Posts Tagged ‘dharma’

Many Dharma Gates, Many Doors

Bodhisattva Vow

The Dharma gates are numberless
I vow to enter all of them



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RippleGUEST POST: My friend Vin was kind enough to write a post in response to this.

A mutual friend had pointed to your blog today, noting in particular your “Done with Ugly Words” post. While a good post overall, one point in particular resonated with me: “Like the emphasis I try to bring to say positive things instead of negative whenever possible, I’m going to equally work on the quality of those words.” All I wanted to say was that I, while spending countless hours trapped in my car/ daily commute, have spent too much time thinking. While the subject varies from place to place it’s often punctuated by vulgarities thrown at the nearest driver from behind the relative safety of my windows, usually followed by a sense of “Justice has been served.“…and then followed by contemplation (I am trapped in the car).

In my countless (boring) hours of thought, I’ve recalled my old argument justifying removing the horn out of my previous car: “All the horn is used for is to convey ‘F**K YOU!’ and/or impatience to other drivers. I don’t need that.” Why I mention this is that I haven’t thought about it in a while, but you reminded me of a theory I had a while back (tied to the horn thing): if all the horn is doing is allowing me to give into my road rage/frustration, it’s not really letting me get past being upset either. More importantly, it’s making me be a negative influence to everyone around me.

At the risk of being flowery, I’ve viewed it as dropping a rock in water – the ripples go out in waves. Watch someone (or yourself) really slam their horn – watch the reactions of people around you – it’s never positive, and often it incites yet more road rage – and I can’t tell you the sheer number of times I’ve walked into the office seething with anger because someone decided they were going to yell at ME (via their horn). It’s just too much negativity. When I took out the horn on my old car, my driving experience radically changed: I was forced to be more patient, start thinking of what others are thinking/feeling on the road, etc. Certainly people are insensitive, jerkish, thoughtless people on the highway, and often act in a dangerous manner – but if you remove your ability to “yell” at them, it’s amazing how your perspective can change – as well as how I realized how I was affecting others.

You once asked me about my plethora of speeding tickets, and how I was starting to avoid them (Still haven’t had one in years 🙂 and I told you oh, sure I’ve gotten smarter about my driving.

No I haven’t. I’m no smarter now than I was years ago (arguably, less – damnable alcohol).

What I’ve done is made myself aware of my influence on others on the road – I don’t cut people off, weave in and out (emergencies aside) narrowly missing bumpers, etc. Not because I don’t have the skill to do so (I still believe I do) but because it scares people, startling and pissing them off – and who deserves that on their way to work? We’re all tired, overworked & underpaid, and emotionally exhausted. The last thing people need is someone like me whipping around them to gain – what, 10 seconds of additional time at my desk?

I’ve had people (bosses, usually, but coworkers too) be in god awful moods, understandably, because they almost died (their view) on the way to work. And that awful mood ended up causing arguments with me, coming out at me, changing the way they handle their already-stressful situations each day. And I don’t even know the person that caused this on the road / in the supermarket / at the DMV – nor was I there – yet now I’m dealing with it.

Hrm…I’m rambling again. My point is this: inside the car, outside the car (with swearing, yelling, etc.) we’re all causing ripples in the water. And we don’t know how far out those ripples go.

Good luck with your anti-swearing effort (I was raised believing that if I swore a lot, it was a sign I had poor vocabulary. Thanks Dad.) I think we need more people like you out there.

(I still drive like an asshole.)

Guest Post by: Vin H.

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Thich Nhat Hanh on the “Living Dharma.”


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