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Materialism

 
(for Kathy H.)
 

I recount, here, my own rendition of an antic moral saw, of likely Buddhist origins(the source of which escapes me).
 
*
 

The materialist entered heaven, having paid  all her dues in Samsara.
 
It was, to say the least,  mind boggling.
It was a veritable cornucopia.
 
Everywhere, streams of milk and honey.
Innumerable founts of exotic beverages.
Tables, overbalancing  with   rich, sumptuous, foods.
Fruits, desserts, sweetmeats, decked in endless array.
 
Apartments of fine silk, brocade , and satin.
Toys, games, jewellery , strewn all over.
Magnificent coutures, beyond description.
Mineral baths, perfumeries, continuous entertainments.
 
Day after day.
Night after night.
The offerings only grew more and more opulent.
 
*
 
At first  she revelled in it all with great gusto.
Then , albeit slowly, she grew a mite restive.
It was starting to cloy.
Every day was more of the same.
Non-stop gratifications, in ever more  grand  profusion.
 
She began to chafe.
Then, finally, in some ire, she pressed the red emergency  button.
 
A  genie-like figure appeared.
You summoned?,  it asked, amiably.
Yes, she said, I am… I’m a bit weary.
Anything more you wish, perhaps?, it asked, just say the word.
No, no, she  said, of course,  it’s  all  very wondrous.
 
The genie looked on, impassive.
 
But… it’s really too much.
Pardon me?, said the genie, not blinking.
It’s …it’s  all way too much.
Oh, said the genie.
Yes, much  too much.
I didn’t know, she began, I didn’t  know this is what heaven is all about…I had no idea.
 
The genie looked somber.
 
Heaven?, it asked.
Yes, she said
 
Er…you are mistaken, said the genie.
What do you mean? How? She was confused.
I am sorry to say, said the genie, but this is not heaven.
What…it’s not? She looked stunned.
It shook its head.
No, it said.
Then what is it? What is this place?
Where am I?
 
The genie looked into her eyes, soberly.
It’s… that Other place, it said, quietly.

* I can take No credit for this parable (which I am simply recounting here), and its undergirding moral, which must have replicas in many (in particular, Buddhist) metaphysical traditions. I don’t recall who related it to me (and would be obliged to learn of its Original Source, if possible, so I can credit it appropriately), though it was aeons ago. Btw, Materialism (not merely in the lay sense of greed and gluttony but as a representation of reality) is the ruling geist of this dystopian , EuroModernist, Age- accounting for most of its innumerable defaults, whence this narrative, in counterpoint.

 

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