Thursday 7th October 2010 - The Parable of the Raft

The 7th October 2010 turned out to be a pivotal day for Dave & Kate.  Only 4 days in and as they found themselves about to check-out of Citadines, they only had two real options for apartments. One was down the road, on La Ramblas, a small basic studio flat with no internet access.  The other was in the Eixample district, which they weren't familiar with but was a little bigger and did have internet access.

As Kate was on the phone to the woman who owned the latter apartment, there was a recognition this was the right one.  It could be heard in Kate's voice during the phone conversation.  They both agreed it had to be this apartment, even if it cost a little more.  The woman's name was Susanna, a Spaniard, who was currently working in Oman (an omen perhaps?).

So they attempted to secure the apartment by emailing Susanna just before they were due to check-out of Citadines when they were hit with internet trouble and couldn't connect.  After check-out they took advantage of the free wi-fi in the lobby to attempt to sort things out but still no luck.

They made their way towards Susanna's apartment anyway and Kate tried to reach her on the phone.  Susanna was surprised to find they were just streets away from her apartment when they finally confirmed things and she arranged a cleaner to come and gave them a check-in time.  The only money she wanted in advance was for them to pay the cleaner 30 Euros.  It was the day before they left 3 weeks later before she took any rent from them and she had none of their details other than Kate's first name. 

As they had all their bags with them and nowhere to drop them off, they sat for a few hours on a park bench nearby.  They had been there for over an hour, relaxed in the afternoon sun, when a young man approached them on his bike.  In need of directions and apparently in need of a raft more than them, he didn't bother introducing his friend who was behind them.  In one swift moment they were now without their laptop, U.G. Krishnamurti and a bottle of olive oil. 

A young woman had also approached them not long before that for directions as they sat in a cafe with their bags around them.  She left with a smile but took nothing.

What is that famous parable of The Buddha, The Parable of the Raft...

The Buddha then asks the listeners a question: “What would you think if the man, having crossed over the river, then said to himself, ‘Oh, this raft has served me so well, I should strap it on to my back and carry it over land now?’”

The monks replied that it would not be very sensible to cling to the raft in such a way.

The Buddha continues: “What if he lay the raft down gratefully, thinking that this raft has served him well, but is no longer of use and can thus be laid down upon the shore?”

The monks replied that this would be the proper attitude.

The Buddha concluded by saying, “So it is with my teachings, which are like a raft, and are for crossing over with — not for seizing hold of.”

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