Master your breathing. Model it on the pace of the Earth, Life, the Samsara. Breathing in, the bird flies away. Breathing out, the lizard stops on a stone.
Sitting cross-legged, Bikkhu felt the breath of Life cross him from one end to the other, irrigating his chakras, infusing each of his cells. Like every day, every month, every year. Yet this morning, a dissonant voice mixed with the usual rhythm of his breath. Since the beginning of his meditation, the tiger had tried not to think about this disturbance. He had remained focused, focused, and had not let his thoughts drift. But this technique could not last forever.
It was when the cloud hid the sun that he let go. He had to face this newcomer. He took a deep breath and clinked the bell he was keeping next to him. A harmonious and powerful sound escaped. With his eyes closed, the monk could visualize the sounds of the vibration that echoed on the trees, the stones, the monastery in the distance. He untied his shoulders, let his mind wander. He glimpsed an elongated, undulating silhouette, shrouded in purple – not the violet of enlightenment, Nirvana, but a dirty, dull, invasive color – a person who turned to the dark side. Bikkhu flinched. Could it be his past that was resurfacing?
Trying to leave his fear aside, the tiger opened his eyes. In front of him stood the long silhouette of a cobra. Folded forward, small round glasses placed before his eyes, he seemed to be interested in a beetle placed on a stone. He watched it for a long time, motionless as a statue, then lost interest.
Bikkhu narrowed his eyelids. It was that silhouette he had seen a few minutes earlier. He did not perceive his aura right now, but he guessed it dark and tortured. He straightened up and called out.
Hello Stranger. What are you looking for here?
– Sssscarabaeinae Ssssisyphus, the individual hissed.
– I beg your pardon ?
– A very rare ssscarabee living in these mountains. I’m looking for one with blue wings.
In spite of the morning light that stung his eyes, the tiger did not let go of the snake for a moment. The latter, however, continued to scrutinize the ground, sometimes leaning fluidly and quietly to taste the earth with his tongue. A strange impression began to win the monk, that of having already met this visitor. A long time ago…
How long have you been looking for him?
– Many … years, replied the cobra. He had hesitated, and Bikkhu knew what he had intended to say in the first place.
– Several years ? I have not seen you here yet.
The researcher turned sharply to him and stared into his eyes. Instantly, the connection was made. Researchers recognize themselves at first sight. Always. And they never miss an opportunity to greet each other, even if they rarely do it on purpose.
The monk savored the moment. He was no longer afraid that his violent past would come back to haunt him. Because what was happening at the moment was far more important. The snake, like him, had embarked on an incredibly long journey. A journey that would take them to the limits of Samsara.
The newcomer made a gesture towards him. His tongue came out of his mouth several times, as if he were trying to taste it from a distance. Bikkhu relaxed. He knew the other could not do anything to him. Eliminating a competitor was certainly always tempting, but Samsara did not tolerate this kind of action. All that the serpent could do was to soil his karma and to delay in the race.
Have you ever found … Amulets? the monk tried.
– Amulets? wondered the snake. What a funny idea!
– It’s not stupid to collect animals. And some are more valuable than others. The cobra smiles. It was not a pleasant vision, but Bikkhu at least understood that his mask had just fallen.
– I see … whispered the scientist. Indeed, I can not hide it, I have already recovered some Amulets. Four, to be exact. Even if I do not keep any memory of how it happened.
The monk’s eyes widened. Four Amulets! Himself was only two.
– You are very efficient, congratulated the tiger. But do not forget that the last Amulet is the hardest to get.
– I know it, little monk. That’s why I work my knowledge. The more I will breed and the better I will know where to find the last Amulet.
– Well … good luck!
The snake’s smile widens, revealing a pair of fangs full of venom.
Ssssssspirituality, he whispered. How noble it is, how beautiful! You know, I was there too … at the beginning. This path is too long. You will not succeed like that.
– Spirituality to reach Nirvana? It seems appropriate to me.”
The snake shook his head and turned away, displeased. In a few seconds he slipped out of the monk’s sight. The latter put his hands on his lap and exhaled slowly.
Ussagah slipped out of sight of the tiger, but did not go away from the monastery. He had been looking for this sisyphus for a long time, too long. And what if he was wrong? What if he had been following a wrong path for all these years? The monk’s confidence had shaken his beliefs.
He slipped into the nearby pine forest and hunted for prey to satisfy his nascent appetite, as well as his growing frustration. He set his sight on a rat. The poor beast had no time to see what side his predator was coming from, that it was engulfed alive. Ussagah felt the rodent’s fur glistening in his throat and imagined it was a tiger struggling inside him.