Life is Wobbly

That afternoon, Storm was the guardian on duty. Afterward, he sent me the following text, with the comments all his.

Half an hour before the 1pm SLT Thursday meeting at the tea house, there was much commotion amongst the SL databases. The grid went offline for 45 minutes or so. Storm got back on as soon as he could to find an unsurprisingly empty landscape. But shortly after, Isen came to visit — always a happy and often mould-breaking occasion. This was to be no exception…

Storm Nordwind: Welcome my dear friend!
Storm Nordwind: Namaste
Isen Enzo: a pleasure.
Storm Nordwind: This is a rare treat for me to see you again!
Isen Enzo: Trying to get comfortable…
Isen Enzo: there..
Storm Nordwind: 2 feet in the air?
Isen Enzo: ahhh

Isen had swapped cushions rapidly and had end up levitating. Unperturbed he launched into his new discovery.

Isen Enzo: Well, I learned something!
Isen Enzo: A definition of “dukkha”
Storm Nordwind: Oh please tell :)
Isen Enzo: a literal translation…
Isen Enzo: It’s been a sort of mini-epiphany…
Isen Enzo: You know how people always say that the first noble truth…
Isen Enzo: some times as “life is suffering”
Storm Nordwind: hmm… yes
Isen Enzo: or “life is dukkha”
Storm Nordwind: sure
Isen Enzo: and there is always the heming and hawing…
Isen Enzo: about the multiple meanings…
Isen Enzo: so as not to give the impression that Buddhism is nihilistic…
Storm Nordwind: I try not to get involved in the multiple meanings!
Isen Enzo: Well-
Isen Enzo: get this…
Storm Nordwind: shoot
Isen Enzo: the literal translation is…
Isen Enzo: (drum roll please)
Isen Enzo: “wobbly axle/wheel”
Isen Enzo: (rimshot)

A revelation and Storm expressed his surprise.

Storm Nordwind: oh!
Isen Enzo: Is that cool, or what!?
Storm Nordwind: And I always thought it meant uneasy
Isen Enzo: why translate?
Storm Nordwind: or unsteady
Isen Enzo: Its really good….
Isen Enzo: yes- a wobbly wheel on an axle that is not in true…
Isen Enzo: not exact…
Storm Nordwind: A wonderful image
Isen Enzo: yes.
Isen Enzo: so now…
Storm Nordwind: Unable to carry any real load
Isen Enzo: the first noble truth is not that life is suffering…
Isen Enzo: but that it is wobbly…
Isen Enzo: not exact..
Storm Nordwind: I love it!
Isen Enzo: a little left, a little right…
Isen Enzo: a little smooth, a little rough..
Isen Enzo: sometimes easy rolling. sometimes a hard go…
Storm Nordwind: With all this wobbling, how come so many people are in a rut?
Isen Enzo: no suffering involved…
Isen Enzo: I think its in the SECOND noble truth where suffering enters…
Isen Enzo: because we cannot accept the wobblinesss…
Isen Enzo: that’s why we suffer….
Isen Enzo: our desire to have it other than it is…
Storm Nordwind: And that leads us to pretend it is other than it is
Storm Nordwind: And to build vast fantasies that we agree by convention are true
Isen Enzo: yes- our inability to accept the wobbliness….
Isen Enzo: wobbling is what life is…
Isen Enzo: not suffering…
Isen Enzo: suffering is not accepting the wobbling..
Isen Enzo: now THAT’S dumb…
Isen Enzo: no way round it..

Isen was on a roll and enthusiastically explained further.

Storm Nordwind: It sure is dumb! Then tell me dear friend, where does the Wheel of Dharma come into this?
Isen Enzo: i also like that it fits in with the WOD imagery…
Isen Enzo: Dharma is “the way things are”
Isen Enzo: hey?
Isen Enzo: sorta
Storm Nordwind chuckles
Storm Nordwind: That’s very cool
Isen Enzo: I really like it!
Isen Enzo: makes a lot more sense to me, more resonant…

But there was an obvious question that needed answering.

