The Silken Chains - JP

A substitution for "Derinkuyu." I'm not Buddhist, by the way, it just came out like this.  

When Siddhartha grew old, he spent forty more days beneath the weeping tree until he saw the secrets of the universe unfolding like blossoms around him. He stared deep through himself as a reflecting glass in water, and beyond himself the shadows of the holy wove dances on his eyelids. At last, he knew, it was time for him to Ascend.

     But though the next world beckoned, Siddhartha was entwined with this one, and no man can exist in two worlds at once. Thus, Siddhartha decided that to Ascend, he must release the material world and all the good things and bad things and love and hate within it, and he set out to bid farewell to all that is material and to those whom he loved.

     For four years, he traveled the land, saying farewell to his friends and disciples and all the things of the material, carefully removing each little piece from his heart. Finally, he returned home, kissed his children each on the forehead one two three, and gave his wife a final peck on the cheek. Then he climbed up the mountain and sat back beneath the weeping tree. But still, he did not Ascend.

     "What is this?" Siddhartha spoke to the Gods of Wind and Earth. "I have bid this world farewell and made room in my heart for the next one. Wherefore is my spirit stranded, and burdened down with heavy stones?"

     The God of Wind blew gently on his face, and the God of Earth softened beneath his touch, and a thought of an idea of a mystery germinated within him. Through another forty days he cultivated it carefully, feeding it devotion and watering it with passion, keeping it safe from the trampling feet of confusion and sheltering it from the cruel sun of doubt. It grew into a vine and covered him, it flowered around him and bathed him in perfume, it grew fruit and tempted him with its unripened sweetness. At last, the fruit grew ready, and Siddhartha peeled back the skin and drank deeply of its juices. Before him now, he saw that he was not weighed down by stones, but held fast by a thousand hands, the hands of friends and of lovers, hands that begged him to stay and kept his spirit from Ascending with their need for his guidance and desire to retain his warmth.

Again, Siddhartha descended from the mountain and another four years unfurled as he roamed the land once more. But this time, rather than bidding "goodbye" to all his friends and disciples, he instead prayed them, "release me."

"Ho, then, Siddhartha!" said his friend, Bothama. "It is my fervent wish for you to reach your ascension, and for that I release you from all obligations to me, to my life, and to my spirit. But this I did when I bade you goodbye. If you ask me to release you from my love and my thoughts, this I cannot grant, for it is not I that keeps you there."

"Ho, then, Siddhartha!" said his student, Talloum. "Well have you taught me to sublimate myself to the greater, and greater you are than I, though your greatness will not acknowledge it. To this end, I release you from your place as my master, and take the role of my master as my own. But this I did when I bade you goodbye. If you ask me to release your teachings from my mind and your character from my body, that I cannot grant, for it is not I that keeps you there."

"Woh, then, Siddhartha!" said his wife, Poonam. "Ever have you been an inspiration to me, and ever have I beseeched the sky for your happiness, and for that I will release you from your earthly bond to me and your role as provider. But this I did when I last kissed you and bade you goodbye. If you ask me to release you from the place in my soul that you have taken, and to forget that my love is Siddhartha, this I can never do, for it is not I that holds you there, and it is not I that holds you here."

Siddhartha, confused and frustrated, returned to the mountain and the weeping tree and there he sat to await another revelation. The God of Wind would not blow for him, though, and the God of Earth remained unyielding stone underneath him, and he grew hot and callused and reflected back nothing but an angry man. This angry man, he thought, was not Siddhartha, who was wise and gentle! This angry man had not reflected on himself, and grown the great gardens of thought and mystery! This angry man could not Ascend!

And it was then that Siddhartha's anger turned in on itself like a crashing wave, and in the moment of drowning within its fury, he saw beyond it, and recognized the truth.

Down the mountain came Siddhartha, and gathered his friends around him, and spoke to them and said, "I have seen my release and it lies not within you, who love me, but within me, who loves back. I who have sought to touch the sky have sought to destroy the very earth which supports me in my reaching.

"Now," he said to them, "I see the truth. For you are hands that hold me, it is true, but you are hands that hold me up! It was my love for you and my unwillingness to see that love destroyed that became great chains that have borne me down.

"On the mountain, I saw these chains clearly, these chains of love, and I need not destroy them to cast them aside and Ascend. For the chains I leave behind will bear my love forever, and any who puts them on will feel my love within them and will know that though Siddhartha has gone, his love is eternal."

With that, Siddhartha cast off his chains and shot like an arrow straight into heaven. And all of his friends and loved ones gathered the chains from where they lay on the ground and wrapped themselves in them. As they touched those whom Siddhartha had loved, the chains turned to finest silk, and the loved ones wore them for the rest of their days.