I straightened my body, firm and hard.
He spoke in a slow soft voice, his words clear and supple.
“Close your eyes and see only an apple.”
“Now take a bite of that apple. The apple is less.”
“Take another bite. Now take another. Eat the apple until it is only a frail center.”
“Now you only have the core left, look at it, see it, it should be all you see in your world.”
“Now throw it away, toss it into nothing and see only nothing”
I closed my eyes the light of the day blanked my eyelids turning the world red. I saw the apple. I ate it, bite after bite. The core hovered in space and I tossed it into oblivion. It was gone. The world was dark. No, there were yellow lights on the sides of my vision. I looked at them. They hid beyond my sight. I looked away, and they grew, infecting my vision taking it over with a golden summer. I thought darkness and darkness came. I focused on darkness I tied to hold onto it. A new light, a purple light, a purple sunshine, rose. It grew and grew until it too took over my vision.
I let out a frustrated throat growl. “I can’t get to nothing, there is always something. Yellow lights, purple lights, what should I do”.
“Enlightenment takes years, many years. Ideas, thoughts, worries and lights keep us from enlightenment. When you have trouble clearing your mind then there is something on it, something you are thinking of. This something is what holds you back.
“But I am not thinking of anything, only darkness”
“You must think of nothing, absolutely nothing. No thoughts, no sight, no feeling, no sound. Novice monks also have something holding them back. It’s not something out there.” He opened his arms wide showing me the world. “But in here” He brought his hands to his chest.” To achieve enlightenment you first must know your weaknesses and your fears and then you must overcome them. For your mind to become blank, you must think of nothing, to think of nothing you must have nothing weighting you down. What weight do you carry?”
“I want to travel the world, to make my way back home, but I can’t figure out how to start, or what to do.”
He gave a slight nod “You must then find a way to make your step. You must remove this weight, this burden for your mind. Whatever fear it is, must be gone for you to take a path to enlightenment for you to travel. But you have traveled to here, look around you.” Over the walls towering, five story tall, palm trees hung in the sky. “You have made it more far than most. You must be ready to break your fear. Young American, I hope you enjoy your travels and may the Naga king, who watched over Lord Buddha, protect you on your trip. And when you return, may you return on the road to enlightenment.”