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#1953 - Monday, October 16, 2004 - Editor: Jerry

Flavier: The parable of the tidal wave
By Sen. Juan Flavier

IN A BARRIO by the seashore lived a hermit. He chose to build his hut away from the cluster of nipa huts along the beach, all a stone's throw away from the water line. The hermit's hut was at the edge of the barrio on top of a hill overlooking the sea.

The majority of the inhabitants earned a living by fishing, so they chose to live close to the water.

The hermit planted upland rice, corn and some vegetables on the hill. He loved the site of his hut and farm for it was isolated by a steep slope from the barrio below. Very few people bothered to climb and that suited the hermit very well, for he truly wanted to be alone.

The fishermen ridiculed the hermit for his odd ways. They made fun of him but they left him to do his own thing.

A view from his hut exhilarated the hermit. On a clear day, he could see the horizon. Sometimes he could see the faint silhouette of large ships sailing by. The silvery water of the sea contrasted with the blue of the sky. Below, he saw the sandy beach studded with the makeshift huts of the fishermen. Bamboo poles on which nylon fishing nets hung to dry in the sun pointed skywards. Tiny boats were anchored parallel to one another, their outriggers spread out. With this view and enough food to eat, the hermit lived in peace and solitude.

One day, as he looked out at the sea, he saw a huge wave. He had watched the horizon often but the waves were never that large. It was like an enormous mattress being rolled towards the barrio below.

"My God," he gasped, "a tidal wave is coming. There must have been an undersea volcanic eruption."

His first concern was the welfare and safety of the fishermen and their families below. He thought of rushing down to alert them. But that would take at least ten minutes even if he ran. By that time, the tidal wave could be halfway to the shore. Then the people would need another ten minutes to run up the hill for safety - that is, if he had enough time to go from house to house and the people would take his warning seriously. Chances were, the inhabitants would quickly conclude that the hermit had gone mad.

True enough, as the hermit thought out his next step, the huge waves moved closer. There was very little time to avert a major tragedy. There was only one thing to do.

He started a fire and ignited his hut. Next, he set fire to his upland rice whose grains had just started ripening. With the wind, the cogon grass around was easily kindled into angry flames. Soon, the hill was ablaze with fire and dark smoke.

The inhabitants in the seashore barrio saw the conflagration. They all knew it was the hermit's hut and farm. Following the tradition of neighborly assistance, the people rushed to the slope and climbed it with much effort.

When they reached the top, all that remained were ashes and the smoldering embers of tree branches and bamboo slats. The hut was completely gone and the farm entirely ruined.

The hermit stood looking at the village below. As the people turned their gaze towards the sea, their frightened eyes saw the tidal waves as big as iron ships. The onrushing water engulfed their huts and boats like matchsticks in a turbulent river. It was as though the floodgates of an irrigation dam were suddenly opened, unleashing a cascade of water submerging the whole barrio.

They had lost their homes and fishing nets. But their lives had been saved and their faith in the goodness of humanity restored through the supreme sacrifice of the hermit.




"No, my son, there is no such thing as good and bad. This is only a tool
used by the whiteman to create fear among themselves."

A Kristi Shelloner contribution:

This is an excerpt from a book, "Seven Arrows," I thought some of you might
enjoy. It comes from the teachings of The Brotherhood People, the Cheyenne,
Lakota Sioux, Kiowa. This will be a lengthy e-mail; I hope you don't mind.
One of the things I like best about Native American thought is the degree to
which spiritual life and reverence are integrated into the fabric of
everyday life; literally, the hides they use, the symbols each person uses,
sometimes the way clothing is sewn represents particular teachings or
spiritual tasks for that individual to accomplish. (Capitalized
nouns signify the meaning is metaphoric and symbolic as well as literal.)

"The Sign of the Forked Medicine Pole"

These people have been taught by the Black Robes that good and evil existed
as separate things. We talked with them about this philosophy and discovered
their confusion. They had these two things set apart. But they are not
separate.These things are found in the same Forked Tree. If One Half tries
to split itself from the Other Half, the Tree will become crippled or die.
These People we discovered were trying to split this Tree with their law.
Rather than taking this barren Way, we must tie together the paradoxes of
our Twin Nature with the things of One Universe.

"Before our Sun Dances can begin, many Forked Poles smaller than the great
Center Pole must first be formed into a circle. This circle becomes the
outside of the Medicine Lodge. The Forked Poles for the circle are given by
the People, and they represent the People. But remember these are Forked
also. This is the sign of their Twinness. There are twelve of these placed
to form a circle of the Great Lodge. They represent the Twelve Great
People's of the world. Only the two at the opening that faces East represent
the People of the Shields. The others represent the other Peoples in this
world. One of these People is the whiteman.

