Jerry Katz
photography & writings

The wind carves shapes into the beach sand

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Highlights #608

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Thursday, 2/1/01

Hi All,

I'm guest editing the highlights for Thursday, as Andrew is working hard
these days. I dunno how they will come out tonight. I've been deep in
karma all day.

Anyway, Michael Read asked the following on Wednesday and I thought the
responses Thursday were both fun and instructive... (I see that Jerry
invited all to read the list for responses, so if you did, forgive the


A master asked two of his students a question:

"What exists where you cannot be?"

The first student answered, "My true Self."

The master removed his sandal and delivered a mighty slap to the
student's face.

The master then required an answer from the second student.

He replied, "My true Self."

The master then removed both of his sandals and placing them on his
head began to dance and sing!

The koan: 'Who gained enlightenment?'


Peace - Michael

Late Wednesday, James Traverse suggested:

The master.
The first student answered intellectually and got a knock upside the
head. The second student was already enlightened. His answer
demonstrated that he understood "it is not what is said but with what
understanding do you speak". In the context of the situation presented
here, his words were the most appropriate 'answer'. The second
student's comments were the catalyst for a wise man (the master)to see
the truth of 'Being'. Thus the master danced and sang in celebration of
his enlightenment.

In the Light of Being

Michael replied:

A most excellent answer. Alas :-) it is not correct!

Peace - eternity - Michael

Gill offered:

It's the sandals. ;-)

Michael confirmed:

Too easy for you dear Gill!

Peace - Michael

And then the rest of us imitated the Energizer Bunny... (actually, I
suspect the Yahoo system delayed some answers, but hey, it's more fun
this way....)

The master.
The second student demonstrated that he was already enlightened because
of his response. His response demonstrated 'it is not what is said but
with what understanding do you speak'. In the context of this situation
his words were the most appropriate 'answer'.


Jan helped out:

The koan constructor, a mental boa constrictor
A crutch for the cripple
Or a cup from the fata morgana to quench the thirst of
the ocean

'Nothing' is satisfying forever
But where to go when there is no help desk to


And Yahoo is back where Egroups left... Oh so...

(ed note: boy howdy, do I agree!)

Jeff (JR) added:

No, Who's on first,
Gained Enlightenment is on second,
Buddha's playing shortstop.
Jesus saves.


Michael came right back with:

Due to a sudden outburst of self inquiry
The game was halted and everyone went within.

Peace - time for pie - Michael

Not knowing that the game had been halted, I kept on going...(serves me
right for not paying attention)

Hi Michael,

I'd say "my true self", but I hate to make you drive all the way out
here just to hit me with your smelly sandals. Hey, just mail them to me
and I'll hit myself (whatever THAT is...)

Love, Mark

Andrew made me feel better for responding so late:

Enlightenment gains enlightenment.


Oh, how embarassing, I'm including my drivel in the highlights. (Hey
Jerry, find another editor!):

Oh Gosh, I am so embarrased. Why I'm slower than Yahoo (which is saying
something ain't it?) I answered the question long after Gill won the
contest. Is there a consolation prize? If it's socks, please send them
to Andrew, not me.

thanks, Mark
Sometimes I think it all socks. sandal the socks to Andrew...

James turned the tide on my silliness and asked:

OK - the sandals.... I'd like to explore a little further

I have two questions. Would you say that my answer (the master) is a
reflection of the second student's answer? Was the second student's
answer also not correct?

Either way I've unlearned something today-Thanks!
I'ts pie time for me too,

james :)

I tried desperately to turn it back to trivialities by calculating how
much lighter the sandals would be by moving further away from the center
of the earth, on the Master's head (0.06%), but no one was willing to
check my answer.

Well... this is interesting. I can no longer access the Nonduality
Salon, so folks... This is where the highlights stop for Thursday
(really) Be cautious of the rest of the highlights (already done...)
They get not just serious, but grim.

Love, Mark

On a more serious, and compassionate note, this thread dealt with

Dave started it with this question earlier:

>I have been sitting a year. I also suffer from depression from time to
time. However ,with a combination of zazen and St. John's wort I have
found my mind clearer and more focused than I can possibly describe.Last
October I saw depression becoming back stronger. By asking the question;
Who is it who's depressed?; it largely vanished.Since Dec depression is
back in a stronger,blacker form than before.I struggle to go to work
each day and I can't sit in zazen anymore because of the flashing of
thought in my mind. I am asking if there is anyone who has experienced
sitting through depression. I am ready to sit through it ,and perhaps
see past what parts of it which are just thoughts.Any advise?

