So I told Venerable Johti about my day last night after arriving back at Vimutti; told him all of the wierd people who picked me up (a miniature horse breeder gave me a ride home haha), and I mentioned the party invitation and wanting the day off. Venerable Johti immediately launched into a roundabout speal regarding him not overly liking the idea, but not stopping me either. His assumption, which was reasonable, if groundless, was that being a 21st birthday party, it would be full of people getting wasted. A likely assumption, and one that I made as well. Fine.
But his words, summarized concisely: That it would be a detriment, considering I’m living a meditator’s life. That I should not associate with people who go for a complete lack of clarity. People, who as Venerable Johti, names them, are fools.
Wow. I don’t remember if I was able to fake mirroring his smile at that pronouncement or not because it set my head spinning…The sheer lack of empathy and the dismissive quality of those words was powerful. Think about this for a minute, now…You tell me that _____ is having a 21st birthday party and you’re invited. Who am I to 1.) assume that alcohol, which you did not even mention to me, will be consumed in vast overabundance, and that 2.) _____ is therefore wrong, and 3.) YOU’RE wrong to be there? Even though we haven’t established the presence or absence of alcohol, which isn’t as fanciful as it sounds. I had A drink at my 21st. A drink I did not even finish because I hated it.
I spent about an hour seething. I couldn’t let go of it. I wasn’t even sure why it affected me; he said right off the bat he wasn’t banning me from going, and it’s not like I would have let him ban me anyways. I make just over 3 dollar a day working there and I’m a big boy now to boot. I’d quit before I let him stop me from doing something that had no effect on my job performance whatsoever, for "the good of my soul." Or not-soul. Whatever. So after trying and failing to distract my mind from this I came to realize that I was irritated beyond measure because it illustrated the very point I’ve been explaining to both monks in a roundabout fashion ever since I started taking my practice seriously and bowing to them and the Buddha icon in the sala. Speaking to people of faith so very often, easily 98% of the time they’re so ingrained on their ideas of what’s right and what’s wrong that they dismiss the idea of even being wrong. What works for them, from their own perspective, must be right, and therefore, having this "unshakable view" on the nature of morality and the universe, find it that much easier to dismiss empathy and denounce others. It’s a pattern the Good Book religions share, and it’s one I’ve come to see again and again in Buddhist followers as well. Religion breeds intolerance. I don’t know why, but I see it everywhere.
Oh, and by the way, I can no longer associate with the FOOLS 95% of my friends are. Wallow in your alcoholic delusional binge if you like; so long as my high horse remains unsullied.
You’re all FIRED.
I’m probably not going, anyways…Mostly because even though I have that day off if I want it, I’d have to organize getting there and getting a ride back…I’m going to tell Clayton as much and ask if I can come over on a Tuesday (Tuesday/Wednesday are my days off) for dinner or something instead, to make things easier. Oh, and not to call the monastery. Ever.