The darkness was in the courtyard. There has been a scratching at the door of the Temple. The old Master put the head of the young man back on the floor. His hands had the veins inflated by the pressure of the chi. Since hours he has massaged the belly of the young man. He had put the palms on the flesh covered with its sweaty skin. He had said to it, to this flesh, to take again of force. He had spoken to it. He has spoken continually since hours. He said to it to let his chi to him, his force to him, to come in the fibers of the life of the other so that the other takes again life. He had spoken to the flesh.
- You know, you the flesh, you know it very well what your power to make be living or dying is!
The veins inflated under the effort of the pressure of his life to him who wanted to pass into the flesh of the other. He was hot. He perspired and he had removed his heavy coat.
- You know it, you the flesh, that you are carrying the life of that one. So, let you carry towards the heat of my chi and carries it to the will of the one of whom you have the responsibility.
He spoke to it. As with a friend. Because this flesh, it will have to become his friend. It will be necessary that it longs for his contact, for his presence, liking the heat that he will give it. It will be manhandled by the will of the one who will not want to take again the life among the Men. Not among those who walk standing up. Him, he has the Sight on the World of the Heaven and this World he does not want to leave it anymore. He wants to return to it!
- Hey, my friend of the earth, hey, flesh which carries the will of the man, do not let be done this madness of that one who does not want to live anymore at us.
He flattened the palms on the belly and he turned untiringly clockwise.
He had drawn aside the sides of the coat of the one which was lying. Then, with patience he had gone to the research of closings. The skins of clothing were opened the ones after the others until he comes on the whitish fabric which seemed of cotton and which covered again the belly.
He slipped the fingers under the fabric and his fingers went up the cotton on the ribs of the chest.
The ROSHI practiced inch per inch. He took knowledge with his hands of the presence of the other. Of his body. This one there was the body of his son and he must know it in its least folds.
He had come to span the basin of his son and he went up his hands, gently. His nose above the body told him the acid odor. That one also he will have to like it. Because it is from the Love that this one there will have his survival. But before he understands it and agrees to breathe it this Love, so that it is then in his veins and his breath, first it will have to be in his breath and his fibers at him, the ROSHI.
That one there will not be misled. He will know immediately the lie. He will feel like a blade into the flesh the least failure of the word with the movement of the action.
Then that one, it will be necessary to tell him the truth of the things and this truth will pass by the gestures of the one who will speak. No possible dead end for that one because that one does not want to live among the men. He will be at the research of the least failure of the men to justify his abandonment.
- Do not fear anything, my son, I will be equal to my task, muttered the old man in the half-light of the oil lamps.
He had perceived a modification of the vibration of the air long before that the sound comes and knocks on the door of the Temple. It could only be HIRO who sent a monk to carry a bowl of burning soup to him. No one else would have ventured close to the Temple while he was locked there. Each one knew here that death is the only sanction for the error. Not to respect the decisions of the Master is an error. The most serious in the Family SHIN.
Then, he had lowered the linens on the belly of his son. He had prevented the cold air from coming and seeking the rising heat in this body which returned to the life of the Men.
Then, he had slipped on the knees. The parquet made a squealing against his dresses. The night accompanied this noise of connivances and the smiles stretched the lips of the statues made of painted wood all around the room.
When the sound struck the first time the big wooden door, he had the hands full with the head of the young man. His palms led the force of the life under the skull to the pump of energy which is there, just at the top of the spine. This artery of life which makes that the Man is The One who Walks Standing up.
The sound resonated in the room of wood and the old man asked it to come with him in his hands. Those there were the drivers of the Force and he led the vibration on his palms and gave it again to the one lying on the parquet. That one started to be stuffed with the vibrations of the life of the men. He has taken care of it since hours!
Now, it was good that him also he takes some food. He has lavished his care at this body, so ugly and who did not smell very nice. But that one was his son now and he owed to him his care of father!
He said that to himself with a smile of connivance on the lips while looking at the face of this son. He has spoken to himself since hours. He has spoken to him. He said to him that he already loved him in spite of his ugliness and his odor of pig.
- Of course! It is not for anything that the Gods have chosen you for my son!
And then, they have been together now for five days. Five days of suffering for that one who pulled the carriage. He knew that he must not help her because it was her load at her and this load there was going to become her liberation. Such are the Knowledge of the Master on the nature and the needs of the Men!
