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
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. Texas
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
“. That lead me to the Texas Vajradakini Temple in , They Practice the methods of Tibetan Lamrim. The Vajrayana. This is a Very esoteric Arlington Texas . 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 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