That’s what Bodhi Day is all about, really — what we can & might become. Here’s this everyday guy — well, okay, so he’s a prince, but still — and he manages to renounce that (being a prince! Think about it!), leave his beloved family behind (spoiler alert: they show up later in the story), and go off to seek — and ultimately find — spiritual enlightenment.
I don’t have a princedom. Or even the princess or queen equivalent. But I do have a predilection for good coffee, expensive chocolate, China black teas, and other creature comforts not to be found at the Dollar Store. I like my Kindle, my iPad, and other tech tools. I do not like cheap ink pens. Or ill-made journals. So for a long time I’d pretty much given up the idea I could ever be a very good Buddhist. But my brand-new bicycle, a Handsome SheDevil, is helping. Seriously!
I used to ride bicycles like an obsessive when I was a kid. My mother & father would take the three — then four — of us girls out to the old JDP compound by Tan Son Nhut Airport. The grown-ups would play pinochle or canasta, drink cocktails, be grown-ups in pre-buildup Saigon, and I would ride my bike. For hours — around and around the compound, beside the marshy land on one side, down the streets lined with houses built on stilts over carports.
Some days my dad would pile my bike into the old Buick’s trunk and take me over to Tante Alma’s. Mother and the girls would also crowd in, but for me it was just me, the bike, and the promise of riding. Tante Alma lived with Oncle Emile just off the square by the Presidential Palace, which I would circle over and over again. There was an iron fence around the palace, and guards everywhere, but no one bothered the skinny blonde kid on the turquoise Schwinn, riding her heart out.