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Ed Rock

A Buddhist Fairy Tale – Chapter 4 – Nothing Left to Lose – Part 3

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“I taught myself to be self-sufficient during my five years living in the forest,” I said to a John trying to be helpful, “I know where to find plants and insects to eat,”

A John shook his head in disagreement, “Those who are preparing themselves to be worthy of the key must depend on others for support.”

“What?” I thought. “Depend on others for support?” I could not believe what I just heard! This was crazy; relying on others would be laziness.
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“I believe we should take care of ourselves,” I strongly protested.

The little robed man then completely disarmed me; “In this moment, right now; are you able to see your anger?”

He laughed and then continued, “If we rely on our own self-sufficiency instead of others, there is a good chance we will reinforce the power of our logic and reason, possibly increasing our conceit as well. On the other hand, begging diminishes our pride and opens the door to gratitude and love.”

“No, you are wrong,” I said. I realized that I had much to learn regarding the subtle nuances of this key seeking, but I had very strong opinions about begging. I continued to vigorously disagree, “When I was young, I was always taught that those who take care of themselves are taken care of!”

But a John was firm, “Key seeking involves a different kind of self-sufficiency, one that is directed inwardly. Here, our labors are internal and every external thing that we have valued in the past eventually must be replaced by this inner purpose. If we are sincere about our key seeking and searching for insight within this human dilemma, we will be supported. Those that support key seekers will look up to us as an inspiration of what can be accomplished regarding dissolving the greed hatred and delusion that we all live with internally every day. We must lead the way out of humankind’s constant violence against each other.

”All of our future efforts should be directed toward this quest. Our previous endeavors connected with the old ‘external work’ should be abandoned. Instead of continuing down a familiar, stale road where our lives were enmeshed with greed, acquisitiveness, hatred, anger, and confusion, we will strike out in a new direction and begin to untangle the mess by developing hearts that are spotless.

“Your strong opinions regarding begging,” a John continued, “are good examples of the constant battles that will be waged between your heart and your mind, and between your intuition and reason. Intuition is attracted to the inner work while reason wants only to escape from it. This subtle intuition is going to need an incredible amount of help to grow because you have relied entirely on reason in the past, and old habits are extremely difficult to break. Even though new, intuitive insights will arise as you do the Inner Work, your mind will find it hard to change its old patterns. It will never accept new insights unless it can use them to inflate your ego. The mind is like a long, heavy freight train that cannot stop its momentum quickly. Its weight keeps it headed down the same familiar road of ingrained habit patterns long after the wheel locks of new understanding are applied.”

“Okay,” I agreed, “Sure, I’m hanging on to old habits and hesitant to change direction, but old habits are safe and comfortable.”

“Yes, they are for a while, but as key seekers our emphasis is no longer on temporary comfort and safety; our emphasis is on that which lies beyond comfort and safety, bringing ourselves closer to the infiniteness of everything there ever was, is, or will be. With this in mind, begging for food diminishes this big idea of our ‘selves,’ an idea that personifies our minds and our reason. When we are offered food, our hearts feel a spontaneous love toward the villagers who offer the food. But when we ambitiously compete for what we want in the world, our mind and logic are in charge with greed and hatred as their weapons. Can you see the difference?”

“No,” I said. I could not see the difference now by merely listening to his words, but this was about to change soon, and unexpectedly.

“This arrangement between key seekers and villagers is mutually beneficial,” a John continued, “Just as key seekers benefit from villagers by receiving food; the villagers derive benefits from key seekers as well. Just being in close proximity of a key seeker insures that the villager will share the key seeker’s expanded consciousness through a kind of psychic osmosis, favorably influencing his or her future existences. They also profit by observing key seekers’ moral conduct; a good example for them in their daily lives. Also, by listening to occasional talks given by key seekers, the villagers prepare themselves for perhaps seeking the key for themselves someday. Villagers know that key seekers do not exaggerate, lie or keep secrets, and therefore they trust us.”

It was true that a John had a complete openness about him; no evasiveness, no manipulation, and everything he said instilled confidence.

“These generous farmers,” a John continued, “provide evidence of a deep-seated kindness, a natural giving and compassion that are inherent in human beings and nothing less than a direct reflection of the infinite. Key seekers have always looked upon these kind people with sincere affection and respect, seeing many things in the villagers that the key seeker himself has yet to possibly attain in his heart. Therefore, the key seekers benefit from villagers in many more ways than merely obtaining food.”

“I’m afraid,” a John, “that words such as natural kindness, giving, and compassion are foreign to me.”

A John only smiled. He was about to say something when Conqueror suddenly raised his head and snorted. Then I heard horses coming. I grabbed a John by the arm, pushing him behind a bamboo grove just as three warriors emerged. One went after Conqueror while the other two dismounted looking for tracks. Nobody from the kingdoms could ever mistake Conqueror. They knew I was close.
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