On my morning commute to the office in Greenwich Village there is a Buddhist monastery that I always walk by. A couple of the monks are normally outside picking up trash or tending to the neighborhood. I am always friendly and say hello as I walk by. One particular morning I am walking by and one of the monks is struggling to get a box out of a car so I go over to help. I ask him if I can help and me smiles at me and motions that I can help him get the oblong box out of the trunk. I will admit it freely that I don’t know if they are allowed to talk or what. The monk that I am helping can’t be 5 feet and probably weighs 80 pounds soaking wet. He is dressed in his yellow and red robe outfit that you see on TV shows and he mutters “thank you” as I get the box to the curb. It is then that 2 other monks come out of the building and they get the box into the monastery. I go on my way to take my nap at my desk until it is time for lunch.
I have to let you in on a secret, I am enthralled with the vast number of different religions that are here in New York. From the Orthodox Jews who stand on 47th street in the heart of the jewelry district to the Russian and Persian Jews who go about their business up here in the Upper East Side. I almost gave my former “daddy” (manager) a heart attack one day at lunch when we took out a client to lunch at the French Kosher restaurant in midtown Manhattan. The client was sitting across from me at the table but wasn’t wearing a yarmulke like the rest of the restaurant patrons. I prefaced my question to the client that I was meaning no disrespect but why he chose not to wear the Traditional Jewish yarmulke. He told me that his particular sect was not required to wear one yet he kept with Kosher dining habits. He appreciated my curiousity and he gave me a brief history of his particular sect. Like I told him; “I came from a town that you were either Catholic or Southern Baptist, yet you still saw each other in the liquor store.”
So back to my story, the next day I am walking to my office and I walk past the Buddhist Monistary again and the monk that I helped the day prior comes out the door. He walks up to me and says that he would like to give me a blessing. I am floored and truly honored and agree to it. He takes my hands and holds them between his and mutters something in different language. He gives me a foil card and tells me that he wants me to pray for peace. He also gives me a small wooden beaded bracelet and puts it on my wrist. He asks me to sign his book and I ask him if I can give his temple (do you call them temples?) a small donation. He smiles and says that I am not required to do so and I should do a good deed for some random stranger instead. I know that I will take some grief from some of my old Memphis ball busters but I am really into this. I have always said that I wasn’t an overly religious person but more spiritual and am a firm believer in Karma. This belief keeps me centered and if I can do a good deed for a random stranger maybe we can make this marble we call earth a better place. I did some research on that particular monistary and that group of Monks are in the same sect as the Dali Lama. Maybe that is what we all need, pray for peace and do good deeds for our fellow man. Beats the shit out of yelling at people in the airport.