Martyn and amusing astrology
Do not be afraid of beasts, but friends — as the beast will wound your body, but a friend will wound your soul.
When I was in the U.K. at Martуn’s home for a holiday, Martyn took me sightseeing, as a good host should. We went to Stonehenge in Martyn’s car.
There, a guide told us the history of Stonehenge. He said that the Druids built it in such a way that they could, by counting, define on which days the summer and winter solstices were to occur. It helped them in farming. We liked the atmosphere and the environment there, so we decided to go there once again at night. We stayed in a nearby hotel especially for that purpose. At midnight, we arrived at Stonehenge and began to imagine how the ancient Druids would have prayed there. It was a beautiful full moon night.
Just then a real horror began! First of all, some large flying bodies that looked like flying witches darkened the moon. I regretted coming there and the fact that I didn’t ask the guide when the nearest witch’s Sabbath was going to happen. Those black shadows came noiselessly and circled in front of us. Then we could see they were only big bats! We laughed at our cowardice until we saw that a strange procession was coming slowly toward us from behind Stonehenge. There were a dozen figures. Each one wore a long white robe and a hood that covered his head. They might have been the spirits of dead astronomers and it was incredible to see black holes inside their hoods! We could do only one thing-hide. The ghostly Druids stood in the center of the stone circle and began to perform incomprehensible rituals.
We held our breath while watching such strange things. But at that moment I dropped my torch and it started rolling on the ground making a loud noise. Those ghostly Druids quickly caught us and tied us to a rock. As they surrounded us with dry firewood, we had no doubt about their plans. When some of them came up to us with fire, I saw all my life passing before my eyes like a movie. I prayed for a painless death. Next I heard an inhuman scream, which pierced my skull, and suddenly I realized that it was I who had produced it. Only the silent night answered. Yet the stone-giants were watching it all from their massive heights.
The Druid leader wanted to make the killing official, so before lighting the fire, he asked our names and birthplaces in an ancient language, which was difficult to understand. We answered with hesitation. I didn’t seem to attract much of their attention, but the fact that Martyn was from Wales excited that ghostly crow. Next, the head Druid asked Martyn his family name. “Oakey”, he answered and an emotional storm surged through the crowd upon finding out that Martyn was a part of their sacred clan. Then the leader restored silence by waving a sleeve of his robe and said, “Everyone who sees this secret ritual must die, even if he is a descendant of our sacred clan”. Martyn very quietly asked,“Please let us know what we have seen because after all, you are going to kill us and it won’t harm anybody if we would know”. The leader answered, “Every two months, we astronomers, Welshmen’s spirits from ancient times, gather here as we did when we were alive, to define the dates for the lunar and solar eclipses. This great accomplishment gives us a true forecasters authority!” Martyn was surprised, saying, “Why? Everybody knows how to find the dates of eclipses for this decade, even children”. The leader got angry, and said, “You brazen liar”, and then he added, “Fine, then let him try to tell us the dates for the nearest solar and lunar eclipses and then we will compare them with our readings”.
I realized that we were in a dangerous situation because although we could find the date for the nearest eclipse in any almanac in the daytime, being there in Stonehenge in the middle of the night without having any almanac with us, had us trapped. “If you want to hear our predictions, you must untie my hands,” said Martyn. They weren’t too enthusiastic about doing that, but reluctantly they cut the old ropes from Martyn’s wrists. Then Martyn pulled out of his pocket a daily almanac for amateurs, which he had put there by chance, when we were at our hotel. How could I have forgotten about it? Martyn leafed through it and told them the times of the next solar and lunar eclipses. The oldest person among them was hunch-backed and short. He began to count by looking at knots in a rope, which was tied to his belt. “Both dates are right!” he said. They all cried out in surprise and distress. They were overcome by sadness. “If it’s not a secret anymore, there is no need for us to remain its keepers,” the leader said and disappeared in the night sky like a rainbow. The others followed him.
As for us, we didn’t need much time to leave that mysterious place. After this happened, Martyn wrote a scientific dissertation on the founders of Stonehenge and their purpose for building it. He passed his doctorate in history and pale-astronomy and won the prestigious Longman/History Today prize “For an outstanding first book by a scholar in the field of history”. Indisputably, his sacred clan’s spirits were very happy for his luck and certainly, so were I!
It is ridiculous to think that somebody else can make you happy or unhappy.
Many different things happen in our lives, sometimes very funny. One of these things happened in a small town in Holland. The town’s residents really liked their fresh soft cheese. A factory made it but two different farms supplied the milk. They had the same number of excellent Dutch cows with creamy milk. These competing farms agreed that the one that produced more milk each day had better cows, so that farm would supply the milk for the cheese, or that the farmer’s name would be put on the cheese’s packing.
