SURPRISE ME



                     


This is a video of the race between Seabiscuit and War Admiral. The true story of an undersized Depression-era racehorse and the, at that point, unbeaten Champion War Admiral.

What has that to do with the Dharma? A good question, and I asked myself why on earth I should, after much reflection, put such a video in the web page as a surprise.

After a lifetime of teaching I have come to respect the old Japanese proverb regarding the teachings, which declares, "Do not fish in dry streams", yet I often remind myself of the Barbadian proverb which declares, "When yuh see a man fishing in a dry pond, don't call ‘e a fool". So I go on fishing with the clear understanding that in this world of Samsara the Buddha Dharma is not, in its pure sense, a viable product for the Samsaric mind.

Expedient means, golden temples and promises of quick and easy salvation draw the thousands, but only a handful of those who come to the Dharma actually generate sufficient force and courage to leave behind their clinging and craving.

Within Chan I present the truth of the Dharma as the ancients knew and practiced it and it is not at all easy. It is not that the practices are difficult in and of themselves, but in this modern world the temptations are greater and the human mind is globalized and greedily grabbing for the unreachable goal of a false happiness.

We are in a time of crisis, which is far less damaging to the human spirit than the great Depression was. But in America at the time there arose almost a little miracle. That miracle was called Seabiscuit. Just an undersized horse.

I remember at five or six sitting with my father and grandfather listening on an old crystal radio, happy to hear anything over the static, to this famous race between the courageous Seabiscuit and War Admiral.

War Admiral was a strong and mighty champion. It represented, in the eyes of the ordinary man, all that the Depression stood for. Mismanagement of the wealthy, with little or no consequences, for what is a million here or there, in a manner that the middle classes and poor were destroyed. The owner was wealthy and there was a great arrogance surrounding the stables and particularly the feats of War Admiral.

So while War Admiral represented the wealthy establishment, little Seabiscuit represented the millions out of work and tormented by the lack of a future. Seabiscuit won race after race with ordinary level competition, but what it did was give the poor a different image of the underdog. Seabiscuit represented the image of a potential non-valued human being to also rise above adversity and win.

At that time it represented the two faces of Samsara, the false happiness of the wealthy and successful and the suffering of the poor who craved what the others had on the other side of the fence. Seabiscuit gave them hope and a promise of a successful pursuit of happiness if you had enough guts to reach for it.

Perhaps you can see where I am heading here, for we could also say that War Admiral and his environment represented all of Samsara and the Seabiscuit represented not the other suffering half of Samsara, but the spirit necessary to reach beyond Samsara altogether to the inner voice of the true human spirit which aims at the Survival beyond Samsara, which is the revelation that a truly better life without suffering at all is possible.

I find it surprising that in these days when millions are out of work, with relations stretched to breaking point, few who now suffer plant the idea of a completely different life for themselves that is not chained to credit and the axe at the end of the swinging pendulum.

But no, I know that when the crisis falls away, little John and Jane Doe will be out there asking for credit once more to buy what they really don't need and only desire and then cling to what they have as possesions that really have no value.

You will dredge up thousand dissonant excuses. My children need an Education! I have to make a living! I am older now and the future is ahead! What else can I do?

I am reminded then of another horse that has no name. 




I wonder how much he paid for those wonderful feathers in his headdress? 

How much was the bank debt for his teepee? 

What exactly is his job? 

Is he thinking of promotion

Can he trust the wise men of the tribe with his children's education? 


Wow, he sure had problems! 

Of course he didn't know that soon the "white man" would come around and teach him what "owning property" was all about. His wife didn't know that she was not liberated because she couldn't ride and hunt like her husband.

Really I don't know how they managed to survive before whisky and banks came along.

They must have been really unhappy without Formula 1 or football to watch. They didn't even have telephones or TV, so what did the women do except care for the kids, work at their tasks and be united as part of the whole tribe?

Now that is a monstrous idea! Caring for kids when they could pay someone else for doing it... and that idea of putting your own Identity down for the good of the tribe is really preposterous... and all that mishmosh of being close to nature with Manitou is a bit obsolete, I suppose. One day, I am sure, in the future man will be able to visit a museum of natural history and actually see what a tree looked like and actually taste a sample of pure water.

Anyway they would have had a great problem if they were around today, for it is damned difficult to pin those useless bits of paper called diplomas to a teepee wall.

Do you get the point? So today life is difficult and what would the neighbors say if you turned in your car for a horse and your wife didn't shop at those neat stores any more?

Yes, life is difficult... or is it really, if you were to look at life in a different way and change your chip?

Difficulties are there to be solved. They can be solved with correct solutions which don't bring greater problems in their wake.

Let us return for a moment now to Seabiscuit. 

After his win with War Admiral he went on to more victories until one day he ruptured the ligaments of his leg in a race. He naturally in the normal greedy course of events would be sacrificed. Who wants to keep feeding a horse that can't earn more than his keep?

But Seabiscuit was a nationwide symbol and could never be put down, though the vets declared he could never race again.

Now enters the picture another character. The Jockey who had brought Seabiscuit to its peak and had never had the chance to race against War Admiral, because he mysteriously had his leg destroyed in an accident, never to ride again, came back into the scene.

A horse that would never race again came back together with a young man who cound never ride a horse again. As the Jockey himself said, they had four good legs between the two of them. You know the end of the story. If not, then I recommend seeing the film history later produced.

Compassion that was true and human, for a mere horse, benevolent affect, changed to action and gladness, that he could bring gladness once more to a destroyed horse brought about the happy ending that you could bring for yourself.

Both eventually raced again and won and won. 

Can you see what I am saying here?


You, as a human creature, are destroyed, with or without a crisis, living in a dream world perhaps knowing suffering, perhaps not.

You have in your possesion a crippled horse, your mind that is filled with foolishness and social conditioning put in place by State, church and education.

But if you nurture the natural survival which is in place and hidden within you, you and your mind can race again. But not to win races or to gain a victory over adversaries, but to run free without the stained-mind restrictions imposed by your conditioning.

These pages show you how to begin, how to train and feed the horse, how to walk and how to run, how to be and ordinary human being without suffering or false happiness. You can learn here, how to be as one with the dusty world and all of life without the chains of self-imposed foolishness.

You can learn how to be a father or mother and friend to all living creatures. You can learn that man not only cannot live on bread alone, but also should not strangle himself with supermarket products and credit cards.

It is true that a rich man cannot go through the gate called the Eye of a Needle with his possesions on his back, but that does not mean that he cannot use the true tools of progress or the true Dharma education that can make him a noble man and a human creature. He can actually, if he wills, cast aside the stained-mind tortured robot who can't even see the stains or the suffering within himself, without losing a thing of real human value.

It is, after all, in your hands. I can do no more than tell you where you can drink the cool water of the Path. You must bring the white horse, your mind, to the pond, like the Indian above.

What will you decide? The pursuit of foolish unattainable happiness or the full well-being of a natural life, even within Samsara?





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