Xan responded Thursday:

~ Dave, I have dealt with depression and its debilitating effect often
in the past, and have learned some things that I share with you now:

-Depression is often a conglomerate of emotions. It helps to look into
it more closely and feel them specificaly... then there is more ease in
the sitting with and seeing through.

-For all lingering emotional states I find it helpful to use this
gentle sequence:

Breathe and be present with the feeling.
Ask "What's under this?"
Breathe and be present with whatever shows up.
Keep on layering down until .............

This is a variation on the other question Ramana suggested for
self-inquiry: "From whence does this arise?"

with love

Bruce Morgan responded:

Not to contradict Xanji, whom I deeply respect, but the darkest ilks of
depression are bodily disorders that are not amenable to
meditative or self-inquiry techniques any more than to conventional talk
therapy. Just as some people (including Mohandas Gandhi, btw) cannot
really thrive on a strictly Vegan diet, some folks' physiology is so
genetically skewed toward depression that it may be advisable to seek
medical help, if only as a temporary adjunct to ones other work. I wish
today's gentler and more effective drug therapies had been available
when my late father was literally disabled by depression -- all they had
back then were amphetamines and/or electroshock.

JR offered:

I would second this. I find laying down and noting at first that there
is the physical depression (for me my legs ache as sadness, and my jaw
as anger) with a concomitant refusal to be with the feeling, which takes
the form of some verbal or spatial abstraction of the pain; the
abstraction is a form of denial of running away.

Accept this refusal, say "thank you for symbolizing this pain, that is a
help to point at it, but also let me be with it." And then be mindful
of the pain. The usual is to alternate between the solid feeling and
the abstaction. Welcome each and return to the solid feeling.

The only way out is thro.

Accupressure is helpful too. Points in the back, neck, stomach, butt.
Haven't looked, but I'm sure there are many good websites.


Also serious are the posts on India:

In Indian Rubble, Death Is Defied, if Not Denied

A report appearing on the NY Times

In Indian Rubble, Death Is Defied, if Not Denied

January 29, 2001

BHUJ, India, Jan. 28 - The army surgeon had just finished stitching a
5-year-old girl's scalp back on her head in a makeshift open-air
military hospital for earthquake victims today when two doctors from New
Delhi, who had volunteered to help, rushed up to him. "We need an
amputation set," Rajesh Malhotra, an orthopedic surgeon, said urgently.
"Please help us."

A grandmother had been trapped for 52 hours under a heavy beam that had
fallen on her thighs when her home collapsed in Friday's earthquake. She
was dying, the doctor said, and the only way to extricate her was to cut
off her legs.

Soon, soldiers brought Dr. Malhotra a small, shiny saw, still edged with
blood from the last amputation, and bunches of bandages, syringes and
other supplies. He and five other physicians - all from the country's
finest hospital, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New
Delhi - jammed into a jeep to hurry to the woman's aid.

The next two hours would give a vivid testament both to the bravery of
the doctors and soldiers who were trying to rescue the quake victims,
and to the frustrations of trying to do the job without needed equipment
and resources.

Army doctors at the hospital today ticked off things they need more of:
retractors, forceps, surgical instruments, splints and oxygen cylinders.
The volunteers from New Delhi would add more items to that list once the
afternoon was over.

The flood of patients slowed today, two days after the earthquake that
flattened parts of this city of 150,000, largely because most of the
people still buried in the rubble had died. But Mahesh Solanki, a
29-year-old tailor, had managed to keep his mother, Nirmala, alive.

She had been on the ground floor of their three-story home when it caved
in. A beam pinned her legs. She had been caught for more than two days,
lying next to her dead husband.

Mr. Solanki, limping himself and grieving for his father and two
brothers, who had died in the collapse, gave her water and put a tin of
biscuits within her reach. She hung on, begging him to get her out of
that dark hole, illuminated only by a faint triangle of light from

He tried to figure out a way, but the house is in the middle of a sea of
rubble, where no crane or bulldozer could reach it to remove the heavy
slabs of concrete that hovered above his mother. Nor was there any way
to shift the beam off her legs without bringing the house down.