The whole town became divided into parts; every one preferred one or other farm’s cheese. If the favorite cheese had been selling, its fans were happy and gloated over other farm’s cheese. Sometimes some married couples supported different groups. Life in the town came to revolve around the cheese. The most important news in the morning was which cheese had been sold. The town had the highest consumption of cheese in the world and had more cheese shops than any other town. The cheese became renowned throughout the world. Everything was fine until one of the farms suggested the rules to be changed. The cheese was to be made from the milk of the farm, which produced less milk. The other farm agreed. What do you think happened the next morning? Not even one piece of fresh cheese appeared in the town’s shops. The cheese factory stopped working because fresh milk never came in. The farms produced not even one glass of milk; the cows got sick, as they were not milked. The town was gripped by panic and people lost their living and became unemployed, and came out into the streets protesting and demanding that the local authorities find a way out of the crisis. The town’s Mayor put pressure on the owners of the farms, but he was not successful and was so ashamed that he had to resign. Neither persuasion nor orders could make the obstinate farm-owners change their minds. The owners were adamant in their convictions that the cows of their opponents were better and that they would not give up their positions.
The Prime Minister of Holland, Herr Kok offered some cheese from the government store but no one would eat this cheese. Neighboring area residents attempted a charity scheme, and went out to gather milk but this cheese was not so good. High school children went on hunger strikes to try to force the owners to start producing milk again. But even this didn’t change the owners’ minds. The crisis reached international level and a delegation arrived from UN but their reasoning was of no help. The European Union became very concerned about the stability of food production in Europe, they tried to bribe the owners but with no success. After a week, it seemed that no one could unravel this Gordian knot.
At the same time, by chance, in this town, there was a young girl called Kristel, who was born in Holland. At this time was visiting her motherland from the State of Karnataka, South India where she was an English teacher to the Tibetan Monks in Drepung Gomang Monastery. She quickly understood the situation because in her free time she had studied the Tibetan language and Tibetan Buddhist Philosophy, which by its logic provided such dilemmas. She said, “It’s simple”. And then she gave a three-word phrase to the farm-owners that followed her advice and were able to resolve the problem. The cows of which farm produced less milk brought success to their owner.
What was the mysterious phrase, thanks to which the town’s inhabitants were finally able to resume making the precious cheese? Out of gratitude and in Kristel’s honor the inhabitants of the town installed a monument representing the attributes of the Buddha of Wisdom, under which the delegation from the UN carved the words uttered by Kristel. If you want to know that phrase you should begin to study Buddhist logic or visit the town. If you come to the town, the residents will show you this important monument, which is in the center of the town and you will be able to read that phrase and of course try the best cheese in the world.
If you can’t visit the town or study Buddhist logic I would like to tell you that the words are “exchange the cows”. When the farm-owners followed this advice then each farm endeavored to produce more milk because that way their own cows producing less milk would of course, make them the winner.
Brave Kathryn and Yetis
A good friend who points out mistakes and imperfections and rebukes evil is to be respected as if he reveals a secret of hidden treasure.
You all, of course, know very well about Joan of Arc. You think girls as brave as she aren’t around now. You are wrong! I met one last year. I was in Tibet in the students group, which went for a pilgrimage around the famous places. We were 24 students from different countries. Among them was Kathryn from Colorado. We had good equipment and went in six jeeps, “Landcruisers”. We began our journey from Lhasa, the capital of the top of the world. First of all, we decided to go to the Great Kailash. If you were to go to Tibet, you would see how beautiful the surrounding mountains are and how the white summits disappear in the clouds. Our driver was Tenzin, a local, who joked a lot and every morning prayed to his Bonpo Gods. Suzan, an American student also went with us. We circled clockwise, as is the Buddhist custom around Great Kailash and took many photos. Then we started to go back to Lhasa, just then our driver suddenly said, “If you would like, we can see the UFO, which crashed ten years ago and fell from the sky onto a yak’s pasture”. It was a nice chance for Kathryn to win 100 thousand dollars for the best photo of the year in National Geographic. We decided to make a detour and went to see this strange object. Kathryn had her camera, a Nikon (N90S), which she borrowed from her university, but she wanted to buy her own, made by Leica. It was very expensive. She also wanted to travel around the world and see everything with her own eyes and take photos. Those two dreams could come true if she won the prize. After a full day went by on a bad road, we arrived and only saw fragments of the space ship, Apollo so we were definitely disappointed. But our bad luck didn’t finish there. Our jeep broke down and we had to go on foot to the yak’s pasture hoping to meet herdsmen from Tenzin’s motherland. It took 5 days. We packed only very important things: water and food for two day, hoping to find the rest on the way. Kathryn took her camera and films. Suzan took her liking coffee. Then Tenzin confidently led us the direct way. At first it was wonderful going on Tibet’s green grass, we saw White Lipped and Musk deer. An amusing Mouse Hare went across the path on funny fat feet and the entire world seemed beautiful and charming. We could only envy Tenzin’s compatriots who were from the Shungpa Matsen Tribe, how they lived in this amazing place. It was probably unique in the world. We didn’t worry until we finished our food. After that, we decided to try to eat roots, but we couldn’t. We started to hallucinate because we went for a few days without enough rest and breathed clean air, and we went for 2 days without any food. First we saw under the mountain a big owl with a snake in its beak, and then we saw a big snake with horns standing in a lake. When the fourth day was finished we went by a beaten track and saw a spring with cold water and we began to drink.
