Fantasticoe Fall 2004

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     The Apprentice

      Alonso Avila

 

      The apprentice meditated in mid-air with his mind cleared of all desires and thoughts. His mind was clean of all that marred a human's soul. He surrounded himself with a transparent spiritual force to deflect any forms of hostility that would disrupt his state of mind, Zen-like manner. No one could break his silence at this phase where he was approaching Nirvana: a stage which many have strived for, but failed to attain. No one has ever died, but many have given up meditation because it involves total concentration, dedication, and purification of the soul. Now, the apprentice was inspired to achieve what many thought was "impossible," Nirvana.

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      In January 1902, a one year old child was deserted at the Rongbuk monastery, in Tibet. His parents had left the child alone because they weren't able to raise a child of their own. Tenshin found the basket that had materialized in the night. His four brothers soon joined him, and together, in one of the tranquil antechambers of the monastery, they peered into the quiet eyes of the child who lay in the basket. His deep brown eyes seemed contemplative and shown brightly even in the dimly lit room. All five felt a budding wisdom in the infant.

      "If our discipline is balanced, he will follow it," said Tenshin.

      "Yes. Already, he walks the path of the peaceful mind," agreed Bankei.

      The monks took the child into their care. The child was not given a name. Though, the monks did what they could to support the child by helping him embrace their beliefs: to be well disciplined and to attain peace of mind. The child was never given a name, but was referred to as the apprentice as the years passed.

      When the child turned four, the monks took the apprentice to a playground so that he could interact with children his own age. Despite the sun's inevitable heat, the children continued to play diligently on this beautiful day. The sky was clear and the birds guarded the skies with their wings as they soared, and birds sang the most soothing songs.

       It turns out that the apprentice isolated himself from other children because he found the children hard to cope with. Rather, he enjoyed spending time by himself.

      "Go on and play with the children, young Apprentice," said Zenkon.

      "I have tried many times to interact with these children, but they refuse to play with me I knew something like this would happen and now they have excluded me from every game. They despise me because I don't dress and behave like them," cried the Apprentice.

      "Nonsense, they don't know what they are saying," Zenkon reassured him.

      "Of course they don't know what they are saying, but they expect me to act in an unjust manner and I refuse to act that way. They want me to fight. I have been taught not to fight and because I chose not to, they continued to ridicule me," sobbed the Apprentice.

      "Don't feel bad young Apprentice, the time will come when you will be revered by all. I believe you will find humility within yourself and peace with the people who have treated you unjustly. Don't take it out on them or yourself, but find it within your heart to disregard your anger and hate. Otherwise, it will lead you along the wrong path," said Zenkon.

      The apprentice accepted Zenkon's wisdom, but he still thought the children were stubborn, selfish, ignorant, and disrespectful. Since then, the apprentice has kept to himself a majority of the time. His isolation proved to be more appealing and relaxing; the apprentice had sensed that most people would find him to be a dark person, though most people would hardly notice his true soul.

      As the monks had wished him to do, the apprentice had dedicated to improve his soul at the age of five. He dedicated each and every afternoon to studying Buddhist scriptures and refrained from indulging worldly desires. Worldly desires consisted of anything that leads to gluttony; he desired nothing more than to be true to himself. As the hours passed, he studied diligently without rest. Many nights after studying, he practiced the art of tai'chi in a candle lit room. He meditatively exercised his mind, body, and soul to acquire tranquility until all the candles had completely melted and had become dried puddles of wax.

      The only time he could focus was during the afternoon when the raindrops would gently hit the roof of the room as he exercised. You could hear as the rain gently touched the plants as it fell on to the ground and birthed a small stream. His room had a giant statue of Buddha that also helped the apprentice concentrate. Candles surrounded the statue and each one emitted a strong force of energy infused with hope. The floor was made of wood, and the room had windows that enabled the apprentice to look through whenever he needed inspiration. Slowly, the young apprentice began to tone his muscles and his mind, but still kept his thin figure.

      Thirteen years later, he used all of his senses through meditation in order to levitate himself from the dwellings of the cave, into the light by pure focus. The apprentice had realized that most people were unworthy of living and the only way to avoid the hate and the pain was to become divine. Once he became holy and secluded from the rest of the world, he could truly become eternally and internally liberated from his violent premonitions. He read books and took trips outside of the temple to see what the rest of the world was like. During his explorations, the apprentice saw men overtaken by their desires: an angry man abusing a helpless mother; a ravenous company that turned a pristine wilderness into a wasteland by sucking out its oil; a husband wrongly abusing his wife as her blood incessantly touched solid ground; a man who committed suicide killing over 20 people in one building with a bomb strapped around his entire body.

      As his premonitions gradually began to develop graphic scenes, the Apprentice felt it was his responsibility to alter the future.

      "What is the reason to live in the world if humanity continues to destroy it? What can one person do to change a world if that person doesn't understand the meaning of change? Honestly, I don't know even know the exact meaning of change, but I know that the world has become overruled by its desire to gain power, wealth, and to kill," the Apprentice thought to himself.

