Sunday, June 18, 2006

My Dharma

You know how I blogged about traffic and driving in Albania on Thursday afternoon? Well something weirdly serendipitous happened the very next day. I dropped by a local bookshop to see if I could find anything interesting to take along to read on our vacation this week, and within a few minutes a book almost seemed to jump into my hands. This has happened to me on more than one occasion in my life, and these jumping books always bring radical changes. It's as if the Universe is conspiring to force me to read an important book. The few English books in the shop were not arranged in any particular order so I just let me eyes scan the shelves for intriguing titles.

"City Dharma" with it's bright yellow spine jumped into my hands and I read the subtitle "Keeping Your Cool in the Chaos". Hummm. I thumbed the pages inside the book and the read the chapter headings. Chapter 2: Road Rage, Dealing With Mad Max Within and Without. You know how you get the shivers when something just speaks to your heart? It's not the kind of book I was looking for but I had to buy it. And I'm so glad I did.

The word 'Dharma' means 'protection'. It's a Buddhist practise that helps protects us from suffering and pain. It's a particular path to peace and happiness. I had never heard this word before but I was intrigued by the idea. The author of this book, Arthur Jeon, shows us a way to stay calm amidst the chaos of city life by learning to follow Dharma. I love the chapter on raod rage and it just seemed perfectly appropriate that I would find this book and read it the day after blogging about the subject.

Here's an idea that can change the world: Inside everyone of us is a 'sleeping Buddha' who we must cherish above all else. It's more about cherishing this sleeping Buddha in other people than our own. Treat people with gentleness and kindness in all situations because each person contains this godness within. Christianity teaches (though not often enough!) that we should treat everyone with kindness because you may be 'entertaining angels unaware'. There's a slight difference in the Buddhist approach-- there is no 'may'; you ARE entertaining angels-- and be AWARE of it! This is a world changing idea!

Yesterday I talked with my Mother, who told me that her neighbour just had knee replacement surgery this week, and so my Mom baked a pie and took it to her. My Mom taught me to be kind. I grew up watching her treat everyone around her with great kindness and respect. I am so grateful for her example. (Of course Dad also has a very big heart!). Wouldn't the world be a better place if everyone of us started to see the divine inside humanity? I think so. The concept of "Random Acts of Kindness" has been around for a few years now and I've always liked the idea. But now I challenge us to forget the 'random' part of the idea, and just start committing "ACTS OF KINDNESS" all the time, in every situation, to everyone we meet. Try it-- it will change the world!

And now.... I'm off to southern Turkey for a week of sunshine and bliss-full spa treatments (gotta take care of my 'waking Buddha'!). I'm already more than half way through my vacation book so I'll have to find something else to read, but I don't mind- I'm glad that "City Dharma" found me and made me read it! Now I've ordered a dozen books on Buddhism from Amazon and maybe they'll be waiting for me when I return.


christina said...

I love this! And yes, I've often had the experience of picking up the right book at the right time. It's intuition and destiny and karma all rolled into one. Or something. :-)

I've been reading bits and pieces about Dharma over the past couple of years, but have never really delved deeper into it. I think it's time to do that now. It is SO true that treating people, all people, with kindness and respect brings great rewards to everyone concerned. It's a good way to live.

Hope you and your waking Buddha have a wonderful holiday!

ITS said...

Wasn't there a sitcom about Dharma? Hmmm, I do watch too much TV.

Enjoy Turkey. I will be there the first week of September too.

Paulo Gama said...


Anonymous said...

Have a wonderful holiday - I have fond memories of Turkey.

verniciousknids said...

I know it's a cliche...but the universe really does work in mysterious ways!

Have a great trip!

Writer and Nomad said...

a similar thing happened to a friend of mine. she went into the bookstore looking for a book they didn't have (on diana ross). she opted to buy nina simone's autobiography instead, but she was unsure. then, as she got to the counter, a nina simone song came on!

needless to say, the book changed her whole way of thinking about her music career. (this woman is a singer trying to get her music out.)isn't that crazy?

...turkey...i'm so jealous.

Di Mackey said...

Have fun in Turkey! I was always so busy working during the school year in Istanbul, then always had to fly home to New Zealand family ... I still haven't done the south ... lucky you :)

Sarah Elaine said...

I like how you think.

Enjoy Turkey -- and the spa. You deserve it!

hockeyman said...

Having lived in Atlantic Canada where your mother lives.. the kindness is rampant... people hunt down the sick and injured to force feed them soup or cakes or the irrepressable cassarole.

and the drivers... its a wonder you get anywhere at all with all the people letting other people in ..with a smile... ugh I had to drive through montreal once a year to get my sanity back......

and there are few Bhuddists....

Corrie said...

how inspiring. thanks for this post. have a great time in turkey.

Unknown said...

oh your vaca sounds like so blissful! Enjoy, cant wait to see/read when you are back.

Anonymous said...

I learned how to drive a car in Tirana at age 15.

My first ride ever was on a diesel volvo, descending that cattle road from Dajti down to the city. It was a stick shift of course and it on me stalled many times till I learned how the clutch worked.

Thinking back, it must have been extremely dangerous to let someone drive for the first time down the mountain.
But Julian who let me, was only a year older so wisdom was scarce.

I'm now 27 and have lived in Boston for the last 10 years. I'll tell you what Miss Kim, I've also given up driving in Albania. The little story before was so that you understand where i come from.
it's just nuts now.

What's telling is that trafic is so bad that people in albania are actually grown fond of automatic transmitions which were a total novelty about 10 years ago.


Monique said...

ohhhhhhhh that sounds like a good book - I'll have to read that too!

I used to love that TV programme in the states called Dharma & Greg
Dharma was the daughter of hippies and always treated people kindly - represented the word well I think:)

Anonymous said...

Ou yes that show was funny. never really took of, a hidden gem i should say