enlightenment for dummies

"How do I become enlightened?" asked the Student of his aged Guru, a gnarled and wizened personage of indeterminate gender.

Sitting in padmasanam on top of a large boulder, on top of a high mountain, at first the nut-brown gnarly one treated the question with the stupefied silence it deserved. But the Student persisted, much to the Guru's disgust and annoyance. Still the nut-brown made no answer, having many decades previously come to the realisation that the need to ask about enlightenment reflects the lack of it. Still the Student persisted, until the Mastress' patience and forbearance evaporated, and ze quoth unto the Student, saying "if you want to know how to become enlightened, leave now, and ask that question of the next six people you meet from this moment on."

Dissatisfied and mumbling imprecations under his breath the Student took leave of the Guru and made his stumbling way down from the top of the mountain. At the foot of the mountain, he set his feet toward the dwelling place of his aged parents. On his way home he came across an old woman sitting in the shade of a cinnabar tree.

"How do I become enlightened?" the Student asked without even so much as a how-do-you-do.

"Get lost asshole!," replied the old woman. And that is exactly what the Student did next---he deliberately chose a path along which he had never travelled, and after some time wandering through the foothills, became absolutely, totally, lost.

The next person he met was a short and rather chubby man, with a twinkle in his eye and mischief in his heart. The chubby man was sitting on a blanket in the middle of which was a large picnic basket. Behind the chubby man was a fork in the road and a signpost with two signs posted. On the sign pointing to the sinister way, was painted the message: "Certain Death: 1 mile. Don't go there". On the sign pointing in a dexterous way was painted the message, "Enlightenment: 1 mile. Welcome Seeker.".

The Student's spirits soared. At last, he was getting close to his goal. Just one mile more. But then, a gust of wind swept through and the signpost swivelled so that the Enlightenment sign pointed to the sinister way, and the Certain Death sign pointed in a dexterous way.

"How do I become enlightened?" asked the Student of the chubby man. "Which way do I take to reach enlightenment?"

"Oh, don't ask me," replied the chubby man, Theosoph, a metaphysicist. "I don't answer questions. But I'll make a statement which does not respond directly to your question, and hence can not be considered an answer. You can never become enlightened, for one thing, you're just too rude. For another, becoming becomes you not. If you were to become enlightened, or were to become anything for that matter, then you would not be you, because you are unenlightened, and you are nothing. You cannot not be you, so therefore you can never be enlightened. Oh, don't look so cross and evilly at me through your slitty little Student eyes. Why not stay and have some lunch," he indicated the picnic basket, "my family will be along shortly and they would love to meet and eat you."

The Student accepted the invitation and sat himself down on the blanket.

Soon a teenage boy, Ragnarok, a cruel and disturbing lad, and Darla, a pretty little woman in a pink blouse, came along. "Aha, finally," said Theosoph, "allow me to introduce my dear wife, Darla, and my son, Ragnarok. Perhaps one or both may be able to answer your questions. But a note of caution: one is an inveterate liar. And the other always tells the truth. I don't want to tell you which is which because the liar would get very angry with me. Ze doesn't like zer liarhood out in the open, so to speak. And one last thing, I'm hungry, and this picnic won't eat itself you know. So you get just one question, before lunch. And afterwards we'll see what we will see."

The Student wracked and wrecked his brains. After a while, his eyes lit up, and a smile crossed his face: he had figured out a suitable strategy. Indicating the sinister way, the Student addressed his question to Ragnarok. "If I were to ask your mother if this way on my left is the way to enlightenment, what would she say?"

"Oh very good!" said Theosoph cheerily, clapping his pudgy little hands together.

Ragnarok thought for a short while, then grunted his reply, a nasty smirk on his lying lips: "She would say 'No'!"

"Well then," said the Student, "that is the way I will go, for two wrongs do make a right sometimes!"

And off he went, a song in his heart, prancing and dancing down the sinister way.

Not forty seconds after leaving Theosoph and his family to enjoy their picnic, the Student encountered the Guru, gnarled and brown as ever, on zer way to the village to buy some brown rice.

"Not you again," the Guru said crossly.

"Mastress!" exclaimed the Student. "You are the sixth person I have met today. How do I become enlightened?"

"Oh get back up that fucking mountain and wash my spare loincloth, fool," replied the Guru, a look of resignation upon zer creased face.

Copyright © S R Schwarz 2007. All rights reserved.

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