‘Barrister Bu’ — a ‘Buddha nature’ lawyer

I’ve been trying to think of a name to describe  my Self  along this new path I walk — often stumbling — but getting back up like that old Fred Astaire song which says to “pick your Self up, dust your Self off, start all over again . . .” I figure everybody should have a response when asked what religion they follow, rather than fumbling for an answer.

I’m Christian,” most in the United States say. A large minority will offer that they are “Catholic,” while a third highest number of Americans will announce they are “Jewish.” Followed by Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims, not to mention devotees of our “New Age” groups.

But what if you wanted to express your belief in more than one religious following? Would you be comfortable with “Jew Cath,” one who follows Catholicism and the Jewish Faith? How about a “Zen Christian,” as I have offered to many a stranger upon first meeting in person or here on the Internet?

A Buddhist student I met a few months ago calls her Self a “Jew Bu,” standing for one of whom is both a Jew and a Buddhist. Yesterday, a young woman (see Mary deserves Philly Buddha buddy visits) described someone as a “Metho-Bu,” meaning, I guess, a Methodist who follows teachings of Buddhism. Or was that Pat from Germantown? I don’t know. All these brunette Buddhist women start to look alike after a while.

I got thinking about this when I met another person at a day-long retreat at the Chenrezig Tibetan Buddhist Center of Philadelphia who was a lawyer. In this short-travelled path I been on, I had never met a Buddhist who was also a lawyer. (Or should I say a lawyer who was also a Buddhist?) Dabbling in the law myself for 20 years, I started the following conversation with him:

How long have you been practicing, Joe?”

Two years, almost three,” he said. “My wife practices too.” I think he said his wife had been at it longer at than himself, but I’m not sure how long he may have indicated she was practicing.

What area you practice in?” I followed up.

I knew something was wrong when he referred to some Buddhist sect of which I was unfamiliar, having  just begun studying this Eastern philosophy some three months ago. Tibetan Buddhism, that is. Been meditating with mindfulness for more than a year. Meditating “without mindfulness” a year earlier.

No, no,” I said to straighten out our miscommunication. “I meant, how long have you been practicing law?

I told him I was a lawyer, one of those Philadelphia lawyers and we laughed. Like two kids discovering there were indeed hybrids — creatures like ourselves “practicing” meditation and this form of Buddhism. We discussed mutual challenges with judges who “practiced law” in fields across the aisles of our respective areas of expertise —  Joe as a plaintiff lawyer with defense judges in civil cases, and myself as a criminal defense lawyer with former prosecutors as the finders of fact.

Today, I came up with the term, “Barrister-Bu,” which would apply to lawyers that studied and or practiced Buddhism. They would practice “right speech,” as well as “right motive,” and a client could be assured the attorney would do everything in his or her power to gain “enlightenment,” thereby performing only “meritorious” work for all sentient beings.

Barrister-Bu. I like it.

Like to see how it would play in one of our courtrooms someday.

Possibly related: Retreat causes ‘after shocks’ to some riders

10 comments on “‘Barrister Bu’ — a ‘Buddha nature’ lawyer

  1. LOREN says:

    @oVECHNOM 1 unfollowed you in the past 12 hours. See who: http://t.co/x75PnCiF


    • contoveros says:

      Not sure what I said to be
      unfollowed in my article on a Buddha nature lawyer, but I guess you don’t like lawyers very much.

      Psst. Neither do I. Very much.

      I tried to reach you via the different e-mail sites provided, but I got rejected. I guess you don’t like getting replies to your comments. That’s allright. I’m thankful just to get a comment on something that awakens something inside someone, even if I may not agree with them.


  2. As we are all discussing ‘Barrister Bu’ — a ‘Buddha nature’ lawyer Contoveros, If the defendant attends all court appearances and either pleads guilty or is found guilty, by Idaho law, I.C. 19-2923, a cash bond can be used to pay fines and costs: when the money has been deposited, if it remains on deposit at the time of the judgment for the payment of a fine, the clerk must, under the direction of the court, apply the money in satisfaction thereof, and after satisfying the fine and costs, must refund the surplus, if any, to the party posting the deposit.


  3. The well-known scenario offered for this point is a sign in a local park stating ‘no automobiles allowed’. This is by no signifies a fixed and definitive statement of the law, since ‘vehicles’ can be taken to mean a broad range of things. For probably the most part it’ll be relatively obvious what falls within the scope – no cars, vans, trucks or trains could be permitted. But what about skateboards? Bicycles? Are these covered within the definition of autos? There’s no way of understanding from the text precisely what is intended by the law, so to positivism in this strict sense is flawed. Rather, a far a lot more sophisticated method is required, which permits the law to be read inside the light of pragmatic and policy considerations. This makes positivism more palatable as a idea, and strengthens its validity at the heart of legal philosophy.


  4. kim says:

    haha– this is funny! I liked the Zen Christian label you called me a few months back. Mostly I just tell people I’m spiritual, not religious. I don’t know enough about Buddhism yet to call myself a Buddhist. If anything, Buddhist mindfulness practice has awakened my spirituality. I had stopped praying years ago, and recently began again– because of Buddhism. If anything, it restored my faith in something bigger than myself.


    • contoveros says:

      Well come back home!

      You and I are in the same boat. I can’t call my Self a Buddhist per se, but a Christian influenced by the teachings of Buddha. I’m a Buddhist student, one who meditates and is following the path of the Buddha and would love to die “enlightened.” I still believe in God the Creator. Don’t know enough about reincarnation, but will not reject it; what’s the difference between that and past lives anyway?

      I too am not religious, but am glad I can empty my Self daily to fill up with the spiritual . . .

      Meditation opened the door to that spiritual vein that’s been in me since birth. It “awakened” me to a higher consciousness, one that did not need any label except Love, a Divine Love that’s unconditional, contagious and . . . gets carried away if you don’t put a stop to its glowing from within.

      Better turn the flame down a bit. Could a start a fire storm if I let some of these feelings loose.

      michael j


  5. Barrister-Bu-Joe says:

    Grateful greetings, Barrister-Bu-Mike!
    I like that too! Two dashiki thumbs up!!
    And the feelings were, to be sure, quite mutual, as I marvelled at meeting another “practicing” attorney. Loved your recollection ~ certainly worthy of internet immortality, for which, I thank thee!
    Peace, love and good karma your way! Namaste!!

    Gratefully yours,
    Barrister-Bu Joe
    ~9 mile skid on a 10 mile ride!


    • contoveros says:

      Losang, the spiritual leader at the Tibetan Buddhist Center of Philadelphia, is going to have his hands full soon. Now he’ll have two lawyers questioning him instead of one.

      Let’s see how the Dharma shapes up under our cross-examination.

      Should be fun!


  6. saradode says:

    “Barrister-Bu”–I love it, and I love the “job description” even more! Just think how nice it would be if all lawyers were like you…

    Your post did make me think of this from the Tao Te Ching (thanks again, Sparrow!), though:

    “The tao that can be told
    is not the eternal Tao.
    The name that can be named
    is not the eternal Name.

    The unnamable is the eternally real.
    Naming is the origin
    of all particular things.”



    • contoveros says:

      What is in a name. “Would a Rose smell any different under any another name?”

      Would Nancy be any finer as, let’s say, a Saradode?
      How about one called dreamsandpremonitions?

      Name your choice!

      michael j


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.