The sound came back in the room. The door had vibrated once again. The monk had raised the tight hand a second time, astonished to hear nothing in the Temple.
The ROSHI had frowned. He had perceived the movement of the intention of the monk well before hearing the crack of the air when the arm rose. Then it is the sound on the wood of the door. A sound which was only the contact of a fist and of the wood. Only!
- That one does not know yet a lot of thing of the Life!
The old man pouted while putting back the head of his son on the jacket which he had tightened into four on the parquet. He stood up gently and slipped without noise on the parquet. He has never made again noise since years already. He does not remember anymore at which time his body has been part of the air and that the air has carried him.
- What do you want, you who does such a rumpus in the Universe?
The monk nearly reversed the bowl of smoking soup placed on the wood tray, with a plate on top. He had not heard the body of the Master coming behind the wooden panel against which he had the ear pressed.
When the half of the door opened suddenly, he was surprised in this ashamed position.
- It is the Master cook who makes you carry this soup of stock with bread inside, he hastened to answer while taking again his balance.
The eyes of the Master were staring at his forehead. He knew that this look there saw beyond the bones and he was ashamed of himself.
The old man slipped aside. Just to allow him to pass towards the stools against the wall at the bottom, on the right of the door.
The monk went to place the tray on the nearest stool. He knew that the half-light of the Temple was not for him now. Curious things happened in this Temple! One spoke about it endlessly in the cells. The girl? It was a funny subject of discussion! But what the Master has done since hours alone in the temple with the body of the one whom he had himself carried on his back! ….
He tried to see through the half-light of the room. He guessed a form lying between the thighs of the Force of the Compassion. Just a form which did not move. The old Master had the eyes on him and he knew it. He has to withdraw as fast as possible and he stepped back.
The ROSHI had not moved from the door. He had always the arms along the body. But the gleam at the bottom of his orbits appeared to the monk like flames which clarified his soul at him. Once again he had the certainty that the old man knew better than him what occurred in his body and his spirit. And he was ashamed of his awkward paces, of his hand which returned against the wooden gate to seize the bronze ring and to pull towards him.
He bent in front of the silhouette that was reduced between the halves of the door which came closer. He bent and he knew him also that even this gesture there was not right because it was not carrier of life.
Long after he had turned the back to the temple and that he had crossed the main courtyard to say to HIRO that he had given to the Master the food, he still felt the look of the old Master like a burn in his belly.
Because what sliced him in his flesh, this is the sadness of this look on him and he knew that this sadness was the message of the old man. It was the beauty of his teaching. It is thus that he taught them constantly. Each one of the gestures of the day and the night, each one of the meetings were a message of what the other was.
“Useless to mask you what you are,” he always said..... “It is from there that you must work because it is your only solid fulcrum!”
And the old Master, the one who each one had believed died in the mountain the last five days, because one had been thought that he had been gone away to die quietly, had just taken again his role of Master. He had just given him a new lesson. And this lesson was like a wound in the belly. Because he had just perceived the nullity of his being to always beat around the bush. Here is what emerged while the blades of the pupils pierced him.
This monk there, he was called TONG...... He had come from far. He had faced many dangers to be here. To receive the incomparable teaching of the Family SHIN. Directly from the old Master whom one said still without successor. He was Chinese. He has been ashamed of him.
When he entered the kitchen, the eyes of the other monks looked towards him. But he did not raise the forehead of the soil while passing in front of the folded legs. He went to the hearth. Without looking at it either. He let himself be guided by the heat. He stopped at two meters. In front of him there was the girl lying on the covers, with large pillows under the kidneys and the shoulders. She drank a large soup bowl with slices of bacon.
The monk put his united hands in front of his chest. Then he ascended the hands towards his forehead and he bent forwards. Without a word.
The others looked at him without understanding. The young girl had turned the head towards him and smiled to him. He did not notice this smile there. He has not seen anything but only the fire which crackled. It is in front of it that he bent. It is to it that he came to say that he had fulfilled his mission. It is to it that he says that he needed assistance. Because the eyes of the Master had searched in his belly and that had stirred up the mud. Him, in his back, he had felt the burn of the truth. It had ascended like a burning wave. It had to make the gestures of the moment. Put the tray. Step back towards the door, raise the arm and seize the bronze ring to pull the half of the door towards him. Greet the small silhouette of the Master, almost black in front of him and mixing with the half-light.
These gestures there prevented him from collapsing under the burn.
