Friday, May 15, 2009

"you walk on only one leg"

Minutes passed. Finally Maha Ghosananda stood up slowly. I could see his advanced age then and was even more impressed that this man had withstood the evils of the Pol Pot regime.

"If you move through the world with only your intellect," he said in a direct and clear voice, "then you walk on only one leg." With his hands held in prayer, he lifted one leg and slowly and deliberately hopped three times. With the same deliberation and pace, he restored his foot to the floor. After a long breath he began again.

"If you move through the world with only your compassion," he said, lifting his other leg, "then you walk on only one leg." Again he hopped three times.

"But if you move through the world with both intellect and compassion, then you have wisdom." He walked slowly and gracefully, taking three long, slow strides. At the end he bowed his head again and then resumed his seat on the cushion in front of me.

"Thank you," I said to him bowing again.
He smiled gently. There was nothing left to say.

From The Blue Sweater by Jacqueline Novogratz

Read more about Jacqueline at the AcumenFund Blog