"These smaller Forked Poles also represent all the things of this world. Let
us pretend for a moment that they alternate as we go around the Loddge.The
first one will be called good and the next bad. But the question will still
be the same a before. Which is which? They are perfect Twins and look
exactly the same. They are all Twins.

"No, my son, there is no such thing as good and bad. This is only a tool
used by the whiteman to create fear among themselves. It is only the man who
searches for good who will also discover things that he will perceive as
bad. If this man then tries to dictate his own perception of what is good to
others, he will ultimately become a bad man himself. And no here is the next
paradox, which is the Other Twin. The man who dictates his own perception
of what is bad to others is also bad. One is mirrored into the other.
Because in truth they are one of the same Forked Pole, and are always
perceiving the mirrored image of themselves.

The answer to this conflict is the Give-Away. Whenever one gives from his
heart, he also receives. Every man has his separate Way. And every man is a
separate Way. But we all Dance within the Renewal Lodge in Renewal of the
Brotherhodd and in Giving. We, all of us, are the great Center Pole. We must
bind together all the things of the Universe by the Giving of the Pipe. The
Dancers within the Lodge, the Pledgers, Dance in representation of the
People. The Dancers Give-Away. The Medicine Power is within all People, and
all of the things of the Universe. The Power has been generous in his Giving
and has taught us Understanding so that we might also Give. But the Medicine
is also Coyote, the trickster. WE must Give to the People, and Give all the
things of the People, in order that we may receive."

"Seven Arrows" by Hyemeyohsts Storm

Notes from Kristi: Re: Corporate Ethics et al: I think it is interesting to
note that among tribal cultures, generally, wealth is defined in terms of
what can be gifted and given away, not in terms of what is kept to oneself.
Have to go now; have a hurting, angry, homeless man on my doorstep. He needs
some acknowledgement, a tire and some Loving - with good boundaries, of



from A Course in Consciousness

Chapter 21. Disidentification through understanding (II)

21.1. What is understanding?

Understanding starts with a concept, such as the concept that nothing exists, and proceeds to seeing directly that no object is real.

In the meditation for June 21 in his 1997 book, A Net of Jewels, Ramesh says, 

"Although it can be seen, the universe is nonetheless purely conceptual and has no actual substance or reality of its own.  All phenomena are nonexistent by nature.  Other than the primal Absolute subjectivity in which all exists, nothing in fact does exist!"

In the meditation for June 29, he says, 

"See the false as false, and what remains is true. What is absent now will appear when what is now present disappears. Negation [seeing the unreality of phenomena] is the only answer to finding the ultimate truth--it is as simple as that."

And in the meditation for September 22, he says.

"All human problems arise only because the basic fact of phenomenal manifestation is ignored - that the entire manifestation is merely conceptual.  Nothing is created, nothing is destroyed.  All questions pertaining to birth, life, death or rebirth are therefore utterly misconceived.  WHAT IS is truly simple.  We only make it complicated and incomprehensible by thinking and philosophizing about it."

There is nothing but Consciousness. Appearances arise spontaneously and impersonally in Consciousness. With the appearance of intellect, concepts arise spontaneously. Thus far, there is no suffering. When Consciousness identifies with concepts, they seem to become real. We then refer to them as objects. However, it is Consciousness that is real, not objects. We think of an object as having its own existence, separate and independent from its observer, who also is conceived of as existing as a separate object (see Section 11.2).  However, without identification, there may be concepts within Consciousness but there can be no objects. That is the state of the sage, who sees that all objects are nothing but Consciousness.  Gold trinkets are nothing but gold (Section 13.7) and ocean waves are nothing but water (Section 13.4).

Concepts can never be Real because all concepts change, and Reality never changes.  However, concepts can be true, meaning that they can negate concepts that are untrue.  Untrue concepts are those that assert and maintain the reality of objects, such as the world, the individual, and the body, either explicitly or implicitly.  A primary purpose of this course is to see the unreality of such objects.  In this way, Reality is uncovered and becomes Self-evident.

Direct seeing reveals that what seems to be real is not, so realization of What-Is can arise.  Direct seeing is the main thrust of Wei Wu Wei’s books, which tend to point out what is not true rather than vainly attempting to say what is true.  (For example, see his 1968 book entitled, Posthumous Pieces, and his 1970 book entitled, Open Secret. Both are excellent.)

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