Often people take the taxi when they want comfort, or to reach a place very fast, without the hassle of squeezing into trains, or buses. Sometimes, we want a little privacy. However, others may say taking private cars for hire to a destination is a waste of money. You can sleep in the bus, or train, or do something else to fill the time. Sometimes we just are not patient, and are very lazy. I do that too, to be honest. However, I take a taxi often when I go to a Buddhist monastery.
Of all places, why did I choose to take a taxi to the monastery? Won't it be a waste of money? Many people may put monastery as the least likely places they would spend their taxi money on. However, that is where I spend most of my taxi money on. Of course, I may be stupid for wasting so much money on a a trip where I wouldn't gain anything. Indeed, that is what it is. I don't gain anything from spending money on a taxi to a monastery. Do I get to relieve my anxiety like being late on a meeting, or a date? No. Do I get to relax while I am in the taxi? Maybe. Do I obtain some form of happiness or positive reinforcement from maybe friends, or the Dharma? Probably. So why do I keep taking the taxi to the monastery even though I know I would gain nothing out of it? Mind you, I rarely take the taxi home from the monastery.
Well, let's stop talking about taxi for a while and take a look at this picture above. The lay Thai person is at the back of the truck with a few monks. They could be talking about anything. What is more important here is the affinity to become close to the Triple Gem, and develop good roots to learn Buddhism. By striking a conversation with the monks, the lay Thai person has shown respect to the Sangha, and already developed good roots to encounter Buddhism again next time. Maybe, just one conversation with the monastics could lead him to leave the home life and become a high monk! Or, he could become enlightened by hearing some Dharma, just as the six Patriarch Huineng did with the Diamond Sutra.
Hence this is why I choose to take the taxi to the monastery every time. Every time I am in the taxi, I always try to strike a casual conversation with the driver, and lead him/her to ask where I'm going, and what I'm going to do there. Then I would tell the driver about Buddhism, meditation, and share some experiences that he could relate to. In this manner, the driver would know about Buddhism, its benefits, and how he could put this wisdom into practice in his or her life. Most of the time, they are very receptive towards Buddhism, and find that fascinating, and full of wisdom.
Hearing this, it strengthens my faith in Buddhism as I know that its wisdom is beyond something I can comprehend. The amount of wisdom and expedient methods and means that the Buddha and Bodhisattvas use to teach sentient beings is incomprehensible. Given that I have not developed any wisdom yet, I can only imitate or learn from what past Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, historical records, and Koans, and apply them to introduce Buddhism to others, and build affinity with them so that next time we could discuss more on the Dharma. Yet, I dare not say that I have been successful in this. I only hope that in future, I would have the wisdom to observe the nature of all sentient beings, and depending on their characteristics, use an expedient mean suitable for them to deeply believe in the Dharma.