Wow, it's a beautiful day outside. Although things are not quite back to normal yet, I am optimistic about our future - as I gaze out at the mountains from my backyard. Hope you are able to take a few moments to enjoy some fresh air and wonderful weather outside. I would like to share another story from Reverend Unno's book. I think it is a lesson worth repeating for our young members.
"A Note Especially to Young Buddhists" by Reverend Tetsuo Unno
When I was about fifty, I developed a kink in my neck. Trying to get rid of it by stretching my neck this way and that didn't work. So my wife suggested that I go see a Chiropractor. But I said, "No, I'll work it out . . ." and didn't go.
One day, we were having dinner at a restaurant which was close to a Chiropractor's office. Suddenly my wife said, " I made an appointment for you with the Chiropractor who's close by. And the appointment is today, right now . . .."
I said, "Really?" and with some misgivings went to the Chiropractor's office. The Doctor was an elderly man and talked to me in Japanese.
He proceeded to tell me to lie face down on the masseur's table. He then ran his fingers up and down both sides of the neck and said, "It's a little off center . . . I fix it for you. . . ."
Relieved that the kink was going to be fixed, I relaxed. I noticed that the Chiropractor was approaching me with a wooden mallet. Seeing the mallet, I asked, "Doctor, what're you going to do with the mallet?" to which he said rather softly, "I'm going to bang your spine into place . . . ." I then asked, "Doctor, where did you learn this technique?" to which he replied, "I thought it up all by myself . . ." at which point, I should've said, "No, no; I don't mean to disrespect you, but I'll have my neck problem treated another way."
But I hesitated in saying that before I knew it, the Doctor banged my neck area about three or four times. Strangely enough, the treatment did work. Regardless of that, however, there's little doubt that things could have gone wrong. If I had overly porous bones, the banging might have chipped or even broken the bones that were being hit. But I didn't have the wisdom and gumption to say "NO" and put myself in potentially serious jeopardy.
So Young Buddhists, in the fact of a situation which may lead to placing yourself in jeopardy, have the wisdom and "spine" to say "NO." Whether it involves the taking of drugs, getting into a car being driven by a drunk driver, or pulling off a prank that breaks the law, etc., etc.
With regard to Buddhism, it's extremely difficult or, to be realistic, impossible to "Listen to and Hear the Dharma" when you're physically or ethically or mentally damaged. Gassho.