Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Nichiren Buddhism In the Realm of Cab Driving.

I guess it's time to start this effort over. I used this blog space to rail against the modern world and put out a LOT of negative energy, which felt pretty good......for about ten minutes, but after the euphoria of purging the poison passed, I found myself back in a familiar cesspool.

I should really have known better. I have been a member of Soka Gakkai since the mid eighties, and if I had been REALLY paying attention, I would have known that the cure to what ails me is to chant nam myoho renge kyo. That is the cure, and I was only addressing the symptoms.

I have a google search that sends me news, web pages, and blogs that mention Soka Gakkai, and I have read a lot of amazing experiences by members worldwide. I have even written to the authors of a few blog entries that have particularly moved me. It is an amazing source of encouragement and inspiration, one that should be more widely utilized than it is.

I cannot be the only SGI member that has a standing SGI search, and so it is to those like myself to whom I address myself. My practice has grown stronger and deeper in the last year, more so than any other time, and my life reflects the benefit derived. My understanding of the nature of Buddhism has also grown, but at this juncture, it is a tiny sprout. Given the correct conditions, this can grow.

I had an amazing benefit today. I am a cab driver, and my experience of Buddhism revolves around this, and the rest of my life. The benefit I write of today was definitely a cab benefit.
When I do my morning gongyo, I chant, first for world peace, and then for the same things every morning; No accidents, no tickets, get along with the dispatcher and other drivers, and to make money.

Early in my shift, I found myself in the cab stand lineup just outside the Westin Hotel, downtown. In line ahead of me was a driver from the other company that I had had run ins with before. Suffice it to say that he is not a nice man.........I have seen him in action in and outside of the cab realm, and what I have seen, and experienced firsthand from this individual does not make feel warm and fuzzy.

I have struggled with my more basic emotions over the years, which is one of the biggest reasons why I practice Buddhism, and this fellow has managed to keep me a stir for quite a while. I have entertained very un-Buddhist like fantasys about how I would like to interact with him on more occasions that I care to recount, and this morning, I had a golden opportunity to serve him up a steaming hot plate of payback. As we sat on the cab stand, the valet at the hotel motioned the next cab to come up to the breezeway, to pick up passengers, with bags. It was clearly an airport run, one of the most coveted types of business. Mr. Nice Guy was reading his paper, oblivious to the valet, and I had the opportunity to zip past him, make the pick up, and pocket a nice fat fare. But, I didn't. I was still well inflated with dimoku induced love for my fellow man from my morning gongyo, so rather than even the score ever so slightly (and increase the overall tension between us), I tapped the horn in a light and friendly way to arouse him from his newsprint oblivion, and clue him in to what was going on in this universe. He picked up the fare, and I congratulated myself on resisting temptation, and making a bit of progress on my way to being a kinder and gentler man.

About thiry seconds after he was out of sight, three passengers walked up to my empty cab, and asked me to carry them over maybe eight blocks to the Conch Harbor Marina. We chatted a bit on the way, and when we arrived, they tossed me enough money to have covered three of the fares, and incidentally, a full thirty per cent more than I would have made from the airport run. Not only that, the fare, being a pick up(as opposed to a dispatched call) meant that I didn't lose my place in the downtown line up. The good transportation karma that fell in my lap far exceeded the benefit I would have derived from burning my nemesis.

This is but one small example of the benefit I have derived from my practice. There can be no doubt as to the connection, because, without a doubt, had I been in a very non-Buddhist state of mind, I know full well what I would have done because I play hardball, and I never forget when someone does me wrong. And those impulses get me in a lot of trouble from time to time!

Perhaps the most spectacular bit of cause and effect was a few weeks back when I arranged transportation for several members to travel up to FNCC for New Year's Dimoku Tozo. A good time was had by all, and I had no motives vis a vis a karmic payoff. It was just something I did.
Two days thereafter, a seven hundred and fifty dollar fare fell in my lap, a personal record for me, distance wise. The cash flow allowed me to get completely caught up on my bills, something I had not been able to do in several months. There is zero doubt in my mind that the two are connected.

What I am beginning to see is that when I really practice Buddhism, without thought of the benefit...pure altruism....benefit follows swiftly and assuredly. Absolute positive proof!

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo