The Medallion

A lot of interesting things happened in Kuala Lumpur yesterday at the peace negotiations between the Government and the MILF. The effect on me was to find myself having coffee and conversations with the ghosts of two mentors who, while might have lived centuries apart, are actually near each other in perspective.

The first one reminded me “life is difficult”.  He calls it the first noble truth (perhaps to make it sound important so that I won’t miss the lesson). The secret, he said, is not trying to make life undifficult but to go through it without suffering. Well, whatever that means, it sounded philosophical enough, enough for me to begin looking for a Banyan tree and ruminate on those words.

The other one, the more contemporary one, said to me, in a cadence reminiscent of the marches of the great Imperial armies: “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” Such a logical progression of emotions, I said ironically. Luke, is that you?

So I ask them: How does one escape the pattern of fear, anger, hate and suffering? They shrugged their shoulders and said:  “We don’t know.” I protested and said that they have not been of great help. To console me, they told me a story:

A mother could not get her son to

Come home before sunset. So she told

him that the road to their house was

haunted by ghosts who came after dusk.

By the time the boy grew up he was so afraid

of ghosts that he refused to run errands at night.

To solve this, the mother gave the boy a medallion

 and said it would protect him from ghosts.

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