It was good weather and still early enough at 4PM to hitchhike the 48 kilometers down route 16 from Noda to Chiba city. Noda is famous for its production of Soy Sauce, and Chiba is the Prefecture capital. I was on my way to see friends before they leave Japan, perhaps this time for good.
Though the distance involved was not so far, because it is the regular highway, I knew I was taking a risk in my race with the sun. I could wind up standing at some traffic light after dark if I had to wait too long, or if it took too many cars. The likelihood of going to Chiba in a single vehicle was slim — unless it happened to be truck. That’s exactly what God provided for me, a kind truck driver. And he had two little dogs, both Miniature Schnauzers for me to pet along the way! I love dogs. I’m also fond of cats and all animals as well.
The driver turned out to be a member of SGI – Soka Gakkai International – radical sect of Buddhism. It is related to two other sects of Buddhism, Nichirenshu and Nichirenshoshu. All three sects are considered by most other Buddhists to be heretical to the basic teachings of Buddha because the founder, Nichiren, was a man of war, not peace and tolerance as almost all Buddhist sects teach.
You may now be able to visualize my reaction when the driver told me he is a member of SGI. But he said it with a smile. :-) I always try to open the door to witness to people like these by asking them questions about their faith. In this case, he seemed to be more interested in hearing about my faith in God and Jesus Christ, and of course this made it even easier for him to talk to him. He told me that Buddhism doesn’t teach the concept of God as the Creator. I asked him if this fact didn’t make Buddhism more of a philosophy rather than a religion? This seemed to be food for thought for him.
I told him my God is Love and love is the main positive power of the universe. God the Father showed His love to us by sending His Son, Jesus, to die for us and pay the penalty of our crimes of not acknowledging or thanking Him for all He does for us. The driver remarked that he could see how quickly his dogs took to me. The female Miniature Schnauzer went to sleep on my lap.
The timing was perfect when I arrived in Chiba because my friend and his wife just happened to be in a gas station only a couple hundred meters from where the truck driver dropped me off!