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Published by manoj nair

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Published by: manoj nair on Aug 08, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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STRANGE shadows rippled before my uncaring gaze,undulating across my vision like colorful phantoms fromsome remote, pleasant world. The sun-dappled water laytranquil inches from my face.Gently I inserted my arm below the surface, watchingthe lazy little waves which the motion caused. Squint-eyed I peered into the depths below. Yes, that big oldstone, that is where he lived—and he was coming outto greet me! Idly I let my fingers trail along the sidesof the now-motionless fish; motionless save for theeasy movement of the fins as he ‘kept station’ by myfingers.He and I were old friends, often I would come and dropfood into the water for him before caressing his body. Wehad the complete understanding which comes only to thosewho have no fear of each other. At that time I did not evenknow that fish were edible! Buddhists do not take life orinflict suffering on others.I took a deep breath and pushed my face below the sur-face, anxious to peer more closely into another world. HereI felt like a god gazing down at a very different form of life.Tall fronds waved faintly in some unseen current, sturdywater-growths stood erect like the giant trees of someforest. A sandy streak meandered along like a mindlessserpent, and was fringed with a pale-green plant lookingfor all the world like a well-kept lawn.Tiny little fish, multi-colored and with big heads,flashed and darted among the plants in their continualsearch for food and fun. A huge water-snail laboriously1
lowered itself down the side of a great gray rock so that itcould do its task of cleaning the sand.But my lungs were bursting; the hot noonday sun wasscorching the back of my neck, and the rough stones of theforeshore were digging into my flesh. With a last look round, I rose to my knees and thankfully breathed deepof the scented air. Here, in MY world, things were verydifferent from the placid world which I had been studying.Here there was bustle, turmoil, and much scurrying about.Staggering a little from a healing wound in my left leg, Istood and rested with my back against a favorite old treeand looked about me.The Norbu Linga was a blaze of color, the vivid greenof the willows, the scarlet and gold of the Island Temple,and the deep, deep blue of the sky emphasized by the purewhite of the fleecy clouds which came racing over themountains from India. The calm waters of the lake re-flected and exaggerated the colors and lent an air of un-reality when a vagrant breeze roiled the water and causedthe picture to sway and blur. All here was peaceful, quiet,yet just beyond the wall, as I could see, conditions werevery different.Russet-robed monks strode about carrying piles of clothes to be washed. Others squatted by the side of thesparkling stream and twisted and turned the clothes so thatthey should be well soaked. Shaven heads gleamed in thesunlight and, as the day progressed, gradually becamesun-reddened. Small acolytes, newly joined to the lama-sery, leaped about in a frenzy of excitement as theypounded their robes with big smooth stones that theyshould look older, more worn, and so give the impressionthat the wearer had been an acolyte longer!Occasionally the sun would reflect bright shafts of lightfrom the golden robes of some august lama journeyingbetween the Potala and the Pargo Kaling. Most of them2

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