OK, here’s the thing:

I make it a point to greet everybody I meet and offer the pleasantness of a smile, a hello, a how are you, something to brighten their day.

In return, I get mostly very friendly responses.

But sometimes I get duds, like my ball deflated and didn’t bounce but just hit the ground flat.

It’s a very uncomfortable feeling not to have your effort toward another unreturned.

It’s actually more uncomfortable for many to just not greet people so they don’t have to go through unrequited waves of happiness.

But here’s the thing with me:

Years ago, I became an SGI Buddhist.

Another name for an SGI Buddhist is Bodhisattva of the Earth.

Another name for Bodhisattva of the Earth is an ordinary individual human being who believes in the absolutely wonderful and unlimited potential of each individual to live an amazing life,

Become absolutely happy,

Conquer worlds of misery and transform all of them into immense joy,

And thereby, not to uplift anyone,

But to enable anyone to uplift themselves and be another stitch in the global embroidery of worldwide peace, harmony, prosperity and joy,

Rather than a tear, a stain in the garment, an impediment,

Simply for not being trapped in endless cycles of eternal karma created over countless lifetimes.


So back to me and the people I encounter:

Some of them know me when I myself was struggling.

To many of them I formed a negative first impression.

And we all know that countless follow-up impressions pale into nothingness while a first impression is an unbreakable cement that never dies.

For some, I was a person who was just not fun.

Or maybe to others, I didn’t look right, I wasn’t their type.

Still yet to others, my friendliness, like the blinding sun to one who has dwelt all his life in a cave of darkness,

Was a rude interruption to an otherwise calm and peaceful life.


Even before I practiced Buddhism, I was one of those rare people in this world who interpreted every breach of love

As a sign that I was somehow at fault,

Even though I had no idea how.

So, even today, when people are flat at the bright curve of my smile,

I still ask myself what I’ve done wrong to offend them.

Obviously, I’ve done nothing wrong and my behavior is way above most of these ungrateful people.

Or haven’t I? Or is it?

A great spiritual practice requires that we be tested by others.

Otherwise our spiritual mastery cannot happen.

Those who try us spur our growth far more than those who soothe us.

We live in a superstar world. We’ve turned our spiritual guides,

Ordinary people who are striving for self-improvement and love,

Into perfect saints of spiritual perfection,

Who could never do anything wrong,

And are far above any of us.

But all of them, without exception, were hated far more than most of us,

By the people they encountered face to flesh.

It was so bad that those who scowled at Jesus, Mohammed, Shakyamuni , Nichiren and the 3 Presidents of the SGI

Were far better and more desirable as friends

Than those who really harassed, tormented and tried to kill all of these.

Yet all of these tormentors were the greatest spiritual guides of these teachers of humankind.

We can become great and truly change the world into a better one

Only when we are willing and humble enough to learn from these people.

If our goal is to help them, enable them to become better people—

For they are the reason spiritual guides strive for spiritual mastery in the first place—

Then should we not find the opening, the channel where love and communication can truly enter and flow between?

The conduit of the flowering of what we as a human race can truly become?

It’s easy to say that’s not a spiritual person and therefore I don’t need to be concerned.

But that is not the way of someone who will truly help make this world a better place.

But we can only do so when we are willing to learn from the people who give us the most difficulty.

To see where we have faltered. To see where our own practice of self-mastery has come up short.

They are the ones who will tell us, who will show us.

They are the keys who will unlock the portal to human bliss.

Let us learn from them and grow with them.

For as all the guides said,

The growth of the least of us is the growth of the most of us.

If one person is unhappy, the entire world is unhappy.

Let’s not give up half way.

So the next time someone scowls when you smile,

Instead of just being hurt,


Where did I fall short? What can I do better? What can I learn from this person?