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Cult or Culture (part 12)

March 31, 2012

Or so I thought.

Fast forward to 2004 – I hadn’t thought of chanting in years. I chalked it up to a phase I had gone through. I had long since thrown away the butsadan, but for some reason I always kept the little scroll. It lived rolled up and wrapped safely inside a silk scarf, perched on a bookshelf behind books I never found a reason to so much as dust.

Even after all of the years I had spent angry at it I could never bring myself to destroy it or to discard it. Sh*it, maybe I was a little afraid of it too;  kind of like that tiki-idol Peter Brady found when The Brady Bunch went to Hawaii.

During the holiday season that year a friend who never knew I had ever been a member of the Culture Center Clutch told me she had heard about this Nam Myoho Renge Kyo thing and was going to give it a try. I told her today was her lucky day and gave her all of my so called “Buddhist” books. I gave her the beads I was given at my first new member’s meeting. I also gave her my Gohonzon.

I hoped it would bring her the promised happiness it never brought me. I even put her in contact with Evelyn so she could have her own go to person. My friend appreciated the first gagillion or so phone calls from Evelyn and from people Evelyn told to call her, but after a while…well you know.

I apologized to my friend. I had genuinely forgotten how fuggin annoying the Culture Center Clutch could be. I just knew I no longer wanted my Gohonzon or anything to do with the Culture Center Clutch, so since she did I wanted her to have all the accoutrements. I was done.

Two years later I was emotionally paralyzed with grief over the death of the absolute love of my life – my Mom. When another friend, one who did know I had been a member of the Culture Center Clutch and who also knew I felt it had left a bad taste in my mouth called me one Saturday night and said, “I’m going to receive my Gohonzon tomorrow and I’d love it if you would be there.”

I thought, aww man…no way…not you too…un un…I am NOT stepping foot near that Boooooid…isim again. Those people are nuts. I’ve told you those people are nuts. You want me to go? Seriously?…Seriously?

But I knew there was nothing this friend would not do for me if I asked him, so if he wanted me to be there I had to go. Maybe my going would somehow convince him that he was making a big mistake – but I would not tell him that – he was a smart guy – I would just go with him and wait for the moment when he would look at me and say, “Let’s get the fugg outta here!” So I went.

But before going I told myself…TO BE CONTINUED




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