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Tales from the Laughing Bodhisattva
The Fish and the Bowl
by Dresden Moss

Gi's fingers came to rest quietly on the strings, allowing their clear, piercing melody to fade away into the afternoon light. For awhile he sat on his cushion, gazing at the crystal and stone fountain nestled beneath the purple shade of surrounding trees. Unlike the birds fluttering about the branches and filling the scented air with their cheerful songs, the fountain remained quiet as if unimpressed by the hours he sat playing to it.

He uttered a frustrated sigh and began wondering if the old master's promise was true: this fountain produced melodies echoing those of the Great Voice, the Creator of All. He had never seen it sing for anyone and most of the Guild members ignored it in their daily passing. The only activity this fountain provided was spewing scented water from its marble columns onto the lotuses growlng in the surrounding pool.

Gi's fingers reflected his sense of loss as they tapped the rosewood board. For five years he patiently studied and practiced the host of wind, stringed and vibrational instruments common to every Guild student. He was told by his teacher that when he mastered the secrets of music, the fountain would sing. Day and night, rain or shine, hot or cold, Gi religiously sat before this fountain and played. His skill and determination impressed teachers and students alike.

Except, that is, this accursed fountain ....

He watched the fountain. It seem to mock him as it splashed and fed the pool. Tense anger swelled within Gi's heart. He stood, whispering a curse under his breath. With a swift movement he scooped up his instrument and stormed away, defeated....

Every day Gi passed the fountain on his way to meditation. Every day the fountain mocked him in silent laughter. Mostly Gi averted his eyes, pretending to ignore it as he quickened his pace. Sometimes he threw it a defiant glance when things didn't go right at meditation or practice. The fountain's indifference only angered him more and eventually Gi did his best to block it from his mind.

He repeadly expressed his frustrations to his Guild teacher who always had the same reply, "When you have mastered the secret, the Fountain will sing." This left Gi more enraged since he expected his teacher to show some sympathy and provide a solution. Eventually he gave up complaining and went about his business in a state of sullen recluse, concluding the whole story was a lie.

For months the fountain remained tucked away in the recesses of Gi's memory until one afternoon in his haste to reach meditation he forgot to put away the singing bowls after practice in the nearby Great Hall. He was halfway to meditation class when he remembered and paused by the fountain, curing himself. He turned to hurry back to the Great Hall when out of the comer of his eye he noticed something. Looking towards the fountain Gi saw a pink lotus blossom lying on top of the pool's surface. Attracted, he wandered over and admired the play of light on the flower's soft petals. Gi stood captivated, watching the breeze etch patterns on the pool and dance with the flower.

Something moved beneath the surface. Gi caught a glimpse of silver. He parted the lotus leaves and saw the sweeping flash of a fish.

Oh, great! he thought. There's a fish in the pond and it will probably eat the plants. Gi remembered how, several years ago the Head Monk was very angry when students placed a fish in this pond, resulting in destruction of all the plants. It took six months to find replacements for the rare lotuses. Now, not only would he be late for meditation, get yelled at for leaving his singing bowls out, but he had to rescue the plants from this killer fish!

As if mocking him the fish peered out of the water momentarily before vanishing into the murky depths. Gi reached in, feeling the cool liquid wrap around his arms and soak the sleeves of his tunic. He groped about the murky pool, hoping to catch the fish. He felt it slip through his hands and after several minutes of cursing and thrashing in vain, gave up. He needed something to scoop the fish into.

Gi looked around. Then, remembering his singing bowls, quickly went to retrieve one. Returning, he carefully slipped the crystal and gold bowl into the pool and when the fish came to investigate, quickly pulled the bowl out. The fish was so large it didn't fit and leaped over the bowl's side. It struck the pool with a spray of water that left the front of Gi's crimson tunic soaked. Cursing under his breath, Gi set the partially filled bowl at the pool's edge and went back to find a larger one. He repeated his efforts, only to discover that either he misjudged the fish's size or it grew. Setting the partially filled larger bowl next to the smaller one he again ran to the Great Hall for his largest bowl, muttering curses at the gods for his misfortune.

