Comportment vs. Deportment

A Buddha conveys stillness. While sitting and while walking.
A Buddha conveys stillness. While sitting, walking  and laying down.

Some years ago I attended a ceremony at a Christian church. My very dear second cousin was being ‘installed’ as the new incumbent of a parish near Liverpool. It was her first ‘posting’ and I was excited for her. As with the ceremonies during this week in the monastery, when people formally commitment to their chosen path, so too with other religions. There are processions!

This week I’ve been directly involved in a couple of the processions,  walking with dignity is the order of the day. That’s another way of describing walking meditation by the way.  On such occasions it is important to  pay attention to ones deportment since how one appears helps to convey the inner solemnity (and profundity) of the occasion. And how one moves or ‘carries oneself’ invariably shows something of ones inner attitude of mind. But it is dangerous, and poor Buddhism, to evaluate (if one needs to) a person by how they appear. How does it go? Don’t judge a book by its’ cover.

At the beginning of my cousin’s ceremony the bishop, bedecked in his formal attire,  along with church elders and assembled dignitaries, ambled down the aisle! The image of him remains clear in my minds eye. Even now! And yet while I observed his ungainly movements he, at the same time, conveyed an air of authority, gentleness, compassion and kindness. And of being a free thinker too! During his speech to the gathered congregation my impression was borne out by his words.

Comportment is more than mere display (as might be the case with stiff deportment). It is an unconscious outward expression of one’s inner being. By considering someone’s comportment you may guess at their self-esteem, their consideration for others and their mental and spiritual well-being. The above taken from here.

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