Dharma Glimpse by Gredd Cundiff
Returning home from a Mothers’ Day brunch at my sister’s home, I had a rather long wait on a train platform. I ran up to the stop thinking I had heard a train horn. Well, no I hadn’t. What greeted me was a schedule board indicating a 30 minute wait. It was a nice day so I didin’t think much of it. I could txt some friends and check in on a dating app.
A young guy arrived and stood maybe 15 feet from where I was standing. Nicely dressed he started fumbling with something in his bag or pocket – I couldn’t tell which. Next thing I noticed was the aroma of an herb garden wafting in my general direction. He was smoking weed from a pipe fashioned out of an old soda can. It is legal in a about 9 or 10 weeks, so who cares.
Then two rough looking characters walked up and sat on the ground. Smoking cigarettes and grumbling at each other. One about hurt feelings. The grumbling turned dramatic and one guy would start to walk away. The other would chase after him offering a certainly insincere appology. They would the go back to their spot on the floor and bicker some more. This cycle played out several times. In the mean time another guy walks up and sits on a bench at the other end of the platform.
The argument was about money and hurt feelings. It started to get loud. Each one yelling blah, blah blah, Yo! Now to get the full picture of what happens next it is. neccesary to understand who each of the players is. The bromance boys having the fight were white 20-somethings from Dundalk or Brooklyn – a step or two below working class. The pot smoker was young African American man about the same age as the bromance boys. The guy on the other end of the platform was an African American man is late 20s to early 30s.
Emotions escalate and the younger bromance boy starts calling the older one the “N” word. Next enters the middle age African American guy. “What did you say! You can’t use that word! You’re disrespecting me!” Round and round this goes for a few minutes. Stoner guy walks up to the tussle and I’ m starting to get a little worried. This is Baltimore after all and you don’t reallly know who is packing. And folks around here like to shoot at each other. Nobody flashes a weapon and I can relax. Stoner guy walks up to the bromance boy he figures is being picked on and offers a handshake and a “are you ok?”
Thank goodness the train appears. Thank goodness nobody gets pushed onto the tracks.
The Dharma lesson? That was for me. I kept my mouth shut. I didn’t mentally take sides. Everyone wants to find happiness and avoid pain. Everyone wants to find happiness and avoid pain. I’ve heard the Dalai Lama say that a dozen times if I’ve heard it once. Yeah, that sounds good. Put it into practice? Not quite as simple. But this time I did. I’ve heard it so many times from so many people in a variety of words and settings. Sunday it played itself out. There was nothing I could do to control anything that might have happened. So I wasn’t chickening out or shirking some duty or another. I lived through it. I didn’t get phyically or emotionally envolved. I didn’t form opinions about any of the players.
This is not really about me. It is about the dharma the seeds taking root and growing. We’re Pure Landers so we take a lot of things on faith and trust. This time I had real world evidence that it does work. The seeds do emplant and they do grow.
Namo Amida Butsu
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