At the same time I also learnt that Buddhism was also based on the fact that people had no special right to be in a certain place in this world, but they were all there by accident. All this I had learnt by myself, after asking a lot of questions to a Buddhist monk who lived in a Buddhist monastery near to where I lived.
What I had to decide on was whether I wanted to become a Buddhist monk myself. This monk recommended that I do that, as it would make the best possible use of my life and all its possibilities. After thinking about this, I decided to do it. I went to the monastery and lived there, doing what I was told, and I did not give up. It is hard for me to find the words to explain why this changed my life. It was so subtle that I only realised later, after I had decided to become a monk.
Then one day I was sitting down on my knees when my head fell on the ground. I was surprised, because I didn’t know that it was possible to do this.
Next morning I was just starting to wake up when I felt like I had to leave the monastery immediately. I went out, stood in the street and tried to think about what had just happened. After a while I decided that I did not have to do this, because I did not want to. My head still fell on the ground a lot. I told myself that this was a bad omen, and it was my job to change my life. I went back to the monastery.
There was something that I wanted to change in my life, and which I had always done until then. I had always wanted to help others, and now I knew how to. All that was left was to make myself useful to the community. I decided to help the brothers who were taking care of the garden. I decided to help the brothers who were working on the farm. I decided to help the brothers who were washing dishes. I decided to help the brothers who were making bricks.
I decided to be a monk, and I lived my life as a monk. I knew that I would always have to do all these things, but I did not care, because it was my duty to do this. So I went to the monastery and lived there, doing what I was told, and I did not give up.
The day when I understood that I could do everything that I wanted in life, I felt free.
A year passed, and then I was given a new task in the monastery. I learned how to make bricks, and I made as many bricks as I could. I could not help doing this, because I was in a place where there was nobody but me.
I learned to make bricks with stones. I had found in the monastery a stone that was red with yellow speckles. The best and largest stones had more speckles.
I started making bricks. The brothers asked me to make some of the bricks for the monastery, but I could not make all of the bricks that the brothers asked me to make. So I made these smaller bricks, the same size as the small stones that I could find on the stone with the yellow speckles.
I spent my life making bricks and helping the brothers who had the most work. I was never lonely because I was always surrounded by brothers who were like brothers to me.
I made all the bricks that I could, because I wanted to show how useful I could be. In that monastery, I made some of the most beautiful bricks that were ever made.
This is how I spent my life. I made my bricks and other bricks for the monastery. I thought I could show the brothers how to make bricks.
I was doing what I wanted in life.
I thought that the monks would admire my work and I would have the confidence that I needed to be a monk.
I made all the bricks that I could. I wanted to show the monks how useful I could be. I thought they would be proud of me and I would learn what I had to learn so that I would become a better monk.
And so I made my bricks.
Now, when I make my bricks, I think of the monks who are working in the monastery, and the monks who are working at the monastery that they own. I am proud of the work that I do.
I do not know the language, and I do not know how to read. So, when I work in the monastery, the brothers ask me what I am doing. They ask