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#1959 - Sunday, October 24, 2004 - Editor: Gloria  

  "Let life happen to you. Believe me: life is in the right, always."

Rainer Maria Rilke

from AlphaWorld  

How Fragile We Are - Sting

If blood will flow when flesh and steel are one
Drying in the colour of the evening sun
Tomorrow's rain will wash the stains away
But something in our minds will always stay
Perhaps this final act was meant
To clinch a lifetime's argument
That nothing comes from violence and nothing ever could
For all those born beneath an angry star
Lest we forget how fragile we are
  On and on the rain will fall
Like tears from a star like tears from a star
On and on the rain will say
How fragile we are how fragile we are
  On and on the rain will fall
Like tears from a star like tears from a star
On and on the rain will say
How fragile we are how fragile we are
How fragile we are how fragile we are


  vasumitra ~ satsangdiarygroup  

I like the water/ice image of Hakuin's zen
for awareness and mind, but here's a more recent use of it. From a
late but great Dzogchen 'teacher'.

From Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

If you conquer the primordial nature by distinguishing mind from
The view of the absolute will gradually become clear.
Even if inwardly awareness is not yet clear right now,
Simply keep the mind from wandering outside;
This will do, for awareness lies in the very depth of the mind.
They are, it is said, like water and ice:
Water and ice are not entirely the same,
For the latter is solid and can be held.
But molten ice is none other than water,
So, in truth, water and ice are not two things, but one.
Likewise mind is not awareness, being deluded,
But mind's nature, when realised, is none other than awareness.
Although mind and awareness are different in sense,
They cannot be distinguished by analytic reasoning.
One day, as your confidence in awareness grows,
Mind will appear as witless as a child
And awareness as wise as a venerable old sage.
Awareness will not run after mind, but eclipse it;
In a relaxed, serene state, rest at ease.

  Ben Hassine ~ Awakened Awareness  

This story has been posted in the satsangdiary group by Dennis Waite last week. I enjoyed the story and took the liberty to post it in our group as well. This story was found here 



It had been raining for the entire week we'd been in Auroville - located on the southeastern coast of India. This wouldn't have been so bad - despite the gray patina of mold covering my canvas shaving kit - if my rain gear were not locked in the rear center box on my bike, the key to which was lost with my fanny pack a week earlier. I very much wanted to explore the area, but each morning I faced the same dilemma: I could take my bike in search of a locksmith, but then I'd be riding in the rain - which I hate – without rain gear - which is worse. So I spent each day huddling under blankets in my cottage room at New Creation settlement, reading philosophy books borrowed from Ravi.


One morning I woke up with a great idea. I went out to the bike - which was parked under an overhang out of the rain - and unbolted the box from the frame. I carried the box and an umbrella around the settlement, asking if anyone knew a good locksmith. No one knew of one anywhere in Auroville, but several people said there was one in the open market in Pondicherry, a few kilometers south.

I went by taxi from New Creation into Pondicherry, and just to confirm, I asked the driver, "Locksmith? Pondi?" After repeating these words several times with different emphasis - communication in India often feels like opening a combination lock with only some of the numbers - the driver replied, "Pondilocksmith?"

"Yes yes!" I answered.

"Main market you will find." That settled it. We drove in silence and parked near the market. The driver escorted me barefoot in the drizzle through winding alleys past small stalls selling fruit, flower garlands, pots & pans, raw meat, cosmetics, neat conical piles of colorful ground spices -everything you could possible want - for who would be so foolish as to want what is not available in the main market?

I kept my eye out for a sign saying "Locksmith" - which I assumed would be hanging above one of the larger stalls, given the number of people who knew of the establishment. When the driver stopped and stood before a wet, bedraggled beggar sitting in the mud beneath a leaky three-foot square of thatch, I assumed he was pausing to offer a few paisa and accumulate a little merit. He just kept standing there however. I looked at him, and he nodded his head towards the beggar. Does he want me to give a few paisa? I looked down at the beggar - and did a doubletake as I realized that the filthy debris surrounding him was actually a set of rusty, mud-covered tools - and locks of every description: padlocks, bicycle locks, door locks - all as wet and rusty as the tools. The can I thought was his begging bowl was filled with rusty keys, not coins, and a tiny rivulet of water was falling from the thatch directly into the can, and out through a hole in the side.