Suddenly, behind us somebody shouted with a horrible cry. We stood up and could see a big shaggy animal that looked like a big monkey but it didn’t have any tail and had a flat face.
That monster tracked us but a tree fell on his foot and trapped it. It tried to release himself using his very muscular hands but he couldn’t. Tenzin said, “That is Mirgod-Tibetan Yeti. He is intelligent and he is very dangerous for people, so we must escape”. When we saw this mix of man and monkey his cry became a plaintive squeal and he stopped trying to escape. Kathryn suddenly grabbed a wood lever and started to pick lift up one end of the tree. Then Kathryn and the snowman slowly began to move the tree and released his leg. We were afraid for Kathryn, because he had big white teeth and they probably were very sharp, but then he jumped behind a big rock and disappeared. We didn’t want to try our luck, so we went far away and remembered the snowman with disappointment, because we forgot to take photos. The next night passed quietly. We made a campfire and stood guard in turns with a wooden cudgel.
The following day we continued along. In the afternoon we rested. We were very tired so we fell down and slept hungry. When we woke up we couldn’t find Kathryn and her camera, so we thought she had gone to take photos. After an hour of waiting we saw her coming with a torn shirt. We asked, “What happened?” She said this morning she noticed a Yeti following us and when we slept she went after him. He was absolutely peaceful and she made friends with him, so she named him Ben. Then she invited him to come with her to the camp but he refused by signs and sounds. The she tended to his leg and bandaged it with her shirt. We didn’t believe her and thought she again had had a hallucination, so we decided to look after her carefully. But a great disappointment awaited us in the empty house on the yak’s pasture; it had been abandoned about one month before. Tenzin said, “The way to my home directly through the ravine is only a one day-walk, but this path isn’t used because a big Yeti, much bigger and worse than the one we saw before, lives there. He attacks the passing nomads and kills them. A few hunters have tried to kill him but none came back alive. When we asked a Bonpo priest, ‘What should we do?’ he answered, ‘Only a foreign girl with brown eyes and a birth-mark under her right eye can liberate the ravine from the demon’. So now we use the mountain road and must walk for a whole week”. It was a hopeless situation because we didn’t have any food for a long way. We looked for a long time at our friend’s eyes and waited until someone could find a way out. Then Tenzin unexpectedly said, “Yes it is she, she!” and pointed at Kathryn’s birthmark, “It’s exactly she, the girl our priest saw”. Kathryn was categorically against it. Suzan and I refrained from that debate because we only wondered if that could help us. After a long time, Tenzin persuaded Kathryn that the short path through the ravine was the only right way out. We set off for the ravine immediately.
When we got nearer to the ravine, we could see many animal and human bones. Then we heard something like a dragon’s bellow. We couldn’t imagine how big the animal was that could roar like that. When the path became unsafe, we decided to stop. We looked at Kathryn, but what could she, that fragile, weaponless girl, do against this monster? Our choice seemed more and more hopeless, but Kathryn was brave and said, “I want to go nearer and see everything”. We had no choice other than to follow her. On the path we saw a big tree to show which part was owned by the Yeti, and we saw clawmarks at the level of around 3,5 meters. We came near to the Yeti’s cave behind the rocks. We decided to look at the cave’s exit and didn’t have to wait for long before he appeared clumsily on his back paws, his long hands reaching to his knees and his height was about 3 meters. He looked like a mix of a very big bear and man. All his body was hairy except for his face and palms. He probably was going to hunt but he suddenly stood and began to smell the air, then growled and ran in our direction. With horror we ran away. After we had run far enough away, we discovered that Kathryn was absent. We waited, hoping for her return. I didn’t think of ourselves as cowards, but none wanted to go back and look for our friend. We waited the whole night, having horrible dreams, sometimes sharply waking up with fear, as if the monster still pursued us. In the morning Kathryn still hadn’t come and we had less hope of seeing her. In the afternoon, we again heard a roar and another strange roar was repeated louder. This roaring didn’t stop and unseen rivals shouted in turns. The atmosphere around us became hot and we felt something very important was happening, probably connected with our destiny. Then one voice only could be heard and there was only one victor.
