...whose every move is among the purist. I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine.
--Murray Head, One Night in Bangkok
I don't know if there's such a thing as an orthodox Buddhist, but if there is, I'm not one. Buddhists are thought to be very calm and methodical, for one thing, giving full attention to whatever they happen to be doing until they move on to something else and give that their full attention. I'm one of the most scatterbrained people I know. Buddhist plus scatterbrained is not an equation you see very often.
Yeah, I know the whole meditation thing is supposed to help with that, and believe me, it does (you should have seen me five years ago). But, uh, ADD meds help, too. Triple irony. I did not, repeat NOT want to take ADD meds. For one thing, I don't have ADD; a psychologist told me so and I believed him. "Well, even if you don't," said this other health care professional sort, "I think they'd be helpful for the kind of problems you're having at work." Ha. Didn't believe him. Snorted at the mere thought. Until he finally talked me into it and I started taking them at work and holy jeezum crow, what a difference. I went from being an average at best worker to one of their star performers, and I'm probably still working there because of the stupid little orange pills. I still don't think I have ADD, and I think the meditation had more to do with it. But why argue with success?
This is why I don't lose any sleep over what is and isn't Buddhist-y, outside the Precepts and the traditions and so on. If I can appeal for supernatural assistance to an icon of another religious tradition, I don't have any problem with doing it. When my five-year-old cat, Caesar, was diagnosed with a particularly virulent form of cancer, I called my local pagan (made much easier in that she lived at the same house) to cast a healing spell on my boy before his big surgery. Not only did he come through the surgery just fine, he's still alive and perky seven years later. He may have a little arthritis going on, and we're mildly concerned about that, but for crying out loud, people, he survived fibrosarcoma. Most cats don't. When you need healing, see a pagan. When you need evil spirits removed, see a Catholic. When you can't concentrate, take ADD meds. When you need everything to be Fine At All Times, call a Lutheran. And if you're overstressed, you could do a lot worse than calling on your local Buddhist.
This comes up because I asked the receptionist about which saint one is supposed to bury in one's front yard to aid in the selling of one's house. I used to know that, but, being scatterbrained, I couldn't call the correct saintly name to mind. She looked at me crosseyed and said, "That's a Catholic tradition. Aren't you a Buddhist?" I said, "Yeah. Aren't you Episcopalian?" She said, "It's Catholicism without the Pope." I said, "Which is why I asked you." She sighed and said, "Saint Joseph, father of Jesus, and you have to bury him upside down, and we never had this conversation." Okay, I could have looked it up on the Internet, but it's always much more fun to ask the receptionist.
So I'm picking up a statue of St. Joseph for when the house goes on the market in about two weeks here. I'm pretty sure this works because when my parents were trying to sell their house, not that many years ago, we ordered a St. Joseph and sent it over. It showed up on their doorstep, in a package, the day they got the offer that they ended up accepting. I mean, they didn't even have time to bury him; he got busy right away. Hm, maybe I'd better not order him before the actual listing runs in the MLS.