Lama Sing Radio
We invite you to sit back and listen to a short story told by Lama Sing, a new story every month.
RADIO FEATURE: October – Illusions & the River of Life
“We have a holy man, a prophet, and two of his students, you might call them, seated comfortably by the very edge of a small, swift-flowing stream. The prophet is in meditation observing the passing waters. …”
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Lama Sing Radio – October: Illusions and the River of Life
We have a holy man, a prophet, and two of his students, you might call them, seated comfortably by the very edge of a small, swift-flowing stream. The prophet is in meditation observing the passing waters. Dutifully silent, one to the left and one to the right of the prophet, the adepts are in a like manner following his guidance, his example, and are also gazing intently upon the moving water in silent prayer.
The one on the left reflects, thinking, “How melodiously is the sound of the gentle passage of this water down over the fall of rocks and pebbles, and how majestically does it sing out of the wonders of God.”
To the right of the holy man, this adept thinks, “I see here, as in life, a small leaf as it comes from above like from God, flowing slowly, softly, gently before my eyes. And then moving to the other extremity of my vision and periphery, it passes from sight. This must be the lesson my teacher intends for me: that I am as this passing leaf upon the stream of life.”
The prophet, intuiting the thoughts and actions and reactions of his disciples, softly speaks. “Take your bowls and scoop from the stream a full container of its water.”
Reaching within their robes, each in their own manner gently dips the food bowl carried on their personage into the water. Gently lifting it up, filled brim full, they now turn patiently to their teacher.
Still looking as though almost a part of the movement of the stream, the prophet states softly, “Do you have in your bowl the stream? A portion thereof? Or merely a bowl of water?”
Reflecting for an appropriate period of time, the one on the left speaks first. “Master, I perceive this to be a part of the All, as the water in my bowl being symbolically as I. Taken from the River of Life, or the Spirit of God, which flows through all, I must therefore have in my bowl the stream, that portion which is now mine for so long as I hold it in this bowl.”
Still gazing placidly at the water, the teacher nods softly and smiles gently. “Good.”
And, after a passage of time, the disciple to the right speaks. “Master, as I look into this bowl now filled with water, I see and hear the River of Life. I see in the waters therein the potential for me to pause the stream’s flow for so long as I am capable or willful to halt its progress — just so as I can, now seated here beside you, halt for a moment or two the progress of my very life.”
Again, nodding and smiling softly, the teacher comments, “These are good observations. Excellent, in fact. You have gained much. But glance if you will again at the stream and tell me now, as you glance from the stream to the bowl of water in your hands, what are your thoughts, and what do you perceive?”
Puzzled, both of the adepts attempt to clear themselves, that they can gain in the sense of the intent of their beloved teacher.
And after a dutiful and somewhat laborious effort, with a note of loving humor, on the part of both adepts, the teacher responds. “If you labor at recognizing the difference between the bowl of water in your hand and the stream from whence you have taken it, then that labor places a barrier between you and the realization of truth in what is being offered to you. To fully understand what I am stating to you, put the water back.”
To which the disciples place the water gently, ever so gently, back into the stream as though it were, in and of itself, something sacred.
“Observe your bowls of water as they now move away from you.”
Both attempt to follow as he has instructed and strain to the point, where one nearly falls into the stream attempting to transfix his eye upon an imaginary spot on the stream’s surface.
A little chuckling sound comes from the prophet as he states, “Why do you allow yourself to follow what you think to be your bowl of water. Why do you not look down to the stream where you have so gently and appropriately replaced it from whence it came?”
Again somewhat puzzled, the two adepts look quickly from one to the other and back down to the water.
And finally one speaks. “But Master, that water which we had in our bowls has moved with this stream and is now far down below us on the hillside.”
The teacher turns to the other and states, “Is this your perception as well?”
“Yes, my teacher, I must agree. My bowl of water is perhaps nourishing some life further beyond us, even as we speak.”
Without a word, the teacher reaches out and takes the bowl from each of the disciple’s hands, softly extracts two more bowls of water without glancing at them, hands one to each. Whereupon we find them seated again just as they were moments ago. “Then tell me how it is that you know that these are not your bowls of water?”
In that moment the disciples realize that whatever might flow through the stream before them, it is indistinguishable — this bowl from the previous and from the next. In fact, that the stream and the waters thereof are not only contiguous, in the sense of being continually flowing, but so much in the sense of uniformity, alike that there is, in truth, no differentiation between one bowl of water and another.
Recognizing their realization, the teacher quickly reaches down and grabs two small pebbles, stones, and drops one in each bowl. “Now tell me, has the stream changed?”
Again, the disciple to the right states, “Yes, it has changed, and no it has not. For the stream before me also has pebbles as does my bowl of water now have a pebble in it.”
The one on the left, almost as though an echo, states, “Yes, I believe this to be so. The stream is still in my bowl and even moreso now perhaps because the pebble in my bowl is alike with that in the stream.”
The teacher answers them,“Give the stream back its water, but retain the pebbles. Place them in your robe and carry them with you forevermore. And from time to time, take them forth and compare them. And if you see them to be as identical as two bowls of water, then we must return here a thousand times until you know them to be different. For in the River of Life, the Spirit of Truth is pure and one. But we are each one as these pebbles in the stream of Life: No two precisely alike, each one a bit unique from the other; but, together, we form the bed upon which those life-giving waters of spirit can flow.
“But if we believe ourselves to be one and the same, then we have lost that very gift that the River of Life has intended for us.
“Your Uniqueness must always be thought of as precious. And so, let the pebble in your robe ever remind you of this, lest you forget and lose the River of Life as the result.”
And so we find in this small tale the example of one entity’s perspective of life itself being measured by the interpretation of the beholder. In other words, if you are in your daily life trying to find a stream of water, is it not in the bowl which you draw from the tap in your abode? Is that not one and the same as the bowl of water taken by the adept from this mountain stream?
No matter how mankind might treat this water — put chemicals in same, run through pipes, aerate it — it is still the same, is it not?
Then how can it be in your daily life that you can perceive so much of that life as being apart from its Source?
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19920804 Illusions and the River of Life