Weeja apparently felt that he was making a crucial point as he repeated it to make certain we understood: " Contact is that instant when a sound touches my ear or a sight touches my eye. This contact lasts but an instant because right after the moment of contact, a feeling arises; desire, aversion or indifference toward the contact. Then there is memory, recognizing what the contact was and storing the information. So there is contact with a sense object, how we feel regarding this contact, and storing the experience in memory; three steps. The fourth step is when we use our imagination and rambling thoughts to create emotions about it, organize it and formulate a plan of action, coming up with many ways to grasp at and attach to desirable objects, and push away or avoid undesirable ones.

"Since these four things arise and pass as independent phenomenon, where am I to be permanently found in any of them? Where is Weeja? Is he in the initial contact? Perhaps, but what if there was no contact? Then he must be in the initial feeling - but if there was no new contact, there would be no initial feeling. So where could he be? He must be in memory. Yes, that is where Weeja is finally found - in memory, but memory is merely a record of what has transpired in the past, filed away in the mind, so every bit of memory is dead. Memory, therefore, could not be Weeja since Weeja is certainly not dead. That solves it! He must be rambling thoughts and imagination because that is all that remains. But wait a minute; rambling thoughts and imagination are based on memory, and since memory is dead, past history, then rambling thoughts and imagination must be dead also, being but a rearrangement or a new combination of the dead, past occurrences."

I kept looking back at the priest who deliberately kept his eyes away from me. I would have to confront him because apparently, whoever was with him was on his way back to the kingdom to report my whereabouts - an insurance policy for the priest who remained.

The master continued, "Now we have run out of places for Weeja to hide, haven't we? So, what is Weeja, perhaps merely an imagination? This is what we must investigate, the truth of this matter. Who or what is Weeja? Please contemplate these things every moment of every day so that you can become familiar with each aspect. Once you understand, in your heart, that the body is insubstantial and cannot be your self,' then it will be easier to accept that the mind is also insubstantial and cannot be your self.' May you all find Reality; may you find your key."

The teacher bowed to the men and walked up his stairs as the priest, surprisingly, followed him into his hut. Apparently, they knew each other, perhaps from the priest's occasional visits. Maybe he didn't recognize me after all and would continue with his business. No, that would be wishful thinking. A confrontation was unavoidable.

At any rate, my mind was more concerned with Weeja's talk than with this priest, so I rushed back to my hut and pulled out the holy man's sketch. Yes! The sketch exactly matched what Weeja had just said. There was a picture of the body. Then there was a picture of a man's head (the mind) with four small pictures above it. The first small picture was a hand in the fire, (the hand makes Contact). In the second small picture, the hand becomes burned, (there is pain, a bad Feeling, aversion). The third small picture shows the man looking at his hand, (his mind is storing the experience of having his hand burned in Memory). Finally, the fourth small picture depicts the man cooking on the fire, (now he is using his mind, Imagining and Rambling Thoughts, to adapt fire to his benefit.)

I solved the puzzle, but did I really? Apparently my job was to now study these four aspects of contact, feeling, memory and imagination, but I couldn't envision the deeper meaning of all this. I decided that I must use my powers of concentration to cut through, and remembered the sorcerer's instructions at the cottage those many years ago; " The Second Great Weapon will be how to wield this sword, the result of an investigative mind, which will lead you to a complete understanding of this body and mind. This is the necessary skill to use the sword properly so it can cut through." I decided to throw myself into this Investigation based on Weeja's instructions, but first, I had a problem to resolve with this the priest.

I made my way back to Weeja's hut and peeked in. I missed the priest who was now gone, and Weeja was just sitting quietly facing the back wall with a candle burning. I slowly began backing down the steps when I heard Weeja whisper, "Please come in."

We sat together silently for over an hour during which I restlessly considered my options: Stay and risk the lives of Weeja and the other key seekers, or leave my master before attaining the Second Great Weapon of Investigation. Weeja was the only one that could grant my second weapon, and if I left, what was I to do then? I would really be lost, perhaps never to find my way to the key again. Should I stay or should I leave?

Weeja quietly said, "You must leave . . . your thoughts at the door when you come in here.

I was so embarrassed, although I couldn't help but smile. Surely, the affairs of a king were of little interest to Weeja.

"I cannot remain here and put you and the others in danger," I replied.

Weeja said, "What danger?"

"Desperate men will come and kill me, and will kill you as well for harboring me."

This was followed by another long silence, and then he replied, "The only danger is my failure to instill within you the critical need to get on with your practice. You must investigate your mind and body with the same urgency you flee your assailants. They might be riding toward you at this very moment, just as the end of this lifetime is riding relentlessly toward you as well. Assailants or not, you have only so much time to find your key. Your assailants threaten this lifetime, but not finding the key threatens your eternal destiny." He then became silent.

I returned to my hut thinking about what he said; "What danger?" Those two words were enough to convince me to stay, for death was no threat to him or any of these men. They lived in the moment and were ready to accept what was, concerned with only following their hearts according to their understanding and they did not worry about consequences. They were true warriors.

Who are the courageous ones - soldiers killing harmless key seekers or key seekers refusing to run for their lives? Weeja reminded me of something else too; the fact that time was fleeting and I must not tarry on my quest. ( To be continued)

Author's Bio: 

E. Raymond Rock of Fort Myers, Florida is cofounder and principal teacher at the Southwest Florida Insight Center, www.SouthwestFloridaInsightCenter.com His twenty-nine years of meditation experience has taken him across four continents, including two stopovers in Thailand where he practiced in the remote northeast forests as an ordained Theravada Buddhist monk. His book, A Year to Enlightenment (Career Press/New Page Books) is now available at major bookstores and online retailers. Visit www.AYearToEnlightenment.com