“Open yourself to change, but do not let go of your values.” Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama (1935-Present)
She walked straight up to me and in very broken English said “you are choking my Lord”, then she grabbed my arm and literally pulled me towards our garden ornament section. This young Asian woman was in tears and obviously very distraught. To be honest, I was equally disturbed to think that someone or something in the garden centre I managed was causing such an emotional outburst.
When we reached the ornament section she immediately threw her purse aside, got down on her knees and started pulling at the tight nylon strings that I had used to attach price tags around the necks of all the seated Buddha statues. Before this incident, it had never occurred to me that anyone would consider these statues as anything more than a landscape ornament – but I was obviously wrong.
Once I realized my faux pas, I pulled out my secateurs and cut each string as quickly as I could, with the young woman retrieving every one and throwing them as far away as possible. After apologizing, I assured her that I would price these Buddha statues by attaching a sticker to the bottom. Surprisingly, she got up, immediately regained her composure and went on to finish her shopping.
As she walked away, I realized that I had been completely forgiven, without reservation. It was as if the terrible offense I had committed just a few minutes prior had never occurred. And while it may seem rather unorthodox to learn such a basic Christian tenet as ‘do onto others as you would have them to unto you’ from a Buddhist – I have learned to accept truth wherever I can find it.