Why was this so important for me? Like all good Christian babies, I was of course baptized--in my case, by my own father. And, Christian or not, the tribal rite of welcoming a new baby into the world is universal one. It takes many different forms, some of them unpalatable to our own culture and traditions, but it seems like a necessary and wholesome ritual, one that satisfies age-old spiritual needs of family and grow alike. In our own splintered social circumstance, where the individual is routinely idolized and cocooned, the value of rituals is often minimized or neglected: one of the reasons that we have so many ungrown little boys rampaging around the planet, in circumstances large and small, is that we have largely discarded the kind of initiation that ritualizes the transition from boy to man.
So this little ritual was important for me. Having long since abandoned the Christian tradition in which I was raised and thrown my lot in with Buddhism, I deemed it appropriate to approach Than Geoff, and was delighted when he agreed. In the fifteen years since I first encountered his teaching, I have learned immeasurably from his wisdom and compassion. My wish was for Luka to receive from him the gift not of the trappings of Buddhism, its the true heritage of wisdom acquired through the experience of life itself. I hope that, as he grows, he will learn compassion for himself and for all his fellow beings, and that he will find the source of true happiness--not in material well-being but in inner peace.
We left with a shared feeling of levity and, on my part at least, of gratitude. And we brought home with us the gift of a small bottle of blessed water with which, Than Geoff explained, we could bless anything we wanted--cars, pets, home... And that we did.