      After he faced the harsh reality of humanity, he used that experience as an incentive to achieve Nirvana. Thus, humans might change the way they affect the world they live in. As a result, the apprentice began to meditate in his room until his sight gradually excelled beyond the normal vision. If he focused, he could get close up of very star in the night sky. he saw the birth and death of stars, he could also see numerous planets and the various beings that inhabited them.

      Next was his hearing and it gave him the ability to hear noises from long distances, as well as to sense sound waves beyond the galaxies.

      His sense of smell was perfected, and it enabled him to smell the redolence of lotus flowers that traveled within the western winds.

      His taste was so accurate that he was able to taste every ingredient used for making food in a dish.

      His touch was delicate that he could feel the texture of the leaves, the cells on his skin, the particles that float in the air, and so on.

      His sixth sense was instinct, which gave him the power to perform his tasks without thinking, through intuition and instinct. He fell into a state of Zen.

      His seventh sense was becoming one with the cosmos that facilitated the process for him to reach peace of mind. He had overcome many obstacles in his age and had acquired much wisdom that eventually his body had given up on him. He died because it was in his power to kill himself accordingly to time; it was almost time for the future to unfold.

      The apprentice's body was left to decay for the insects and animals to prey upon. His spirit was left intact. The spirit was able to enter the depths of Hell, yet he chose not to because he was able to walk the earth until the apprentice had chosen to take a path. Slowly, his carcass was being devoured and disappeared before his spirit. It wasn't the most appealing or the most disturbing scene, for many still did not know the meaning of pain until they had withheld the pain of the world in their souls. It was one of the worst pains one could experience; morbid and abominable. Still, his spirit was left in the same zazen position he was in during his meditation. The apprentice had overcome death by not submitting himself entirely to death's grasp.

      As he meditated, he kept his eyes open as he took deep breaths. He counted each breath until he got to ten and then started once again at one. He had to start from one again and continue breathing if he lost count. The apprentice cleared his mind of desires to attain Nirvana. The apprentice's spiritual force, that surrounded his spirit, grew stronger and immense. The power was potent and had become inevitable to overcome. The stars and the planets aligned themselves as the apprentice had become one with their own strength. Religious texts had prophesied the coming of the Apocalypse and this was just the origins of this premonition.

      The earth started to simmer because of the heat produced by the strength of the stars and planets the apprentice had conserved within his soul: the end was near. Therefore, the apprentice had achieved the eighth sense after eighty six years of meditation. The fire in his eyes glared, flames overwhelmed his body, and his spirit levitated from the Earth. The Apprentice successfully attained Nirvana, thus becoming a god.

      From outer space, the Apprentice, now the Master, had seen his last glimpse of the galaxy. The energy the Apprentice used through meditation transformed into a vortex, like a black hole that focused itself on the planets and stars. The planets and stars now aimed toward the Earth.

      The world's countries and cities turned into ruins. The people ran to churches to beg for God's forgiveness, while others begged for their lives on bended knees. People around the world cried and screamed to be saved, but they hardly had any idea about the future. The Earth broke in half as volcanoes started to emerge from the earth and oceans. The number of casualties was unimaginable.

      Therefore, it didn't take much to prevent this macabre event for the planets were about to take full collision. As a result, the apprentice conjured his inner strength to place all the planets and stars in their original positions. It was only logical for him to do this given the fact that he had turned into a god, like the Phoenix rising from the ashes of death, to cast light upon the truth. The universe was back to its original form: lives were returned to their rightful owners and the ruins were altered.

      The world was overwhelmed with trauma, but the Apprentice knew that humanity would take the world for granted in the near future. Humanity had been left in apprehension. Back on Earth, the Buddhist monks sent their prayers to the Apprentice through meditation while the world was dying. They knew that the Apprentice was the chosen one when they first gazed into his deep brown eyes. The future had been no secret to them. Thus, the Buddhist monks became dependent on the Apprentice's blessings and their admiration for his struggle to attain human excellence made him their new deity.


      Acknowledgments
      First and foremost, I would like to thank my FYS class: Danny, Valerie, Brett, Sarah, Vivek, Jackie, Evan, Erica, Chris, Jessica, Jeff, Melissa, Aaron, and Liz. But the people that I cannot forget to mention are: Terry Heller, Joi, Shauna, and Allison. My entire FYS class and staff have played a major role in helping me continue to become a better writer and a better person.
      I'd also like to thank my Writing Center associates: Deborah, Iris, Liz Nicklos, and Heather, not to mention the entire WC staff and Dr. Bob. Deborah, Iris, Liz, and Heather have definitely been very patient in helping me revise my analytical essay. I am grateful for their time and assistance. I thank them for having challenged my writing and ideas. They are the reason the analytical essay has improved.
       Most importantly, I'd like to thank my family for raising me to be myself, always having confidence in my willingness to earn my education, and showing me the importance of family. I owe them my life.
      For anyone I forgot to mention, please forgive me.