Phillip and Jason were no longer active with the Buddhist organization since they tendered their resignations more than a year ago. They were chatting over freshly brewed coffee in a cozy café somewhere in the Klang Valley.
Phillip: I am much happier after I left. More time with my family, and save a lot of money too. Seriously, my life is more peaceful and at ease today. Last time, my schedule was crazy. Meetings, meetings, and more meetings. On weekends, three four a day. More busy than the Prime Minister. Those were the days. Come to think of it, we were truly foolish. For decades! Sigh…
You agree that we were being taken for a ride, big time conned? All useless and wasted, isn’t?
Jason: No, not really. We developed ourselves in many tangible ways. Looking back, I will not be who I am without these activities. Learnt about organizing events, resolving conflicts, working with people, getting cooperation, lots of exposure and listening to others.
Remember Sukom ’98? The various large-scale events, traffic control, logistics, the list is long and familiar. Without being able to participate, we wouldn’t have learnt so much. And these skills have served me well even till today.
On a deeper level, I have become more patience, less self-centered, able to view matters from several perspectives, understand differences and become a better person in general. Certainly more calm and confident when I face difficulty today, whether at work, family or personal relationships. This is all through my involvement in the activities you mentioned.
I am grateful, eternally grateful, to the organisation for providing such an opportunity for me. People ask if I got any bitterness towards the organisation who treated me so badly and grown so corrupted, I said no. They don’t believe me. But I don’t. No hatred, anger nor bitterness. Sadness, yes. Disappointment, yes. But I am also grateful.
Phillip: You are saying I am wrong?
Jason: Not entirely. You were right to say that we were foolish. Just listened and swallowed everything wholesale without questioning. But foolishness also has a bright side, you agree?
I admit we did neglect our family and friends, and even work at times. The word – kosen-rufu – carries so much weight that we became fanatical without realising it. Sees everything that’s blocking our activities as obstacles, sansho shima (three obstacles and four devils) and become overly defensive of criticisms from friends and family members.
In addition, we hear testimony in experience meeting of how Mr X put his businesses aside and go all out for kosen-rufu, his business miraculously turn around. Now, that’s bullshit. It’s superstitious and unhealthy. If we neglect our business or work, we can not build trust and can never be successful in the long-term. That’s just common sense. And Buddhism is reason.
Mr Toda had stern words for the youth. He said we should do the work of three in our workplace, and one in the organisation. Our practice is meaningless if we cannot gain the trust in our workplace, in our family and among our friends.
Coming back to your question, I don’t think the time and effort we spent in the past are useless. We benefited from it the most. Till today, I am still grateful for being able to learn, to grow and to get to know great buddy like you. I think we are fortunate then, and also fortunate now. We have a good opportunity to take care of things that we have not given due attention in the past.
Phillip: True also what you say. But one thing though. I am certainly feeling better today than before I resign. At least, I don’t have to work for bad people and carry their water. And no need to endure all the bullshit propaganda and lies about evils and conspiracy theory, protecting GD and fear mongering of losing one’s good fortune if you leave. Come to think of it, I should have left even earlier.
Jason: What can I say, Phillip. I fully agree. Cheers! (Raising the coffee mugs).