Dating a buddhist
Despite its name, dharma Match turns out to be a fairly general site, aimed at singles of all religious persuasions “who hold their beliefs, values, and spirituality as an important part of their life.” Its homepage features a lovely young couple locked in an embrace, surrounded by giant soap bubbles—as if to remind us of the impermanent nature of romantic love, even as we pursue it. A burly poet in Ohio who shares custody of an eleven-year-old daughter. We tighten our life preservers, clutch our bits of driftwood, and wave at one another across the water.
But within hours of posting my profile, an email arrives in my inbox. I forget whether the photographer in Massachusetts has grown-up kids, or whether that’s the software designer in Palo Alto. I’m tempted to copy and paste from one of my answers into another, just to save time—but surely that’s tacky?
Wouldn’t I be better off using my time and energy rooting out the cause of suffering—craving—at its source? ”—the first thing I discover is this: There are apparently a lot of thoughtful, attractive, spiritual singles out there. Of course, our practice helps us dissolve the illusion of a separate self and know that we are supported in every breath by the whole universe. population is single, according to the New York Times, up from 28 percent in 1970.
Instead of dating, shouldn’t I volunteer at a soup kitchen? “I’ll check it out.” Week 1 I get paralyzed in huge, bargain-basement stores. Sure, there are some scary ones: The guy who rants that he likes trees better than people. I picture him chanting in the zendo: Desires are inexhaustible, I vow to end them—right after I check dharma Match for any new hotties. But at the same time, it’s also good to feel supported by a real live person who actually cares that we had a bad day, that the kids were brats, that the boss was a tyrant, that the computer kept crashing, that we failed to solve our koan. And an increasing percentage of those singles are forty years and older.
Increasingly, I don’t get around to returning the emails. When I inadvertently fail to return a Smile, I receive my first flame: “Is this the way enlightened people behave?
Well, if it is I might just as well go to the local bar and become an alcoholic, smoke cigarettes, and associate with big furry women who grunt when they talk.