Two Travellers, Two Realities.
A man was trudging down a road with a pack on his back. Behind him rose a large range of snowy peaked mountains and, ahead, lay a verdant valley full of whispering trees and wild vegetation. The sun was directly above him. It was midday. So he stopped when he noticed a monk in saffron robes, sitting on the side of a road and painting a mandala.
The traveller hailed a greeting and the monk nodded in return then returned to his painting.
With a heavy sigh the traveller sagged down by the side the road, next to the monk.
‘Where have you come from?’ the monk asked him.
‘The village in the mountain. I left there this morning. I’m hoping to get to the village in the valley by nightfall.’
The monk nodded, squinting at his half finished mandala. ‘You should make it okay.’
‘Do you know the village I’m heading for?’ the traveller asked.
‘I know them both, very well. The one in the mountain and the one on the valley.’
‘Ahh,’ said the traveller. ‘Perfect! Perhaps you can enlighten me. What is the village like in the valley? What are the people like? Are they hospitable to travellers?’
The monk frowned and looked up at the sky for the moment as if in thought. Finally he spoke. ‘Tell me, how did you find the village in the mountain?’
The traveller sighed. ‘There lies a sorry tale, indeed. To be honest I was glad to get out of there this morning. The people were not friendly at all. They were rude and unwelcoming. And the children called me names and stole from me. It was dreadful. So what of the village in the valley?’
‘I’m sorry to tell you,’ said the monk, ‘but I think your experience will be much the same there.’
The traveller hung his head and walked on despondently.
A few days later another traveller was walking on the same road. And he came across the monk painting a mandala on the side of the road. They greeted each other and the traveller sat down by the monk to rest his load for awhile.
‘That’s a fine painting,’ the traveller remarked.