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“I have a riddle for you.”

Updated: Apr 7

The young monk, in a state of deep meditation, was not sure whether someone actually spoke to him, or whether his mind, which he thought he had stilled, was acting up. But then the voice spoke again: “I have a riddle for you.”

He opened his eyes and looked at the elderly man standing in front of him. From his attire, he knew he was not a monk, which might explain the rude interruption. But then, since it is his goal to achieve a state of desiring nothing, he should also not desire to have his peace and silence respected.

“What is the riddle?” he asked.

“How can the ant in Tibbet make it to the anthill in Tasmania?”

The monk mentally repeated the riddle:  How can the ant in Tibbet make it to the anthill in Tasmania? But where is Tasmania? Not willing to admit his ignorance, he asked:

“Does the ant know how to get to the anthill in Tasmania?”

“It only knows it is very far away, across the ocean. But neither the ant, nor insects, birds, or animals, know exactly where it is.”

“Since we are assuming that insects, birds, and animals, can discuss such a topic, and since none of them know the exact location, I take it, a human will have to take the ant there.”

“Agreed, but what if the only human who can get the ant to this anthill is the owner of the land on which the anthill has been built?

“Then the owner of the anthill will have to come to Tibbet and take the ant back with him.”

“You are wise indeed!” the old man exclaimed happily. He nodded in greeting and turned to walk away.

“Wait,” the monk called out, “what was the point of the riddle?”

The old man turned back and slowly sat down opposite the monk. He was quiet for a few moments before he spoke:

“The ant hill in Tasmania represents Heaven, a place better than the state of nirvana, for in nirvana, though there is no more suffering, there is also no sense of self. What is the point of that? In Heaven, not only will there be no suffering, but you will be more yourself than you have ever been on earth, the self you were meant to be.”

The monk frowned, he had to admit, in his quiet moments, as he was training himself to think nothing, to want nothing, to be nothing - he did wonder if there could not be a better way to escape suffering than losing your own self. His thought was interrupted by the voice of the old man who continued his explanation.

The ant represents a human, and the humans, spirit beings. There are many types of spirit beings, but they were all made by the Spirt being – God. The one who made Heaven and the only one through whom humans can make it to Heaven as the distance between us and Heaven is simply too far to complete the journey in one lifetime.”

“Ah!” the young monk exclaimed happily. Grateful that he can prove the soundness of his own belief system. “Not in one lifetime, that is why we belief in reincarnation. With enough time, surely, we can find a way.”

“Perhaps, but that would only work if we were reborn with the knowledge, maturity, and level of goodness we achieved in the previous life. But as it is, we are born with none of these. We start all over every time, that is, if the belief of rebirth is correct.”

The monk had no rebuttal, this too has troubled him in the past. The monk’s explanation did not sound reasonable either though, so he asked:

“How can God, who created all things, come from Heaven to earth? How can we survive the presence of such a powerful being?”

“A riddle indeed!” the old man agreed. “God solved it by becoming a human Himself?”

“A human Himself!? God?” The young monk asked incredulous.

“He is God, He can do whatever He wants.”

“Why would He go to all the trouble?”

“He made us. What would a good and loving father not do for his children?”

The monk was not a father, but he knew the answer to the question.

“So, if He came to get us, why are we still here? Why are we still suffering?”

“He said He is going back to prepare a place for us, when He is done, He will come back for us?”

“When did He say that?”

“Over two thousand years ago.”

“Over two thousand years ago!? And He is still not done?”

“I reckon not. Or, the number of people He prepared a place for is not complete yet. He does not force anyone to join Him, people must do so out of their own free will.”

“But what about all those who died since?”

“To be absent from the body is to be present with Him. But time works different for God. Perhaps we close our eyes here, and the next moment, it is already the day He comes back for us.”

That made sense to the monk, he often observed how he loses all sense of time when meditating.

“But if we are to choose Him, follow Him, how do we do that?”

“He left detailed instructions.” The old man said smiling, removing a small book from his tunic and handing it to the monk.


Image by 4144132 from Pixabay


Dear Reen, thank you for sharing this captivating story.

Your exploration of the journey towards enlightenment and the quest for understanding struck a chord within me. The analogy of the ant's journey to the anthill in Tasmania as a representation of our own spiritual journey towards a better existence was both thought-provoking and insightful. Moreover, the parallels drawn between the ant, humans, and the concept of Heaven sparked a profound contemplation on the purpose of our existence and our pursuit of fulfillment.

Your narrative skillfully weaved together philosophical ponderings with a compelling storyline, keeping me engaged from start to finish. As I delved into the conversation between the young monk and the wise old man, I found myself reflecting on…


Apr 08

Intriguing story with powerful analogies and truths. Thank you, Reen.

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