Maj. Rajan Agarwal was searching for the living in the ruins when he
found Mr. Solanki, saw that the only hope for the man's mother was
amputation and took him to Dr. Malhotra, the orthopedic surgeon, for

At 2 p.m. today, Dr. Malhotra and his team of doctors were clambering
over huge piles of rubble to get to the family's home. It was only when
they arrived that they realized the long odds they faced.

"There's a gentleman lying by her side," Dr. Malhotra said in a
surprised tone.

Major Agarwal replied: "That's her husband, sir. The man is dead, sir."

Not only would the doctor have to reach across her husband's body to
reach the trapped woman, but there was only about six inches of space
above her leg, leaving scant room for sawing. And he would have to
operate on her while lying on his stomach.

The doctor also looked nervously at the huge cracks in the walls, and
thought of the strong tremors that had occurred periodically since the
earthquake. "Are you sure this structure is safe?" he asked.

"It hasn't moved since this morning," the major answered.

Dr. Malhotra did not seem reassured. He began to wonder out loud about
whether to go forward. He worried about the woman's position, he worried
about performing the surgery lying down, he worried about the house
falling down on them.

The major reminded him, "Without this, she will die, sir."

"I wouldn't like her to die in my own hands, but I'm agreeing to it
only because. . . ." the doctor replied, his voice trailing off.

So the job began. The doctors wanted a battery-operated electric saw,
but there wasn't one handy. They called for a torch, and were handed a
tiny flashlight.

The saw, it turned out, was dull, so the doctors called to the soldiers
to bring a knife. The men brought a long machete, with a curved blade
that looked not only dull but dirty. The doctors poured a germicide on
it, and passed it in to Dr. Malhotra.

That, too, wasn't sharp enough.

"Does anybody have a small hunting knife?" the doctor cried out.

Instead, the soldiers brought another machete with a shorter blade. Dr.
Malhotra tried that too.

Finally, more than an hour after the surgery began, her legs were off.
The doctors lifted her up and out of the house, and laid her on a

In a mournful tone, a young resident informed Dr. Malhotra, "She's not
breathing, sir." Dr. Malhotra, sweaty and blood-splattered, seemed to
sink in on himself.

"I told her son she might die, but I was not prepared for it," he said
in the jeep on the way back. As the ride neared its end, he said, "A
wiser man would have said no, and let her die there."

But her son felt differently. He shook the doctor's hand, and told him
he was grateful to him for trying to save his mother.

Back at the military hospital, he wept over her body. When he said
goodbye to Major Agarwal, who had done his best to save his mother, Mr.
Solanki touched his forehead to the soldier's hands in thanks.

Dear everybody,

The picture is becoming grimmer with the quake situation in India.

The aftermath appears to be more horrific than the quake itself.

The Hindu custom is to burn the dead body.

Now logs of wood is running short, hence rotting bodies both lying in
the open as well as those trapped in the debris unable to be retrieved,
half burnt bodies being eaten by dogs and vultures, all have ensured a
gigantic out-break of cholera, tetanus poisoning, dysentery.This is
hitting the children who are getting wiped out as flies.

It would seem the death toll figures in the aftermath would exceed those
of the quake figures.

In this gigantic picture of death and horror, it is very easy to lose
focus and get paralysed, inured, as to what can one do, individually.

I have shared earlier that through this conceptual entity, medical
supplies got ensured, for conducting operations by a team of doctors
(who have been listening to Sandeep's prattlings for some time).

Last night I was told, the supplies was exhausted in precisely 12 mins
on reaching.

That is where I am going to focus within the total picture, to see how
the supply chain can be maintained for just this operating team.

Around USD 2,000 has been spent as of yesterday.

I am now aiming to collect around USD 5,000 in the next 24-48 hours.

If anybody would like to be part of this "functioning", do let me know.

Funds have to be transferred by T.T.(telex transfers) as Cheques will
take over 25 days to be credited, by which time, the money might just
not be needed.

T.T. is expensive and involves asking your Bank to do so to my Bank
account here in India. I will provide the details on the latter, if
anybody wishes to play a role in this drama. Do, whatever arises in you.


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