Then, it was necessary to go to say to HIRO that he had filled well his responsibility. But in the courtyard, the burn became knowledge of himself. The Master had just made him once again the gift of his life. And he was ashamed of him.
He would have liked to collapse in the mud of the courtyard and to let himself bite by the cold. He wanted to die suddenly.
But he still had a mission to fill. To say to HIRO that he had filled his mission.
Then he walked towards the kitchens. He has perceived each of the paces that he did because each one of the paces was suffering of movement which starts to know itself. It is the look and the force of the Master which gives him this presence with himself and he knows it. He knows that it is this presence which replaces him in his existence of man who walks, it is not him that has given birth to it. Then he has been ashamed. He is ashamed.
While placing a pace after the other he re-examines the passage in front of his eyes, the so disordered movement of his arm which went up to strike the fist against the wooden gate. The sound made him feel hurt. As the tilt of his long silhouette to put his ear on the wood of the door. Now he knows that his body and his spirit have recorded everything of what he is, him. Not another! Him. But the look of the Master and his Force have been needed so that in his benevolence he enables him to see himself inside him and that he ceases lying himself about him.
TONG bent in front of the fire by three times.
The young girl was astonished of this mark of respect reserved only for Great ones.
The monk remained a long time curved by a bend at right angles with the waist during the third bowing. It is as if his lips moved and it seemed that voices ceased behind, against the walls where the monks rested.
The great monk, that one who one called “One Day without Bread”, because he was nearly two meters high and was thin like a nail, straightened up. He did not put his hands in his wide sleeves of the dress. His arms slipped on the flanks and his hands were tightened. Only HIRO saw these hands turning white under the effort of the articulations tightened to make them crack.
The Master cook did not take his eyes off the long silhouette swiveling, then striding along towards the door of the kitchen, as if it fled.
The door did not bang behind him. The Chinese had closed it again with the softness of the good-bye that one gives to a friend by thanking him for having welcomed him at the corner of his fire at the time of coldness.
The night made room for the day. A small mauve day in the light which filtered from cut out summits such as wings of raptors.
The Temple kept its silence in the secrecy of the oil lamps.
Outside, there was movement since hours, well before the cocks said their song. Like each day.
However, today was not an ordinary day. The monks did not have access to the Temple for the meditation. It was led in the kitchen by HIRO.
There were brown dresses everywhere. On the tables, around them. Sometimes below for the smallest ones who slipped between the legs of the others.
Somebody had proposed to go to meditate in the refectory. There, there was room for everybody. The proposal was of good sense. But it met the black and globulous look of the Master cook. Then the monks keep silent and they did not know why.
HEIDI which had slept near the hearth that a monk fed all the night, looked at them settling down on their black cushion. Taking the position of the legs crossed in lotus. She had heard of these people who did not breathe the life in the same way. Her brother had told her on this subject. She had frowned besides and barred the forehead with a wrinkle because it seemed to her that the voice of the brother carried of respect and desire.
Now she saw them to settle down in front of the fire. And her, she was in front of them. Almost naked under the covers because the one who looked like an old Mongol of the steppes, had ordered it and she did not know why she had let the hands of the two monks do on her what she would never have believed possible. They had withdrawn her clothing to her one by one, without an added gesture. Then, once she was naked, they said to her to put a very broad tunic with sleeves which went beyond her wrists. They had laughed. She felt well in the big raspy frock on her skin. It was as if fire started to run under her flesh and that she was aware that there was a body beyond the skin.
The old man who directed his monks stared at her with an intensity that she could not support and she preferred to lower the eyes on her knees pulled against her chest.
The young monk who had put the top of the tunic on to her threw a chuckle in seeing her like that. His lips were against her ear and it seemed to her that she heard that he whispered to her: “Do not worry…. Us also we have never got used to this look!”
She is not certain to have heard. What is certain it is that contentment ran in her veins with these words, the firsts that the monks pronounced for her? Until now they had looked at her and they spoke only to the old Mongol, besides without ever looking at him in front. She had observed.
Now she was bothering.
They were all there, at least two to three hundreds, who stared at her. She was in front of the fire, in her covers that she had pulled up to the chin. She was hot. Well. For a long time she had not felt this feeling of rest of the body. She did not know what one has made her drink and eat. A kind of soup with rice and vegetables, the whole with a soya sauce. Then, it is a curious herbal tea that she gulped down before the old Mongol orders that one put the pillows flat to her and that she sleeps. Because it was the time of the sleep, it is what she understood. Moreover, they all are gone in an impressive silence. Only the movement of the dresses was heard. Hardly the one of the boots of skin. Those ones there walked like silencers!
