Monday, March 19, 2012

Post One Hundred and Forty Five: The Swan And The Holy Man.

I found a dead swan. In the middle of the road. In the middle of nowhere. On the way to a funeral. Maybe there's a message from the universe in the experience. Maybe.

I met with the Dalai Lama a couple of years ago, as the result of a random successful scholarship application whilst studying Eastern Religion at university. A true scholar I was not, but I found a way of picking elective classes that would boost my GPA while allowing me ample social time for boozing and sinning in ways that a 20 year old should. I wrote a pretty questionable essay on Vipassana Meditation which was pretty much just 3000 words on acting stoned when you're not. I got a 'high' distinction.

Anyway, I sent the essay in to the Dalai Lama and his gang. With it I wrote a note saying that I wanted to say g'day during his visit to Sydney but I had no money for tickets. I outlined that I enjoyed reading Buddhist scripture and was disheartened by the reality that a financial hurdle could stand in the way of enlightenment. Two weeks later I received a letter of acceptance into a scholars program and was flown to Sydney for a three day intensive. It was intensively boring, as half of the day was spoken in another language, but it was a special experience none the less.

Ever since then I have felt a connection with Buddhist monks. They are happy, they wear cool gown things, and they walk a 'middle path.' This basically means that anything goes in the loveliest of moderations. Some might see it as fence sitting, but I like to apply the middle path principle to remain impassive to trends and exaggerations. Being in the moment and finding calm in impermanence; these principles are woven deep into my personality like syrup on a pancake.

There is a point to this whole Buddhism thing. I was driving a Monk to this funeral when we saw the swan, neck limp and curled around like a cold hard question mark. If I was alone I would have stopped to move the body off the road. Instead I let out a drawn out  'ooooofph' sound, and I caught the monks placid response in the rear vision mirror. I continued on, slowly, thinking about both the swan and my passenger. I didn't know whether to talk about it or if the conversation would be deemed as inappropriate on the way to a funeral. The monk sensed that I was ruminating, because after a short moment he smiled and followed with "Death is a strange field for a young lady to be working in...."



1 comment:

  1. I only have to look at a smiling Buddha and I feel happy and calm.If we all lived by way of being kind to all living things and their acceptance of death we would all be happier Im sure.Finding calm in that.Sarah have you considered going on Twitter as you have so much variety in your life on a daily basis you would always have something to say.Hope you do.Also I hope your new life journey is giving you contentment, fulfilment and happiness x