October 4th, 2006

learning

Then again, there is this...

I’m in Tri-Citys, Tennessee and have worked 31.5 hours over the past two days. I also found time to write this. It’s not exactly what I wanted to do with the concept of giant buttprints, but it’s a start.

I had been in A____ for three months when Amad took me to see the seat of a bodhisattva. In the sandy courtyard of a school, in front of an unused doorway, there were two oval indentations surrounded by offerings of wild flowers and pencils bound in red ribbon.

This is where he sat after being denied entrance to the school. At first he followed the lessons he could hear through the open windows, using the doorstep as a desk. Gradually, however, he stopped listening and started meditating on what he had learned.

He stopped going home at night, sleeping instead in the doorway, meditating for hours after the students left for the day.

The third year, they say he stopped accepting food from the students, living only on water.

The fifth year, he rejected both water and sleep, sitting up chanting day and night. The students had long gathered around him, seeking wisdom. Now, the teachers joined them, watching for any trickery, shamed by this outcast’s dedication to contemplation.

The seventh year, he arose, complained of the noise, and walked out of the courtyard. The few witnesses were to stunned to follow. He was never seen again.

His disciples believe that he will return, once he has resolved all questions. They gather in the doorway to discuss their lessons, leaving offerings for his return.

The schoolmaster himself, a lama of the Floating Island School, sweeps clear the doorstep and buttock prints every morning before prayers.

Young students scrape up handfuls of dust from the seat, for luck during their examinations. One day, no doubt, the ever expanding hole will be taken as proof that he was a giant, rather than an underfed child seeking enlightenment.