Easter, a Christian holiday that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus, which comes from the pagan celebration of vernal equinox, is recalled by me as the time—once a year—when I saw all the Christians in our neighborhood dress up and go to church. Just a boy, I didn't understand that this was a special day of atonement for the common Christian when finally their hypocrisy got the best of them. They felt they had to do something to make amends. So dressing up and going to church was it.
After Easter, they went back to being religious barbarians. Brandy bottles would be unscrewed, and martinis would be almost ritually prepared. A few times the Bible might be read—but who understood it? especially the part about loving our neighbor which, for Christians I knew, meant only loving members of your particular congregation and damning the rest—especially the pagans.
What I have noticed over the years—in particular since 1979 when the Christian fundamentalists essentially took over the religious leadership of America—is more hypocrisy than ever before. In some fundamentalist Christian churches dressing up and going to church is almost a daily event while these same people support war, Robber Baron capitalism, and the end of all social programs. As the reader can grasp, these modern Christians seem all too proud of their hypocrisy. In fact, it doesn't even dawn on them that they are hypocrites!
When I became a Buddhist in 1965, that was the best day of my life. I had formally shed everything Christian—I mean everything. It was like I had been resurrected! The air smelled clean and pure. Nature was beautiful, and my heart felt strong and light. I was prepared to make the long journey on the Buddha's path. Now as I look back, I have to thank my old dad, too, for all this joy. I forgot to tell you, dear reader, that doing Easter, in his shorts with no shirt, my dad read his yoga book in our backyard. It was by Patanjali.