The locksmith's hands were a blur, hammering on a bicycle lock, flipping it this way and that - then oiling, screwing, testing - and abruptly handing it to a man standing over him, who quickly handed him a coin and slippedback into the crowd with his lock, good as new. I realized that several of the people I thought were just milling around were actually queued up for service, locks in hand; some were quite wet and had apparently been standing there awhile.


My driver leaned over and mumbled something in the locksmith's ear. The locksmith looked at me with cool, rheumy eyes, water dripping off his short-cropped gray-black hair onto his dark sunken cheeks. I knew he didn't speak any English, so I just handed him my bike box, which he set on the ground in front of him with the lock pointed up. He stared at it carefully, like he had never seen one before. "Swell," I thought, and glanced at the crowd - the queue I had just bypassed completely. Everyone was staring at the locksmith like he was a chess master about to begin a game.


The locksmith leaned over his can of keys - redirecting the rivulet of water down his naked neck - and began rooting through it. I briefly considered trying to convey to him that this box was an expensive motorcycle accessory, and that there was no chance that any of his rusty old keys would fit, but I decided it was less trouble to just let him fail. With a hint of a smile, he pulled out a key, but sure enough it didn't fit at all. He immediately began hammering on the key - both sides in order to flatten it. I noticed that what I had thought was a muddy rock in front of him was actually an anvil. He tried the key again and this time it went in a little, but the whole approach was so half-assed that again I felt the urge to interrupt, to take my box and leave right then, lest he damage the lock. Before I could, however, the locksmith pulled out a chisel and began hammering a straight groove the length of one side of the key. It took just a few seconds, and this time to my great surprise when he tried the key it went all the way into the lock smoothly, though it refused to turn. He removed the key again and leaned close to the lock, staring deeply into the keyhole for several seconds with one eye.


He looked up suddenly and barked a command in Tamil at a boy standing quite close. The boy jumped back and I realized he'd been blocking the man's light. The locksmith peered into the keyhole again for several seconds, then took the key and placed it in a rusty vise off to his right - which I hadn't even noticed before. He ran his left thumb along the edge of the key until he came to some invisible point, where he then made a notch with a wet, rusty file. He slid his thumb to another point and made a second notch. Then he pulled the key from the vise, slipped it into the lock, turned it and opened my box.


The locksmith looked at me coolly, with no hint of smugness - though he must have sensed my earlier doubts. I was in shock. I kept shaking my head, saying, "I don't believe it." What I had witnessed was such high-level mastery of a craft that it seemed like a miracle - all the more so for having occurred in the mud right in front of me. I'd seen things before that I couldn't explain - the way Crazy George heated that boulder with only his hands for instance - but this was more impressive. The locksmith had cultivated his enormous talent not to impress people, but to help them - and this impressed me most of all.


As I stared into his eyes, I heard myself saying "thank-you" over and over. My gratitude wasn't about the box or the rain gear - both of which I could have replaced without even feeling it financially - but for a gift much more subtle and profound. Staring at the man I first thought a beggar, sitting half-naked in the mud, I now saw a light burning in his eyes - and smiled as I realized what he was - an arahat of locks, polishing his soul by perfecting his craft, and performing karma yoga - the yoga of service to others. As I gushed my gratitude, a slight smile appeared on his face. It was not pride - this man was beyond the need for praise - but pleasure that he had solved my problem.


The driver leaned over and said, "Now you pay him 10 rupees." I wanted to pay much more, but had to be careful not to insult him - as if this were just a job to him! - so I set a 10-rupee note and a 2-rupee coin on his anvil, took my box and backed away from him - considered the respectful way to withdraw from the presence of a master. The locksmith scooped the money into a hidden fold of his dhoti, nodded once in my direction, then turned immediately to the next customer in line, who handed him a fat, black padlock.


As I worked my way back through the narrow, winding aisles of the market, clutching my box to my chest, I had only to glance at the key in the lock, glistening with raindrops, to remember that anything is possible with practice and faith.


Lou Hawthorne, 1996 , All Rights Reserved

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