Storm Nordwind: But if this is true, why is it not more widely known?
Isen Enzo: I think it’s like the qwerty keyboard…
Isen Enzo: “it’s always been translated like this…”
Storm Nordwind: I see.
Isen Enzo: a karmic momentum..
Storm Nordwind: For the slowest of the slow?
Isen Enzo: from early translation…
Isen Enzo: carryed on and on…
Isen Enzo: sometime translators make things more difficult…
Isen Enzo: do you speak any japanese?
Storm Nordwind: No I don’t apart from yes and no
Isen Enzo: well, even with other languages…
Isen Enzo: the translators often goof it all up…
Isen Enzo: for example…
Isen Enzo: there is no word for “ninety” in french…
Storm Nordwind: true
Isen Enzo: it’s four score and ten….
Storm Nordwind: quatre-vingt-dix
Isen Enzo: but it’s translated as ninety…
Isen Enzo: so anyhow…
Isen Enzo: not only is there no “ninety” in french….
Isen Enzo: we are not taught correct syntax either…
Storm Nordwind: oh?
Isen Enzo: same in japanese…
Isen Enzo: “isen des” some would translitate as “I am Isen”
Isen Enzo: but really, it is literally, “Isen is”
Isen Enzo: yoda-speak…
Storm Nordwind: I like that :)
Isen Enzo: no plurals, either in Japanese…
Isen Enzo: hon desu is Book is or books are….
Storm Nordwind: convenient and confusing
Isen Enzo: when we finally (no help from teachers) get the yoda-speakishness of it….
Isen Enzo: it becomes easy…
Isen Enzo: there is no exact equivalent…
Isen Enzo: why try…

Amazing! Such a basic mis-translation?

Storm Nordwind: So how did you find out (apart from observation) that life is wobbly?
Isen Enzo: I read a lot…
Isen Enzo: and always look in the back of books…
Isen Enzo: for the translations..
Isen Enzo: and recently found one that translated dukkha as literally wobbly…
Isen Enzo: so happy..
Storm Nordwind smiles
Isen Enzo: always trying to get to the bottom of it…
Isen Enzo: make some sense..
Isen Enzo: lotta history and transcribing, translating..
Storm Nordwind: Won’t some people say that is a rather fatalistic translation?
Isen Enzo: much mutation…
Isen Enzo: wobbly?
Isen Enzo: I think everybody intrinsically agrees that life is not always smooth…
Isen Enzo: but also not always rough..

Storm wanted to probe into how this would be accepted by others, perhaps those new to the spiritual quest.

Storm Nordwind: True. I know some people who will exclaim, “Is that the best there is?” Only to be told that that is all there is.
Isen Enzo: life is what it is…
Isen Enzo: heres my new zen phrase…
Isen Enzo: “suck it up, cupcake!”
Isen Enzo: whaddya think?
Storm Nordwind laughs out loud
Isen Enzo: apt?
Storm Nordwind: I like it! But it might not win you many converts!
Isen Enzo: It will be the subtitle to “the sign of one hand emoticoning”
Isen Enzo: well…
Isen Enzo: what else to do?
Isen Enzo: denial…
Isen Enzo: not such good strategy..
Isen Enzo: face it…
Isen Enzo: deal with it…
Storm Nordwind: People come to religion, even Buddhism for many things, and (rightly or wrongly) one of those motives for some is escape
Isen Enzo: yes!
Isen Enzo: we can escape suffering– yessire…
Isen Enzo: but not pain..
Isen Enzo: no way
Isen Enzo: jose
Isen Enzo: suffering, however is optional…

But what is perfection then?

Storm Nordwind: Life is wobbly, or perhaps even “bent”?! :)
Isen Enzo: a little out…
Isen Enzo: yes
Storm Nordwind chuckles
Isen Enzo: I’d say “not Perfect”, but…
Isen Enzo: maybe that’s the perfection…
Isen Enzo: a little off..
Storm Nordwind: There is a wonderful Morgan Tarot card that says as much
Isen Enzo: oh?
Isen Enzo: I don’t know tarot..
Isen Enzo: from shinola..
Storm Nordwind: The Morgan tarot is not an ordinary Tarot pack. At all
Isen Enzo: no?
Storm Nordwind: It draws on hippy philosophy and Tibetan Buddhism
Isen Enzo: I know that morgan vehicles have wooden chassis…
Storm Nordwind: There is a card it is on which is written the following:
Isen Enzo: yes?
Isen Enzo: lol
Isen Enzo: yes.
Isen Enzo: that’s kinda it..
Isen Enzo: It’s really zenish..
Storm Nordwind: As a sub-note it also says: “Comparison is not true perception. The nature of reality can be known through direct revelation.”
Isen Enzo: perfect imperfection..
Isen Enzo: eccentric…
Storm Nordwind: And eccentric wheel certainly wobbles
Isen Enzo: yup
Isen Enzo: thats us!
Storm Nordwind: sure thing!
Isen Enzo: woo hoo

Storm teased Isen the Great Discoverer a little.

