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Ed Rock

A Buddhist Fairy Tale – Chapter 4 – Nothing Left to Lose – Part 2

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I found myself laughing along with this disarming man, and then I found myself confiding in him, "I really don't know what I'm doing here, to tell you the truth, or where I'm going. Can you teach me what else I must do in this quest, other than to be honest?"

"Oh, I cannot teach you," he said. "You must teach yourself."

"Teach myself? I've just spent five years in the forest by myself and all I learned was how to survive! I don't know how to go deep inside where my key is."

"Yes, you must of course learn to go deep inside, but once you learn, it will be up to you and you alone to take the journey inward."

"But where will I ever find someone to help me do this?"

"Maybe someday you will run across somebody willing to help," a John said. After hesitating a moment he then added, “In the meantime, I can warn you of the Five Dangers, if that will help."

After I nodded in agreement, a John dramatically pointed his finger in the air while proclaiming, "These Five Dangers will keep you from the key! Be very careful of the First Danger: wanting things.

“Simple food, warmth, and shelter are fine, but when you crave things that delight the eye, please the ear, smell good to the nose, taste wonderful to the tongue, feel exquisite to the touch or bring pleasure to the mind in creations, imaginations and memories; then you will be misdirected in your search for the key.

“If you come across these delights by chance, enjoy them to the fullest! However, if you then crave them, want more of them and turn them into pleasures and desires that fill your mind, they will deceive you in your mission.

"The Second Danger is: anger." He looked at me for a moment with his strange, laughing eyes and added, "Do I detect a problem here?" He then went on, "The Third is: laziness; this has to do with putting off the Inner Work that the sorcerer mentioned. The Fourth is: impatience , always moving around to the next place that you think will be better than where you are presently, and the Fifth is: uncertainty; being skeptical of the existence of the key and whether or not you are capable of finding it. These Five Dangers have stopped many key seekers in their tracks and are not to be taken lightly."

How did he know about the sorcerer! Who was this man called a John?

“How do you know the Sorcerer?”

“Oh, he comes by once in a while. We play chess.”

“Do you ever win?”

“Oh yes! Well, . . . actually no. Every time I get close to checkmating him, the board disappears!”

I laughed and said, “Yep. That’s the sorcerer!” Then I got serious again, “Could you give me just a few more pointers on key seeking?”

"Of course I can my friend! Live your life like this: Watch everything clearly, watch everything through the fog of your thoughts, through stale memories and judgments. Let go of all the old images and the excess baggage, throw the entire lot out for a brief insightful moment and truly look. See life for what it is, see the truth of it, see the beauty of it, see the disgust of it, but never push it away nor hold it dear. Experience everything, but grasp nothing."

What he said was way beyond my experience so I just stood there looking quite bewildered.

"My next lesson is that when the student is ready, a teacher appears," a John grinned. "Would you like to walk with me in the woods for a while?"

. . . And so began a ten-year friendship with this little man and his constant grin, as we wandered the forest together in search of the elusive key.
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