This time Gi spent a few moments regaining his composure before trying for a third time. Carefully parting the lotus plants Gi slid the large bowl under water. The fish swam around the shiny bowl for several minutes before it entered. Gi slowly pulled the bowl to the surface, not wanting to dump out any water that could give the fish an opportunity to escape. He struggled to keep the bowl level and, with a great sigh, set it on the pool's edge...

Only to discover the water level mysteriously only filled half the bowl - or the fish was growing...

Either way it wasn't enough water to cover the glittering, silver, trouble- maker completely. It looked up at him, gasping and fidgeting. Despite his anger at having this fish distract him from his chores, Gi didn't want it to die. He took the smaller bowl and poured its water onto the fish. It still wasn't enough. Taking the medium sized bowl full of water he added this to the larger bowl.

As he did so, the water filled the largest bowl. At first it only covered the fish but even after he emptied all the water out of the bowl he was poaring from, Gi sat perplexed as the water continued to rise and overflow the sides of the great bowl. It gushed out, spilling into the pool.

Gi thought he heard breaking glass, so faint he wasn't sure if he imagined it. Then he sensed a gentle breeze; hearing its melody playing with glass chimes. He looked around, trying to see where the chimes might be.

There weren't any hanging from the buildings or trees. In fact, the trees were strangely still; the breeze that was here minutes before was gone...

Yet this sound continued, growing into a haunting, very distant song. It approached, seemingly from all round him. Gi wondered if musicians had entered the Great Hall and were practicing. He looked towards it and through the open doors saw that it was empty. Now he sensed the air around him become charged with a quickened vibrancy. The hairs on the back of his neck stood up.

Suddenly, from within the melody a roar was heard and now the water of the pool was starting to glow and swirl with many colors. Brilliant rainbows rose up from the shimmering surface and spun together, forming 3 columns. Their pace quickened and they grew, charging the air around Gi with an electrical shimmer. Gi sat, utterly transfixed. The columns merged into a single shaft of blinding, white, liquid light. From within this, the fountain began glowing a brilliant gold and appeared to melt like ice, throwing off swirls of rainbow streamers in the process.

A new sound emerged; this one touching Gi at the very core of his Being. His body seem ed to shift and become absorbed into the swirling lights. The wondrous tunes from every conceivable instrument played their individual songs, finally to merge into a single, harmonic Voice who's combined frequencies produced a symphony unlike anything he experienced. Gi became aware that his own body contributed to the music. Now multicolored patterns rose from the lights and sounds; dancing, shifting like ghosts to create physical shapes. He saw stars whose numbers formed galaxies; planets, suns, moons, all kinds of creatures, plants, universes. These countless manifestations shimmered and moved through and around him until he couldn't tell if they were him or he them. They barely formed before fading away into wisps of light, only to appear again and repeat the cycles of creation and change.

Then, the melody receded and with it all those wondrous forms. Lights dimmed, slowed and faded. The physical world returned to become solid once more, although it left the impression of being strangely dim and dense compared to those lights. Finally the sound was gone and Gi felt a warmth and clarity hereto unknown. His head glowed and it took him several minutes to regain his senses.

When he looked at the fountain, it appeared as before: quiet, indifferent. Gi glanced to the great bowl and noticed it was empty...

Dresden Moss, LAc., MAc.O.M. is a Teja Energetic Practitioner which utilizes sound to treat the body's energy centers. He is trained in both Western & Eastern medicine and has been in the medical field for 20 years. He is a visionary artist, writer and musician. His spiritual path is that of Tara and he became a Green Tara Initiate in 1997. He will be lecturing on Teja Energetics Jan. 20 & Feb. 24, 2000, 7-8pm at Clark College, Vancouver, Wa. For more information call or write: Dresden Moss, L.Ac. Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Clinic, 11701 NE 95th St., Suite C, Vancouver, Wa 98682, (360) 883-6292. To reserve a space for the lecture (Cost $10) call: (360) 992-2737.