Storm Nordwind: You could start a new religion Isen!
Isen Enzo: no
Storm Nordwind chuckles
Isen Enzo: !!!
Isen Enzo: but I sure like getting through the ages of incrustation of this one….

Isen carried on. Why are things as they seem to be? Does reality change? Is it constant? Does it just exist? Does it depend on where you are? Or when you are? Time old questions.

Isen Enzo: Why?
Isen Enzo: I wonder…
Isen Enzo: are things done as they are..
Isen Enzo: is there a Real reason…
Isen Enzo: is it real or memorex
Storm Nordwind: in Life. in the world. by people?
Isen Enzo: what’s with all this stuff?
Isen Enzo: how does it work?
Isen Enzo: is it necessary?
Isen Enzo: how did it all come about..?
Storm Nordwind: The questions that people have asked for millennia
Isen Enzo: A lot of folks just accept things…
Isen Enzo: as they are..
Isen Enzo: not me…
Storm Nordwind smiles
Isen Enzo: need to try to understand..
Storm Nordwind: Who are the happy ones though?
Isen Enzo: some is not literal..
Isen Enzo: metaphorical..
Isen Enzo: wonderful study..
Storm Nordwind: yes
Isen Enzo: make it understandable…
Isen Enzo: and Dharma changes…
Isen Enzo: reality changes..
Isen Enzo: UK dharma different than Alaska dharma…
Isen Enzo: and Dharma different in different times..
Isen Enzo: SL dharma..
Storm Nordwind: A radical proposal
Isen Enzo: RL dharma..
Isen Enzo: not so…
Isen Enzo: times change…
Isen Enzo: reality changes..
Isen Enzo: the reality of prehistoric living much different than ours..
Isen Enzo: no TV
Isen Enzo: or DVD
Isen Enzo: no Ipods
Storm Nordwind wonders whether that counts as reality!
Isen Enzo: no penicillin…
Isen Enzo: It’s our reality…
Isen Enzo: our time…
Isen Enzo: different than our parents…
Isen Enzo: different than our children..

Storm wanted to see if there was a constancy of change, where perhaps impermanence is the only permanent thing. But Isen’s brain was threatening to come dribbling out of his ears!

Storm Nordwind: Are they not just things that come and go? The things were different, but the reality of the coming and going is surely the same?
Isen Enzo: here now…
Isen Enzo: is real..
Isen Enzo: there then was real..
Isen Enzo: but kinda
Isen Enzo: not same
Isen Enzo: I need water wings..
Isen Enzo: getting in the deep end..
Isen Enzo: over my head..
Storm Nordwind: No dear friend. You are fathoming things out!
Storm Nordwind laughs

Isen summarised his new discovery.

Isen Enzo: But isn’t that cool…
Isen Enzo: “life is wobbly”
Isen Enzo: suffering is not a part of that..
Storm Nordwind: Very “Douglas Adams” in fact
Isen Enzo: suffering is our dealing with the wobbliness..
Storm Nordwind: One to ponder
Isen Enzo: ok
Storm Nordwind: and enjoy
Isen Enzo: I’ll get started..
Isen Enzo: got a late start….
Isen Enzo: gotta catch up..
Storm Nordwind: Never too late
Isen Enzo: can’t hurry, though…
Isen Enzo: right foot, left foot, ….
Storm Nordwind: if there really is a mental continuum then it is all part of a long long journey
Isen Enzo: a relay journey…
Isen Enzo: of memes, as well as genes…

Our time was up and friends were visiting. Life is wobbly. Who can top that?

One response to “Life is Wobbly

  1. Pingback: The Suchness Dimension « Play as Being Weblog

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