Her brother said to her that it existed beyond the mountains very particular men. Monks or killers. One did not know very well. She had felt his desire for going to see these men there. May be to be one of them. To have a destiny, he said. Then, she had been afraid that he leaves and she had cried. He had then passed his arm around her neck and he had started to caress her nape of the neck with the flat of the palm. Until the nape of the neck heats and that the fire descends in the shoulders. Then, she knew what it was necessary to do. To suck the fire and leave the heat gain the spine. Then from there, she must ascend the heat in her head, at the top of the skull then make it descend between the two eyebrows. From there it was easy and amusing. The hot liquid passed in her tongue with a funny taste, then she felt it in her throat. He said to her that it was necessary that she brings it in her belly. Always.
She would have liked to move. Not to be in front of the looks of these monks. She would have liked, but the eyes of the Mongol stared at her on her bed and she did not dare to move while they settled down in a noise of ruffled dresses.
Then, the things were held some other way. They did not stare at the hearth anymore. They had the look in front of them, on the ground, as if they stared at a point between the stone slabs. She did not feel anymore the same pressure on the head. The Mongol did not cease observing her. It seemed to her that the look went between her two eyes. It is as an impression of puncture which was born there. A tingling which brought back her eyebrows in the middle of the forehead.
Then it is as a soft heat which was born under the bones of the skull. A little different from the one that her brother gave her on the nape of the neck. That one there widened under her bones, it was whiter and compact. As thick milk which softens the too spicy and salted dishes.
Her head gave her some silence now. A vacuum of tranquility which she had not hoped for anymore. Yes, this vacuum there, she had felt it when the old man was in her kitchen at her home and that she gave him soup.
In her kitchen at her home! The words of her head made thinking of the memory of remote countries, as if suddenly she started to know her present. It was as if she went out of a dream and that she understood it. Then, there was the present like matter and she knew why the old Mongol had ordered the meditation in front of the chimney of the kitchen and why he had wanted that she remains in her bed. She knew it with such a precision that the words did not go further and they were swallowed by the silence.
“Thank you”, she blew in her belly whereas the heat of the thick whey slipped there. Thank you!
She could not say anymore some other way. There was no more other word, of another possibility of message. When nothing anymore is possible, there is always this word there.
So, she closed the eyelids on her eyes because now, at present, there was nothing to see outside. The smile of the old Mongol was her last glow of vision while the pupils went at the bottom of her orbits. This smile there stretched the lips on the teeth. It is as if it brought back her ears ahead!
But what was the most astonishing, this is the force which came in the look of the other who saw this smile. Because this one, it remained in her eyes whereas her eyes were closed and that she had sent them to the bottom of her belly, with the hot and thick milk.
Then, she let herself be guided by the force and the heat of the look and the thick milk. She ceased fighting and the breath settled down peacefully in her belly. She followed it in the basin. Her spirit wanted one moment to continue its investigation but she heard a hot sound at her ear that said to her “NO!”
She did not open the eyes but she knew that it was the old Mongol who had slipped close to her and who accompanied her in this moment of intense life. She smiles. She could not make some other way than to smile because the words were prohibited to her. They did not have anymore room in the movement which extended in her belly. There was no more room in the brain, as if it was empty suddenly.
The old Mongol followed her and she smiles to say the only possible word. Thank you.
After the meditation which lasted one hour, the monks inclined themselves in front of the hearth which weakened.
HEIDI remained sitting on her bed, wrapped in her covers up to the chin. She had pulled her knees against the chest and had surrounded them with her arms. She held the left wrist in the right hand, without forcing. It seemed to her that heat circulated by the arms before going up in the shoulders and then makes the circuit by the head and the front of the body like her brother had taught her.
Behind, in her back, there was the hearth which heated with its glowing embers. The bowing being finished, two monks slipped behind her and they have brought back short logs on the embers. She has not moved. It seemed to her besides that she had heard “Leave!” It is a word of her brother when he did not want that she moves. “Leave!” Why these men there who are almost of his age have the same words? Curious. As their funny deep song in the middle of their meditation, before they rise a first time to walk with small paces ones behind the others. They have walked round the kitchen. During fifteen minutes. She has seen well! They progressed of a half foot at each time. Even not a pace! The ones behind the others. The look lowered. They looked at the waist of the one in front. Then there has been a sound of wood, like a log that one struck against a large plank. It came from the bottom of the kitchen. She did not see the one who had made this sound. Then the monks broke their walk and returned to their cushion. Then they again lowered the look and the silence came back.
