My friend Lisa had an itch to visit the Kadampa Meditation Center today for their Prayers for World Peace class and meditation – so off she, Amara and I went. Good lesson (always is). Today, Gen Kelsang Demo spoke about delusion, and how traits of the mind are possessions that we can discard as separate entities from our true nature. (e.g. I can have anger, but not BE anger. Therefore, it is not me, and I can overcome it.)
I like the idea of self-transformation, minus the potential for self-loathing. We can discard a bad trait or habit, without abandoning ourselves.
We left the temple in search of lunch, and a catch up – we still had Christmas presents to share; it’s been that long since our last meet up.
Settled on Duval’s on Main St. I thought someone was kidding when they whispered that Stephen King was having lunch inside … There were all of a dozen people in the place, and still with my night-blindness I couldn’t see squat in the dark room. We opted to sit outside in the sun. I had the French toast and candied bacon – well, half of it.
“Are you gonna eat that?” A homeless woman, who everyone seemed to know by name, asked.
“I was going to take the rest with me. Would you like it?”
I scooped the French toast in the to-go box.
“Nah!” She waived it away. “Just the French toast.”
“How about syrup?”
By now the waitress looked embarrassed for me; but I was really only attached to the bacon anyway (Yes, I know I went to the temple; but I am a carnivorous soul – a trait I have not yet rid myself of).
“Yeah, you can throw the syrup on top!” I did so, and she went happily on her way.
Circling back to lunch … Since I am about as observant as a Florida Bonneted Bat in daylight, I asked Amara to let me know when Mr. King left the building, just so I could at least observe the author of whom I admire.
“Okay,” she whispered. “I’ll use the code word ‘watermelon’.”
Lisa missed this exchange, and halfway through lunch, Amara interrupted with a mouthful of food, “There’s this great watermelon farm in Peru!”
Lisa looked perplexed. I looked up, and sure enough, there was Stephen King, walking quietly down the street with several older women I assumed to be his mother and other relatives. Much taller than they, he hung his head and hunched his shoulders slightly to carry on his conversation with them.
From now on, whenever I spot anyone famous, my code phrase will forever be, “There’s this great watermelon farm in Peru!”
Until then, I will remind myself that, while I can be NEAR Stephen King, I shall never BE Stephen King … The Buddhist temple taught me that.
*Photo by Ian Kahn. Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.ne