It was lonely at first. Carin was living in Scotland’s Findhorn commune.
Her parents were excited over the idea. (Actually, I think they were just happy
to scurry their daughter away form me, a nice guy, but not really good
son-in-law material.) At work, I went from midnights to second shift.
My new shift, 4:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m., helped me deal with Cairn’s
absence. The heavy going at the end of a love affair, those late night
pain hours, became less severe because of work. In fact, I used work time to
practice japa– mind discipline. For six hours, I would do mental
work. The other two on the job hours, I would read or eat. Since my
work did not require a lot of mental attention, I had lots of
free time to silently repeat the mantra that was given to me eleven
years ago by the Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist group in San Diego. Now I
was really putting my mantra “nam myoho renge kyo” to use.
At that time, I was also taking a yoga class. It met on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Jean, a graduate student in Art, taught the class and she was a very good
instructor. As it turned out, she was also practicing Nichiren Shoshu
Buddhism. After I told her about my early experience with the Buddhist sect
she said, “It’s not done like that anymore. You were street shockabukued;”
meaning that I became a Buddhist initiate before I had the foggiest notion of what
I was agreeing to. I defended myself by telling her that I had studied Buddhism in
an Asian Philosophy class before I became initiated and, therefore, I wasn’t forced
into doing something that I didn’t want to do. She didn’t agree with me and I had to
admit that I had no idea what made Nichiren Buddhism different from the
Buddhism I had studied in class. As it turned out, there was quite a bit of difference.