HIRO looks at the young woman and she knows it. She feels it well this look since the very beginning. As if he had never ceased to stare at her! However, she also knows that this look there is not inquiring. It is from another space than the one that she knows. Rather of the one of the ordinary habit because it seems to her that she recognizes this space there. At least its tonality. Because it is a sound, this space and she has heard it in the ears while the monks breathed gently during the meditation.
She hears it now, while the two young novices poke the fire behind her back and that she feels their warm and laughing presence against her flank. She would have liked to turn over and ask them whether she can laugh with them. However, they do not make any noise. Why is she certain that they laugh at heartily, like it is done one morning of spring to greet the sun which passes over the crests of the mountain? And this old monk who resembles at a Mongol bonnet of old times like one showed them to her at school in the picture books!
HIRO stands up from his cushion. He is the last. All the others are already prepared.. Some of them have already left the kitchen and a cold draught comes from the courtyard.
HEIDI looks at him with her large eyes of twenty years old young woman who believes in the hope of the life. She does not know how she looks at the world, this little one! She looks at, it is all.
The old Master cook shrugs his shoulders by shaking the dress as if he wanted to dust it. Then he approaches the young girl.
- You will go today in a bungalow which will be your house. You will keep it clean as its garden. You will help at the kitchen. Such will be your tasks until others are given to you.
He had spoken with calm. The voice had not forced. These were not orders. Just facts.
Heidi felt them thus. Moreover, it is a happiness which entered her heart suddenly. She does not know why or how. It was a hot and agreeably heavy presence which took her by the chest and which radiated in the body. She liked what the old cook asked her! It is thus that she understood it and she smiles.
The old man collected the flames of the eyes of the young girl and she knew it since she did not lower them like the others. She had thus felt the happiness of the task. Then, may be one will do something of her!
- Besides the Old Master would not have brought her back if that had not been the case, he murmured between his hardly half-opened lips.
- What do you say? asked HEIDI.
She had perceived only sounds without range. HIRO knew it because these sounds there were not intended to her and it is good that the destination be well-known of the one who emits. Here is another thing that it will be necessary to learn to her! The task will be long and he feels very old suddenly, as if he became aware that he is late in life and all that it was still necessary to do.
- You did not hear anything, my daughter. Do what you have understood.
He raised the head and sought around him. He reviewed ten monks who were still in the kitchen. He seemed to look for somebody.
- Go and fetch the Chinese, he threw out in the half-light of the kitchen. He did not talk to somebody in particular. The door opened and the cold air entered. Heidi shivered.
- You will go with the one that one will take back and you will follow his directives, says HIRO while looking at the young girl again.
He seemed a little concerned, with a wrinkle between the eyebrows.
Then, Heidi felt the need to come to his assistance and she asked:
- What must I say to him and ask him?
HIRO smiles and the wrinkle of his forehead disappeared. Light was born at the bottom of his orbits and the young girl did not lower the eyes. On the contrary, it is as if she was going to be nourished by this color in the gilded blues.
The smile of HIRO widens by noticing the attention of the young girl. Of that one there, it is almost certain, one was going to do something of almost well of her.
- You will not say anything, my daughter. Him, he will know what he must.
He had said “what he must”. He has not said “what he must do” and that struck her right in the forehead as a shock which resonated under the bones of the skull. The tears came to her eyes and she did not know why. But why has he said “what he must!” And why that has touched her thus.
Suddenly she did not know anything anymore, apart from the fact that happiness was opening in her heart and that she felt in her house here, as if the one which she had left in the other valley had never existed, as if that one had never been her house. Just a point of passage.
And her brother, what he came to do here, there inside! However, she always felt him with her, even more strongly here. Then, what was in these words which made her feel dizzy?
- I do believe that one will make of you somebody of very correct, muttered the old Mongol bonze by leaving the kitchen.
The monk in front of whom he passed drew up the ear but he either did not understand the words.
He followed the silhouette which decreased in the main courtyard of the monastery. It strode along towards the doors of the Temple always closed.
The monks who swept the courtyard drew aside at his passage, the eyes lowered. But these eyes there returned on the upright back of the one who progressed.