“Three things cannot be hidden: the Sun, the Moon, and the Truth.” – Buddha
It was the scene of many battles – Sainsburys, Matlock branch, late afternoon. This place has seen the panicked end of many sorties into what should have been a straightforward bit of hunter-gathering. I’m not the only one, I know. I’ve watched arguments; raging, screaming matches, people jostling each other at the cheese aisle at Christmas time. All life is not in a big city, it is in Matlock Sainsburys.
I live on my own, so I hardly ever have the need to use a trolley for my pathetic shopping. Few cans of beer, bread, bit of cheese, etc, doesn’t take up much room. But you’re actually wider through the crowds with a Sainsburys blue plastic basket than you are with a trolley. I like the fact you can ‘accidentally’ whack the basket edges into the backs of people’s knees. Get it right and I think there’s a nerve there somewhere that triggers intense pain and can cause them to limp around for the rest of their shopping trip. I’ve done it more than once. Not been arrested yet. I am not proud.
Today I had the basket clutched tightly and stuck out far from my body to one side, so the action of me going through the store was like a scythe on a chariot. Or it would have been if there had been many people but the place was mostly empty. I saw him as I turned into the cereal aisle.
His name is Chuddar [Sp?].
He is the Buddhist monk in charge of the Temple where I sometimes go for enlightenment and to lie about how good I am as a human being. Last time I saw him I was vegetarian, telling him I was peaceful, and bullshitting him about how I live in harmony with the world; eschewing poisons like drugs and booze. Oh, and Meat really is murder. Sober and living the Dharma all the way, Brother.
We came face to face as he was picking some high quality Alpine Crunch from the shelf. He turned to look at me with his always peaceful face. He smiled. I grimaced back. Then he did what everyone always does in these places: he looked into my basket to see what my life was really about – want to find out what makes people tick, look into their shopping basket. Don’t lie, you do it too.
In my basket there was a newspaper, four pint cans of cheap lager and a packet of pork chops, all bloody and boney, and gristly. I wished I’d had time to hide the fucking things under the newspaper. He looked up from my basket shaking his head in slow disgust and I swear he said a small mantra under his breath. ‘I’ll see you again, mate,’ I said.
‘You are always welcome,’ he replied. ‘Sometimes the path is not easy.’
I’ll think about those profound words in a minute when the first can is being drained and the sizzle of dead animal is coming from my cooker. I’m the worst Buddhist in history. This truth is no longer hidden.