The Past, Present And Future : Relevance For Communal Relations In Sri Lanka

l by Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

(October 14, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Once upon a time an elder monk and a young monk were travelling together. They came to the bank of a river and found the bridge was damaged. They had to wade across the river. There was a pretty lady who was stuck at the damaged bridge and couldn’t cross the river. The senior monk offered to carry her across the river on his back to which the lady accepted.
The young monk was shocked by the move of the elder monk and was thinking “How can the elder brother carry a lady when we are supposed to avoid all intimacy with females?” But he kept quiet.
The senior monk carried the lady across the river and the novice monk followed unhappily. When they crossed the river, the senior monk let the lady down and they parted ways with her.
All along the way for several miles, the young monk was very unhappy with the act of the elder monk. He was making up all kinds of accusations about the elder monk in his head. This got him madder and madder. But he still kept quiet. And the elder monk had no inclination to explain his situation.
Finally, at a rest point many hours later, the young monk could not stand it any further; he burst out angrily at the senior monk. “How can you claim yourself a devout monk, when you seize the first opportunity to touch a female, especially when she is very pretty?” All your teachings to me make you a big hypocrite.
The elder monk looked surprised and said, “I had put down the lady at the river bank many hours ago, how come you are still carrying her along?” 
This very old Chinese Zen story reflects the thinking of Many of US today………One Must Move on. Life is in continuity…Always Only Look Forward & Keep Walking…………………………..!!! 

We have to reconcile with our past and come together to deal with the present pragmatically and practically, unburdened by it. The future will then be ours to enjoy.
We encounter many unpleasant things in our life, they irritate us and they make us angry. But like the young monk, we are not willing to let them go away. There is no point in remaining hurt by the unpleasant event after it is over.
The mind has a tendency to dwell in the past or wander into the future. The mind forges a chain to bind itself to the dead past, because it is fixed, while the present is in a state of flux, therefore constantly avoiding the present.
Life is neither lived in the tomb of the dead moments of the past nor in the womb of the unborn moments of the future. Life is not a continuous procession of past regrets and future anxieties. Life is lived in the dynamic present.
The present moment is all that we have at our disposal. The mind should be freed from the past (which exists but as memory) and the future (which exists but as worry, a mixture of fear and hope). Only the present is. It is a present from God.”
We are at a critical moment in our history. The past continues to be a heavy burden. Every action by the government on issues concerning the minority communities, particularly those in the north and east, are viewed with suspicion. The suspicions, in most instances tend to border the paranoid and gives rise to much hyperbole. The political forces at play, both locally and internationally, have to relegate the past to the dung heap of history and view the present objectively. The past is should not be permitted to distort the present and destroy the future. The present should be the real concern and how we deal with it should ensure a better future for everyone in Sri Lanka. The story told above, will ring a bell in many of us who are steeped in oriental/eastern/ Hindu/Buddhist/Christian thinking. I hope it will mean something to the politicians of all hues, particularly those in the TNA, the other Tamil parties and those in government.
We have to reconcile with our past and come together to deal with the present pragmatically and practically, unburdened by it. The future will then be ours to enjoy.
Can we make this happen?


Author: Sri Lanka Guardian

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