One day I walked up to the elevator 15 minutes before class was going to start and there was Dharma-ji. He nodded his head to me in recognition and I immediately thought what do I want to ask him. I couldn’t think of anything and nervously I stepped into the elevator. A little boy and his father were also in the elevator. The little boy was in a karate uniform and we stood there silently as the elevator began to ascend. All of the sudden Dharma playfully jumped in front of the boy and yelled “bah!”
I was startled but so receptive to my teacher, that I yelled out and laughed with delight. The little boy stood stoically and curiously looked at Dharma. The father told the boy that as a karate student he should defend himself. Dharma was gently chuckling and smiling at the father and the boy. They exited the elevator and the father nodded his head respectfully at Dharma.
On our way up to the sixth floor Dharma talked to me about reflexes and the little boy’s response. He continued on as we took our shoes off, and finished his teaching with “if you act too quickly though, you may end up kicking the wrong person”.
I have quick reflexes and I’ve ‘kicked’ the wrong person many times in the past. Because of Dharma’s teachings I don’t find myself reacting too much anymore.
I’ve learned to slow down and to observe and to love. How can I ever speak or write the gratitude that I have in my heart for my teacher? The happiest of birthdays Dharma-ji.
Written by Michelle (Michy) Petersen, who is in the process of completing her 800 hour Dharma teacher training.