Well, I’m sitting at the front window earlier today watching the garden grow and a black van cruises by slowly and pulls into the driveway. Might be MIB’s, but more likely somebody who wants to know why I have the best garden ever, and in either case I would do the same thing and look for a decent shirt to put on before I answer the door. Don’t get much company here and I’m never prepared for it. If the MIB’s or the FBI’s ever park across the road I will go invite them in for coffee but I will try to dress properly first.
When I answer the door, two nice ladies are standing there with pamphlets in their hands and I think to myself, oh, no, not again. Jehovah’s Witnesses back again. It almost makes me laugh, except that what they do is so very basically rude. My conversation with them was very short and I did try to be polite. I lied only a little bit because they started off trying to tell me about suffering and to shorten things up I just said I’m Buddhist and I don’t believe any of that crap, ignoring the Buddhist tenet that life is suffering. I know they aren’t discussing the same issue. One of the ladies realized this was a grand opportunity, because there aren’t a whole lot of heathens in this area, and tried to keep me going for the hard sell, but I smiled as best I could and said, I’m done talking, and they went away. Looked relieved, actually, probably had never encountered an actual Buddhist before. Maybe they’ll have to shower when they get home to get the stink of the fire and brimstone off them.
If any of these people ever really got me going, however, I’d give them a thorough piece of my mind. I think what they do is really impolite, even if they dress up in their Sunday clothing to do it. I want them to put my name and address on their little calendar and make a note to never stop there, because the guy who lives there shares the same beliefs that most of the indigenous world has and it’s a waste of time to try and convert him to some bizarre form of Christianity. It’s not like I’ve never heard of that religion, I was raised in the Deep South and it was forced upon me from all directions throughout my formative years. Now whenever somebody asks me if I know about Jesus I cringe and look for a way out of the building.
As a Buddhist, I would never ever do what these people do. I will never hard sell my religion to anyone and I think doing that is rude. I won’t even discuss it with these people, because they don’t really want to know and only use conversation as a ruse so they can make their religious pitch. If they wanted to stop and talk about the garden or why I don’t mow my yard with a gas-powered machine, I’d be glad to talk. I’d even talk about why I still fish, and that might lead to my thoughts on karma and the old Christian concept of dominion over the beings of the earth. I believe, incidentally, that dominion originally meant something like responsibility. I’m saddened whenever I take a life, even if I do that to maintain mine, and I don’t feel I have any exalted right to do this. The older I get, the less essential the killing seems. Partly maybe because I eat less now, or I’m more skilled at living, it’s a weird thing.
My actual conversations with the Witnesses are usually short. Last year I was getting into my car and about to leave for town when a group pulled in behind me and blocked my driveway. Two pairs got out of their vehicle and came alongside my car with pamphlets in hand, looking real serious like they were the Amish Mafia or something. I rolled the window down a bit and asked them to please move their car. That’s about as far as these conversations go because none of these people actually wants to talk, they are just selling their version of religion. To me, that is just plain rude. I would never do that to them. In another thousand lifetimes they might be curious enough to ask me a real question, and if I was still here I’d be glad to talk.