In the meantime, I have been stewing some over Carly's response to my "Bumper Sticker" entry. He disapproved: "It's so out of the mainstream and unanswerable," he wrote, "it invites people to think Prius owners are a bit kooky. Sorry." In a subsequent, unposted communication, he was more detailed. I'm sure he won't mind my sharing some of it with you.
"As I said," he wrote, in part, "it is very far out of the mainstream of your intended audience, therefore unanswerable and has an obscure tone, which does not invite introspection, but rather rejection.
"It was not your intention, but says, 'I know something you don't.'
"Because a Prius is already a statement itself, it says, "I know, or care more than you do, driving a conventional car.
"Because it is a religious statement, it says, 'My god is better than what you believe.' Or, 'My god is better than your god.'
"Because it is an obscure religion, it bolsters any opinion of how snobby religious people are.
"It is a very Leo thing to do because Leos are well-known to be egocentric. And Buddha is a brand which is worn with pride. As is Prius. The pride of the Lion.
"And because it's divisive, it doesn't conform with Buddhist ideals. Nor is it worthy of a sage."
To all of which my first response is to get defensive. (He's right: I am a Leo!) I recognize that instinctive tightening of the gut, that flash of anger. I responded to his email to the effect that he was taking me too seriously, that I had intended it as something of a joke. In a word, I tried to shrug it off.
But then of course the next realization is that there is a deeper truth in what he says--otherwise, why should I be defensive? I do not aspire to sagehood, nor would I wish to be held up to that standard. But in some real sense it is quite un-Buddhist to declare, however subtly, the superiority of one's beliefs and practices.
I do not plan to remove that sticker from my rear end just yet. I will tote it around with me for a while, to see what else it has to teach me. Meantime, thanks to Carly for not buying into my comfortable bullshit. What would Buddha do? What he wouldn't do, I think, is put a bumper sticker on his car. Even if it was a Prius. Well, Carly's right again: especially if it was a Prius.