Then arrived a smug and smiling Kathryn. We were confused by her story about her adventures since yesterday. When she escaped with us she appeared to have run the wrong way and came to a cul-de-sac where she couldn’t find an exit. She wandered around in that big labyrinth between the rocks until her friend Ben came and he led her out of the trap. Then she decided to explain to him that we needed to go through the ravine but the big Yeti wouldn’t allow us. He understood everything and began to contemplate, finally thinking of how to deceive a stronger enemy.
First of all, in the morning they went to a tree and Ben, who was light and quick, climbed in to a tree which his enemy wasn’t able do and made a mark higher than the big Yeti’s mark. In Yeti’s language, it was someone taller, wanting to fight and invade his place. Then at the opening of the ravine, they climbed under a big and safe rock, from where they started to invite our enemy to the duel. Because of a strong echo it was difficult to define how big the new Yeti was. On being called, the big Yeti immediately replied and was going to fight but when he went past the big tree he saw Ben’s sign. Then he probably thought to himself that the enemy was bigger than he, and so must be stronger. Not confident of his own strength and discouraged, he believed Ben’s fraud and escaped before the fight. He disgracefully disappeared, leaving his best hunting place. We then very easily persuaded Ben to allow us to go through the ravine and also to allow Tenzin’s compatriots to go with their yaks. That news made Tenzin very happy. Thus the road was free and we went along as real winners. At the end of the ravine Ben came to say goodbye. He stood behind us, lonely and courageous. He watched us with a melancholic air because we were going away. Kathryn couldn’t help herself and took Ben’s photo.
We were glad for Ben and his resourceful heroine Kathryn, who was like Joan of Arc. Tenzin’s compatriots made a big wonderful three-day celebration for the liberation of the shorter road and certainly the queen of the ball was Kathryn. After arriving home Kathryn refused to show Ben’s photo because she was worried about the Tibetan Yeti’s peace, so David Allen Harvey with his photo of White Horses won the prize for the best photo. Do you think it was a very brave and selfless deed? If you want to see that photo and promise you won’t say anything about it you can get in touch with the photo’s owner by phone at (505) 8211404.
Ever burning flame
Whatever joy there is in the world
All came’s from desiring others to be happy
And whatever suffering there is in this World.
All came’s from wishing for one’s own happiness.
What need to say much more?
The Childish work for their own benefit,
The Buddha work for the benefit of others,
Just look at the difference between them.
They say that in the twilight of her life Mother Teresa worried and prayed much for her work not to be interrupted after her death. Indeed, the Lord heard her unselfish prayers and that pure benevolent work that she had been doing all her life, found its followers. One of them was Ama Chela2. Like Mother Teresa, she was endowed with a warm compassionate heart and was able to devote herself whole-heartedly to serving and helping others. Definitely the torch of charity, which had always been a light-house for the destitute, suffering and sick people and for all those who felt desperate and lost-that rare torch of charity had been passed on to a firm and reliable hand. As Mother Teresa considered all living beings to be her children and bestowed her love upon people without making any distinction between them, so did Ama Chela, treating everyone as her brother and sister.
EVER BURNING FLAME1 — Mother Theresa was an incredible beacon of warmth for all people, particularly those suffering from neglect, hunger and spiritual poverty.
Ama Chela2 — The story of Ama Chela is an incredible one. She was born in Alaska, the daughter of a Russian émigré and Sanskrit scholar who escaped during the Russian Revolution of 1917.
And it was not merely accidental that she was called Ama. In Tibetan language “Ama” means “mother” and she was called so by the grateful Tibetan refugees, who had been supported by her after fleeing from Tibet, occupied by Chinese communists. Sometimes these refugees arrived in India frost-bitten and sick, having been starved for a long period of time and having no means of supporting themselves. Ama Chela collected financial means to improve living conditions in the monasteries, and the list of her benevolent deeds is endless, but I would like to tell you about one particular case, which took place in India. This act of compassion has showed us that not a social position nor a belief, matter to Ama Chela when somebody is in need of help. Ama Chela came to India with the purpose of providing financial charity for the TB hospital in Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka State.
She was still in Bombay, and having all settled of her affairs, she bought an air-ticket to Bangalore and decided to take an evening walk along the streets of the city. The old part of Bombay was not as noisy and polluted as the new part. Luckily, Ama Chela didn’t need a translator because she could speak Hindi as well as she spoke English.