Sunday, 16 March 2008

Lesson en route

The old man and the sea
On the seashore of Alexandria, I noticed an old man fishing in silence. He had probably sat there for hours but judging from his leisurely manner, he didn't seem to mind at all sitting till dusk.

I squatted down with my camera, he saw me from afar but not even bothered to stop me. I was trying hard not to invade his privacy. The passers-by walked past him in twos or threes. He was not distracted at all and still indulged himself in his own world.

He was truly present in the here and now, between himself and his fishing rod.

I recalled a zen koan of a young novice asking his master: "What is zen?" The master simply replied: "When you eat, eat. When you sleep, sleep."

I smiled at the old man when I walked past him. He didn't return with a smile but I was thankful for the lesson he taught me.

Old man and the sea, Alexandria, Egypt.

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