Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Meet Harry Hale

Hodo Steve Thompson (of Empty Mind Zendo) would like to introduce his new student Harry Hale. Harry originally began studying Buddhism nearly 40 years ago and has had a long wandering journey that has finally led him to study Boundless Mind Zen with Hodo san.   Hodo has officially taken Harry as a student and asked him to submit the following letter as his introduction to the sangha.

Dear Sangha, of The Order of The Boundless Way,

    My name is Harry Hale. I live in a rural area of Texas about 45 miles NW of the Dallas Fort Worth area. I am 56 years old, a father of five and a grandfather of five. I have been married 11 years to a very wise women named Julie, she is a elementary school teacher at a school 40 miles from our home. Her children and my children our grown, so we have the luxury to enjoy our grandchildren when we wish.

I began studying Buddhism at an early age. I was 17 when I was first introduced to meditation, but I was influenced by the Hara Krishna movement of the 60s. Bhakti yoga, or Pure devotion to God, it didn’t seem to fit. I was raised a Christian. So I began studying the bible looking for relevance in my life. I was Baptized in the Catholic Church in 1984, as a "reborn" Christian, but I didn’t feel reborn. I began to drink and use drugs for some years. Then I happen to make a Narcotics anonymous meeting and stayed with that program till 1997, About this time I started reading books on Buddhism again and anything about the teachings of Buddha. I had been teaching myself as best I could, but knew I needed a Teacher. You can find plenty great books on Buddhism and Zen practice, but in rural Texas, there just aren't any teachers.

Then I found out that I had Hep-c, and they wanted to treat me with an experimental drug. I thought about it. I felt if I could do this, to help find a cure for this disease it would be a good thing. So I began treatment, and the treatments took so much out of me, I was bed stricken. I made a Mala and began chanting the few mantras I had learned.

When I started feeling better I got on line and found, ”Meditation in Texas“. That lead me to the Vajradakini Temple in Arlington Texas, They Practice the methods of Tibetan Lamrim. The Vajrayana. This is a Very esoteric Temple. I got discourage quickly, because it seemed they were more about making money than they were in teaching the Methods of the Lamrim. I was given, through partaking in ceremony, anointed a Dhrama protector “,Dorja Shogun“, and a Medicine Buddha blessing Mantra to use as a method of "purification".    So then I found another Temple in North Fort Worth, Wat Lao Tippimint, A Buddhist tradition in the Theravada way of Buddhism. Soon, I was allowed to sit in the temple and watch them perform their ritual form of prayers and offerings. Then I was allowed to participate in the chanting of prayers. But I felt that the cultural difference between me and the Laotians was a barrier to really understanding their way of practice.

So, I developed my own solitary practice. I constructed a small shrine in my garden, I began reading Zen Buddhism by T.D. Suzuki, then to anything Buddhist; Jack Kornfield, Philip Kapleau, Alan Watts, the Dhammapada, Joseph Goldstein, Pema Chdron, Shantideva, and many, many more. The oldest reference being, The Upanisads and the Kelsins. I practice a very simple form of Buddhism today. I rise very early and do A stretching meditation, I enter my garden and bow, I sit and meditate for about 30 minutes, I place flowers and Incense on my shrine, and I just pray for everyone’s happiness and well being. I then attend to the animals and vegetables and fruit that are grown on the farm. Then to help Julie with what ever I can, to help her get ready for her classroom of 30 children. After she leaves, I am alone for about 9 hours. So I read, meditate, get on-line and talk to other like minded people and enjoy my life of happiness as a simple kind person.

I was given a year to live because of the Hepatitis-C, which was never cured. So I practice with the intent to be a Buddha someday……..All and all, I find life remarkable and as precious as the air we breath. I will be looking forward to getting to know all of you.

With my deepest respect
I bow to you all
Harry Hale

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