Do You Need The ‘Happy Buddhist Card’?
While chatting with friends on the ‘Agree to Disagree: Conversations on Conversion’ project (http://conversion.buddhists.sg), I suggested doing something in addition, that is handy and easy to use, for swift dissuasion against the ways of pushy preachers. I call it the ‘Happy Buddhist Card’.
A friend recently expressed the need for such a card, when she encountered someone who sang a religious hymn loudly in her face – in an elevator, about how a certain deity loves her. It was an obvious attempt to ‘convert’ her, as he knew she is Buddhist. She was taken aback but on hindsight wished she had such a card to show… to get him to instantly end his insensitivity and rudeness. Here are the contents on the credit card sized card…
Front: Picture of the Buddha, Heading: I Am A Happy Buddhist, Text: Just as I respect your religion, may you also respect mine, by not sharing with me what I am not interested in. Thank you for upholding religious harmony. May all be well and happy.
Back: To the cardbearer: Please report unwelcome proselytism to the authorities [which is whatever organisation that is appropriate], or email email@example.com for advice.
‘With good will for the entire universe, cultivate a boundless heart of love, above, below, and all around, unhindered, without enmity or hate.’ – The Buddha (Metta Sutta) [Note that this quote from the Discourse on Loving-Kindness reminds the cardbearer and reader that the card is essentially a message to be shared and received in good faith.]
This card is especially for those who might not know how to fend off persistent religious hassling in a clear-cut, serious yet polite way – with no need to argue or be angry. It is not a refuge certificate, but for lending the other party to see. Here are two examples of the card in use…
Scenario #1: An old lady is approached by someone at a hospital, who invites her to his place of worship. She says she’s not interested, but the person is relentless… on several occasions too. Finally, she reaches for the card for him to see. He reads it, is surprised and backs off respectfully.
Scenario #2: A cab-driver relentlessly talks about his religion and why it should be subscribed to, despite the passenger asking him to stop. At a red light, the latter shows him the card. Realising he might receive a formal complaint, he instantly stops being preachy.
As above, usage of the card is simple. It can be gently read aloud too. While we should always be open to amiable inter-religious dialogue in meaningful two-way exchanges, in times when a dialogue is overbearing or one-directional, this card might prove useful. Do you, and/or your family and friends need the Happy Buddhist Card?
You can now get ready printed cards by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing address for 10 cards at SGD$2 (to cover printing, delivery and admin costs).
Do share your thoughts and experiences too, on using the Happy Buddhist Card at the comments section of http://tinyurl.com/happybuddhist (below). May all religions co-exist in respectful harmony!