Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Faith = Daily Life

I have been practicing Buddhism for the past 6 years and well one of the first things you hear if you have the good fortune of being a member of SGI (an international cultural and educational organization spread over the world that teaches and practices Nicheren Daishonin's Buddhism) is Faith = Daily life.

The equation seems quite simple. Deceptively so. You see at first I thought the math was simple, you do your prayers twice daily and you chant as much as you personally can, and viola your life is set! Then yesterday it hit me.

You see I work as a PR professional, and yes if you are a journalist, I'm one of THOSE people. Just like everyone else, we work hard, I get into office at 8:30 (which is an ungodly hour to be working if you ask me) and generally don't leave before 7 or 8. That makes an average of 10 to 12 hours that I work daily (yes wise ass I don't just suck up to journalists all day I actually do a lot of value creation as well, not just content creation).

See what was different about yesterday was, I happened to chance upon a blogpost by one witty journalist with a leading Indian publication. The post spoke about how there are more and more rookies in the PR industry by the day, and how it seems they have been put there just to make life difficult for journalists owing to their vast not to mention various in-competencies. Sigh!

Buddhism teaches us that there exists at any single moment in life the ten worlds. These worlds range from Hell to Buddhism. One can exist in any of these worlds at any given moment and your life state can vary from moment to moment. At that moment well needless to say, I was pretty much in Hell. Imagine going to work for 10 to 12 hours everyday, pouring your heart and soul into what you do, only for someone to say, you know that the work that you do is utterly inconsequential, and by association well it would seem so are you.

This gets me thinking is PR not a justified profession? I start to think that we as PR professionals probably do not do work that makes lives of many or even a few better, like say my mum who is a full time social worker and working alongside whom I've had the good fortune of doing some really satisfying work over the past decade. However, just tell me this: who made you the judge of whether my work is important or not? Who made you the judge of whether or not I'm bright enough to grace your metaphorical presence on the phone? Who are you to point out that I may not know the "names of ABC Audited Newspapers" or "editors of those newspapers." You made you responsible for labeling people, -how does the Oxford Dictionary puts it- oh ya a "Dipstick"?

And while I'm reading this I get progressively angry, defeated and plain hurt. I mean ain't I human too? don't I work just as hard? What gives you the right to look down your nose at me? Just because you are "good" with words, who gives you the right to insult me??

After the kaleidoscope of these rants, there is only one thing left to do, think up some choice profanities and mentally butcher you, because unlike SOMEONE I don't believe in belittling, just because I CAN.

And it is while I'm doing just this that it strikes me.

Faith= Daily Life

and I have a real aha! moment. You see the quote doesn't just talk about following the mechanics of praying day in and day out. The quote talks about the struggle in each day, in each moment. Buddhism teaches me that there is a buddha inside each and everyone of us, and while I certainly cannot allow someone to disrespect the buddha inside me, I also cannot slander by disrespecting the Buddha inside anyone else. In life it is a constant struggle to be happy, just as it is a constant struggle to change from within to manifest your Buddha nature.

It is an uphill battle, there are times when each and every one of us, is in the position of hurting somebody, or more importantly giving someone the power to hurt us. The ten worlds indeed do exist in every single moment of life, that is the nature of this mystic practice! It is upon us to CHOOSE which world we exist in.

Someone very wise said to me, there always exists a broken mirror and a whole mirror. If you keep looking at the broken mirror there is no way in hell you can ever see the whole picture.The beauty of the two mirrors is, that they give you a choice, they empower you. You may choose to look at either of the two mirrors.

So at this moment I CHOOSE to look at the whole mirror. I CHOOSE to believe that MY work is important too. I CHOOSE to recognize that, if it weren't for PR so much information of relevance to people would go unheard, unnoticed. And I CHOOSE to accept the Buddha inside the journalist who brought out the worst and consequently the best in me. Thank you Mr. Journalist for giving me the opportunity to rise above this. I pray that you too see the Buddha inside every PR rookie that calls you in the future too, because although what we do for a living is important, the true test of a human being is HOW we do it. Respecting or Disrespecting others.