Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Realm of Peace

The seeker was inspired and enraptured by the teacher's words:
I wonder if that would happen if we saw the whole significance of the problem? We might not live according to the usual pattern, but we would live creatively and happily, with a wholly different out look. Such a state cannot be brought about if we accept the present social pattern as inevitable. But to get back to your point: do ambition, competition and conflict constitute a predestined and inevitable way of life? You evidently assume that they do. 
Since you are maintaining this competitive way of life, your children and your children's children will bread further antagonism, envy and war; neither you nor they will have peace. Having been conditioned to this traditional pattern of existence, you are in turn educating your children to accept it; so the world goes on in this sorrowful way.
The seeker was convinced that living competitively was not a recipe for happiness.  That competition was a form of warfare, and was untenable for a man of peace.  That it was evil.

The seeker decided not to compete as he lived his life.

It was not easy.

The seeker never won an election.  Nor an auction.  The seeker never negotiated the terms of his loans.  He got a house which was facing a sewage pit while others got houses which were facing a pleasant lake.  He wanted to get married and eventually married a woman who couldn't see her own toes.  His children didn't get admission in a good school, which was in demand, and he was content to have them enrolled in the local school full of rowdies and drug users.  When visiting a doctor, he waited the longest while others jumped the queue and pleaded with him to let them see the doctor first.  At the cinema hall he was content to sit in the first row, squinting at the screen.

Such was his life for many years.  And he suffered.  But he was content that at least inwardly he was living the life that he held proper.

But doubts crept into his soul.  He wondered why he kept on suffering.  If his way was the way of peace, why did the Gods not bless him with a pleasant life?  He decided to pay another visit to the charismatic teacher.  As he boarded the aircraft, he realized that he had been allocated a middle seat toward the back of the plane.  To catch his connecting flight, he had to run like a madman but missed it because it was overbooked.  He waited and was put on a late night flight to his destination.

He arrived at the monastery, bleary eyed and exhausted from the journey.  The teacher lived in a mansion in a remote, picturesque valley on a piece of land donated by one of his wealthy followers.

He patiently waited for the teacher to come out.  But there were many other visitors, and they had appointments.  His turn did not come till the evening.

He kept waiting.  But impatience was troubling him today.

Finally he had his chance, and after everybody else had left, the teacher faced him.  He bowed to his ancient teacher, who was resplendently dressed in a white robe and with a heavy voice asked his question, using words that he had chosen carefully and with precision: "If competition is evil, and the world is competitive, where does a man go who does not wish to lead an evil life?"

The teacher looked at him lovingly, with compassion, and simply said:
I have found the answer to all this, not in the world but away from it.
That was all the teacher said.  The teacher then left the visitors' room and retired into his mansion.  The seeker did not understand but stood up to leave.  He was confused and still tired.  His head was aching badly.  As he stood up his phone fell out of his pocket onto the floor.  He picked it up.

The glass screen had shattered, the background image on the phone of the snow-clad mountains was now a blur, but the phone was still alive.  There were five missed calls from his wife.  He cursed loudly for he knew she needed money to pay the rent which had been recently hiked by the landlord due to increased demand in their area.  She needed money: money which he did not have.  Agonized, he suddenly felt a pain in his chest and clutched his heart.

As he dropped to his death, he was finally at peace.