As the monk approached his destination, the
words of the child began repeating themselves in his mind. The
resonance of each repetition gained a little as he walked-- as
though the child's voice first matured, then merged with other
voices: first few, then many; and now, as he stepped into the
open doorway before him, more than his mind could embrace at
"No one wins. No one wins!" The
significance of the words changed of themselves in accompaniment
with his reeling thoughts. "No one wins?" It was as
though a multitude were knocking at every opening that could
be occupied by consciousness. He paused upon the threshold a
timeless while, and a new voice he recognized as his own seemed
to answer, "We win as One."
Light surpassing light enfolded him from within,
and all that he had known began to burn-- not as in the raging
fires of Earth, nor even as in the hidden fire of ice: the fire
in which he stood proceeded from itself and bathed unto transformation,
fusing the purified essence of his former existences in time
into an elevated continuation so far beyond his expectations
that it appeared as new. Every expression that had ever crossed
his face was there before him, now, revealed as but a single,
smiling appearance of Maya-- Illusion: his mother to this moment,
and his new-found friend.
His body was being rebuilt, cell by cell.
As crystals form, so he grew: his feet and his abdomen, new;
his legs and his lungs, new; his loins and his heart, new; his
shoulders, arms, and his ears, new; his eyes and his hands, new;
his forehead and, yet again, all of him, new: and yet the same!
An ancient writing opened to him: "Neither
shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness
be not discovered thereon." His life to this moment had
been like steps inside a prayer wheel, whose turnings had kept
his place in every circumstance. He had not come to an end, nor
even to a new beginning, but to the center!
He reached out his arms to touch the door
posts. They were there, but they were no longer solid, as in
his approach. They rose above him on left and right like pillars
of smoke. He turned his head to follow their trails upward and
was nearly overwhelmed by the shining of the lintel: it was as
though he had come face to face with eternity compacted into
a single moment of time.
He might certainly have fallen, then; but
the smallest of all voices from He who is Least of all invited
him to enter. The monk would not have presumed to ask the question,
but it was answered, nonetheless: "I am that I am."
On the other side, he was seated in his hut,
the many-petaled Lotus. His prayer wheel was slowly spinning
in the air around him. Deer were looking in at the window, and
he understood that they were waiting to be fed. He stretched
himself to make certain of this new vision, and his hands were
filled, abundantly, with seed.