A story...

Many, many years ago there existed a prosperous land. The people in this land worked hard and long, building wealth for themselves and their families. They built great cities where many could live and thrive, they built schools of great learning which produced wise and learned people. But despite their wealth, their learning and their great cities the people of this land were not happy and in their hearts and minds there was still an emptiness.

Word came of a great teacher in a distant land, one who, unlike those in this prosperous land, had felt the joy of a great truth that gave meaning to his own life and also to those who followed his teachings. The great teacher came to this land of plenty and what he saw pleased him greatly for he saw a young and vigorous people who were ripe for his teachings. And he said 'Prepare a place where my teachings can take root and I will send a great teacher to you.'.

And so a place was prepared that lay between mountain and river. A great grove of trees was felled to make way for many buildings. Some now say now that it was the felling of these trees, rich of fruit and flower, that foreshadowed the darkness that was yet to come. And yet when the building was complete, not knowing of the coming darkness, the builders rejoiced in their hearts.

And so the promised teacher arrived, a young teacher who despite his youth was yet wise in the teachings of his master. Although young in years he contained within himself the strength of wholeness and the joy of fulfilment. He was the beloved disciple of the great teacher who had personally instructed him and also gifted him with great powers.

But this young teacher did not realise that within all of us is not only the seed of light but the seed of darkness as well. He also did not know that the great powers given to him by his master could be subtle and dangerous. This ignorance was the beginning of his fall and he brought great harm to many in his downfall.

And yet in the beginning all was well within the new place of learning and retreat. Those who did not see the growing shadow found peace between mountain and river and even took it as their mission to spread the new teachings across the land, leaving their own children to the care and nurture of their new home, children who were to be enmeshed in the coming evil. For the teacher, the disciple of the great one, looking around him saw not only much that was good but much that was desirable as well. And in his desire he fell into the darkness and took so many with him. And of those who lived with him at this time there were many who could not see the shadow that had fallen on this place and some even who chose not to look, who turned their gaze away...

And thus came a period of great wrong and with this great wrong the spoiling of many young lives and a loss of beauty and joy to those who were on the path to the joy of truth. The young teacher extended his powers and took what he wished from those around him and that which he wanted was both shameful and forbidden by the laws of the land. Thus he fell.

And it came about that the leaders of the prosperous land looked more closely at the place between mountain and river and saw the wrongness there. The young teacher was taken in chains to stand before the law of the land and at this time he was found to have done great harm and was cast into a pit for a period. When he was released from the pit the young teacher wandered the land, wanted by nobody. He was consumed still by the powers given to him by his great teacher and consumed as well perhaps by visions of how he could have been, how he should have been. He died soon after in squalor and in shame.

And at this time the great teacher in the distant land stepped back from his own teaching and bared himself to the flame. Did he look within himself and see that same dark flower that had appeared within his young student flowering in his own heart? Did he wonder if the fall from grace of his student flowed from his own teaching, from his own lack of vision, from his own darkness...

And thus the place between mountain and river became quiet for a time. And in truth those who remained in this place did not learn that much from the fall of their teacher. They grieved perhaps more for their own losses, for the loss of their own path than they did for those who had their innocence taken from them. And so again the leaders of the land looked upon this place, this quiet place between mountain and river, and they asked 'What have you done to heal those who were damaged by your teacher?'. And the answer was self-serving and unclear. And so the leaders of the land, in anger, forced reparations from the quiet place and made it clear to all in the land that what had happened there was wrong and should not ever happen again.

The quiet place between mountain and river no longer teaches the path of the joy of truth and the buildings and the lands have been sold. Perhaps true enlightenment will one day be taught in this once beautiful place. Or perhaps indeed there will again be planted a grove trees, rich of fruit and flower...

And so this story comes to an end, although can there ever be an end for those whose innocence was torn from them? Much that has yet to be learnt will not be learnt here in this simple story, but rather it will be learnt in the hearts and minds of those who still seek their own true path. That there is such a true path there is no doubt but finding and following this path is beset with many pitfalls. May your own journey be safe...