Other paths traveled...
out all the stops |Facing Lithuania
Now and Zen -- Claude Ware '46
morning begins at six.
of T'ai Chi Ch'aun, 88 fluid movements in all.
A hike around
few administrative duties for Bao Phap, a developing monastery for the
International Buddhist Cultural Heritage Foundation in Monterey Park,
Calif., All in all, it's a quiet, meditative life of study and service
for 78-year-old Buddhist monk Claude Ware '46 (MBA '48).
different from what the former TCU jazz drummer and Southern Baptist envisioned
while gobbling fries in his parents' Fort Worth burger joint at Magnolia
and Jennings in the early '40s.
"I was raised
in a good Christian home, went to church and belonged to a youth group
but never felt a connectedness," said the man who walked a rather ordinary
road before his Buddhist ordination. "It took years of going down the
road I was on before I realized there was something else. All of a sudden
I had these two paths that I could take."
diverged in 1976, the year he met Thich Thien An, a Buddhist master who
was teaching Zen philosophy at UCLA. "This man coming into my life made
all the difference. I didn't even have to stop and ask myself. They say
when the student is ready, the master would appear. I was ready and there
whose education was paid for with jukebox nickels doesn't regret taking
that divergent road. It led to inner peace and contentment. Still, Ware
recalls with great fondness early days with the band, especially one particular
trip to New York with bandleader Don Gillis and brand new band uniforms,
thanks to Fort Worth newspaper mogul Amon Carter. It was there that the
TCU Jazz Band made a name for itself performing on the steps of city hall
for Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia.
now serves as the administrative assistant for the Secretary General of
the Vietnamese American Buddhist Congress, acknowledges his path toward
enlightenment was circuitous. In the years between TCU and ordination,
the now-divorced Ware earned a doctorate, raised two children, taught
psychology at various institutions and applied human factors to operating
equipment in the aerospace industry. After tiring of that, he ran a private
family and marriage clinic while working for the County of Los Angeles
as a research analyst, specializing in drug and alcohol abuse, a topic
he came to know intimately over a seven-year period that included a breakdown
and two heart attacks. Desperate to recover his ruined health, Ware turned
to meditation and began studying the philosophy that eventually became
is really the leveling force behind my ability to stay sober," said the
monk, now dry for 33 years.
who jokes that he's the only "round-eye" at the temple is happy and content
with his decisions. Except one.
thought I should have stayed on the faculty at TCU," he said, referring
to his two years as a graduate student teaching psychology. Those were
the same years he wiled away evenings plunking the piano for the Curley
Broyles '44 Band. "Staying at TCU was one road I should have taken."
teaching continues. Ware regularly leads chants and adorations and presents
Dharma, or law, talks for the English-speaking members. He still guides
T'ai Chi students through private lessons and teaches meditation traditions
(also the focus of his book) at a local Chinese Buddhist college.
keeps me involved," he said. "I'm certainly not a perfect human, but I
want to tell others what I've found and it's the best way I know."