There was nothing pompously about the Master. Wild, hilarious laughter prevailed each time he spoke, to the dismay of those who were solemn about their spirituality, and themselves.
Said one disillusioned visitor, “The man’s a clown!”
“No, no,” said a disciple. “You’ve missed the point: a clown gets you to laugh at him, a Master gets you to laugh at yourself.”
Source | Anthony de Mello, One Minute Nonsense,
(Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, 1992) Chapter 35
Published in the USA as Awakening: Conversations with the Masters,
(Image, 2003) Chapter 35
“If you can laugh at yourself, you can forgive yourself and if you can forgive yourself, you can forgive others.” | Susan Sparks, an ex-lawyer turned comedian and Baptist minister
“We can never truly learn to laugh at ourselves until we learn to accept the things about ourselves that are either impossible or impractical to be changed.” | Jeanne Robertson, humorists
An aging master grew tired of his apprentice complaining, and so, one morning, sent him for some salt. When the apprentice returned, the master instructed the unhappy young man to put a handful of salt in a glass of water and then to drink it. “How does it taste?” the master asked.
“Bitter” spit the apprentice.
The master chuckled and then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt and put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to the nearby lake, and once the apprentice swirled his handful of salt in the water, the old man said, “Now drink from the lake.”
As the water dripped down the young man’s chin, the master asked, “How does it taste?” “Fresh,” remarked the apprentice. “Do you taste the salt?” asked the master. “No,” said the young man.
At this, the master sat beside this serious young man who so reminded him of himself and took his hands, offering, “The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains the same, exactly the same. But the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things …. stop being a glass. Become a lake.”
Source | A Hindu parable as told by
Mark Nepo in The Book of Awakening
(Conari Press, 2011) pages 17-18
“The more spacious and larger our fundamental nature, the more bearable the pains in living.” | Wayne Muller
When the Master was a boy at school, a classmate treated him with persistent cruelty.
Now, older and contrite, he came to the monastery and was received with open arms.
One day he brought up the subject of his former cruelty, but the Master seemed not to recall it.
Said the visitor, “Don’t you remember?”
Said the Master, “I distinctly remember forgetting it!” so they both melted innocent laughter.
Source | Anthony de Mello SJ
Awakening: Conversations with the Masters
(Image, 2003) # 66
What do you distinctly remember forgetting, thus making space for deeper and more authentic connections and relationships?
The master asked his disciples: “how do we know when the night is over and the day has arrived?”
And the disciples pondered the master’s question.
One answered: “Master night is over and day arrives, when you can see a house in the distance and determine if that’s your house or the house of your neighbour.”
Another disciple responded: “Night is over and day arrives when you can see an animal in the field and determine if it belongs to you or to your neighbour.”
A third disciple offered: “Night is over and day has arrived when you can see a flower in the garden and distinguish its colour.”
“No, no, no,” thundered the master. “Why must you see only in separations, only in distinctions, only in disjunctions. No. Night is over and day arrives when you look into the face of the person beside you and you can see that she is your sister, he is your brother, That you belong to each other. That you are one. Then, and only then, will you know that night has ended and day has arrived.”
Source | unknown
If you didn’t know the master’s answer, and if you happened to be one of the eager disciples how would you answer the question: “how do we know when the night is over and the day has arrived?”
A rabbi asked his students, “When is it at dawn that one can tell the light from the darkness?”
One student replied, “When I can tell a goat from a donkey.”
“No,” answered the rabbi.
Another said, “When I can tell a palm tree from a fig.”
“No,” answered the rabbi again.
“Well, then what is the answer?” his students pressed him.
“Only when you look into the face of every man and every woman and see your brother and your sister,” said the rabbi. “Only then have you seen the light. All else is still darkness.”
Source | Johann Christoph Arnold, Seeking Peace
(Plume, 2000) page 103
“We can’t go around measuring our goodness by what we don’t do by what we deny ourselves, what we resist and who we exclude. I think we’ve got to measure goodness by what we embrace, what we create and who we include.” | from the ‘Chocolat’
Who is it that you are still excluding from the circle of your compassion?
The master gave his teaching in parables and stories, which his disciples listened to with pleasure – and occasional frustration, for they longed for something deeper.
The master was unmoved. To all their objections he would say, “You have yet to understand that the shortest distance between a human being and Truth is a story.”
Source | Anthony de Mello, One Minute Wisdom,
(Doubleday, 1986) page. 23
PONDER AND CONSIDER
- The shortest distance between a human being and Truth is a story
The master asks the disciple, “What have you come here for?”
The disciple says, “Moksha.” Moksha is the Sanskrit word for “freedom.” “I’ve come for freedom.”
“Oh freedom,” says the master. “Go and find out who has bound you.”
The disciple goes back and meditates for a week, returns to the master and says, “No one has bound me.”
“Then, what do you want freedom for?” says the master. And in that very instant the disciple’s eyes are open and he attains freedom. He attains liberation.