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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Time and time again

As Bro. Juniper mentioned to me, Gordon Hu did not return to the monastery, and this has led to a bit of speculation, but what I find more of interest is the various comments at the break fast table. Granted, Gordon Hu stay was short, yet listening to all the brothers tell their various personal vignettes of their encounters and chats with Gordon Hu, if I didn't know otherwise, I would have concluded his stay was of a much longer duration. My personal encounters, if someone happened to ask, I would more than likely say that I enjoyed hours of conversation with Gordon Hu, yet now that I contemplate the actual time spent, the longest was when he set up his new hammock for a "test run" as he said, and as we both viewed a very busy mother sparrow zipping from nest to places unknown, we chatted about a host of things, but if I were to carefully consider the exact amount of time spent, I would have to confess that the "test run" was well under an hour. But again, it now seems as though we chatted for half a day! Bro. Juniper had a similar testimony, at first he thought he had many long strolls about the monastery ground with Gordon Hu, the totality of which he thought were many hours, yet upon careful consideration he concluded that he had six strolls, and each lasted no more than 15 minutes. Less than an hour and a half, yet he 'feels' the encounters could only be measured in hours and days. Again and again I listened to stories of short encounters that were remembered as long and focused. Bro. Clarence said he now had a grasp of the 'Five Canons' and no longer considers the 'Book of Changes' as a bit of hocus pocus, while Bro. Timothy said he now has a grasp of the Analects, and Bro. Simon was so taken by the moment that he stood and said, "Confucius said, 'At fifteen my mind was set on learning. At thirty my character had been formed. At forty I had no more perplexities. At fifty I knew the Mandate of Heaven. At sixty I was at ease with whatever I heard. At seventy I could follow my heart's desire without transgressing moral principles."

With that I think it dawned on all of us that time isn't the 'big hand' on the clock that continues to tick away as though 'it' were the essence.

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