Friday, November 26, 2004

How many other Jeff Millers are we still missing out on?

The Forward interviews America's most senior Buddhist, the Lama Surya Das -- otherwise known as Brooklyn boy Jeff Miller, or as his Jewish mother calls him, the 'Deli Lama' (ouch).
One exchange stands out:
JM: Many Forward readers will want to know why you "left" Judaism and became a Buddhist monk.
SD: Judaism never really answered my questions when I was growing up. I asked questions, they said: "Be quiet. Stop with the questions. What's wrong with you?" So I sought elsewhere: psychology, philosophy, consciousness expansion, radical politics and then spirituality — Eastern philosophy, including yoga, meditation, prayer, fasting and other practices. I had a dry suburban rabbi who was a nice person, but didn't light my fire. Judaism didn't do it for me.
Now, in later years I met more enlightened rabbis — including Shlomo Carlebach, Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Art Green and others. I remember, Shlomo said: "Jeffrey, the goyim don't need you, your people need you." I said: "They have me, rabbi. They don't know what to do with me."
You can't catch them all. But what an indictment.

1 comment:

Daniel the Bold said...

Maybe it has something to do with the The 80/20 Rule (a.k.a. The Pareto Principle). In anything, a few (20 percent) are vital while many, (80 percent) are trivial. An example from the תורה would be the 20% of the Jews who made it out of מצרים.