Diana holds her "monkey" at the China training center.

The Monkey and The Horse

  by Diana Bynum

In a farming village in India, a woman was cooking food in a large pot over an open fire near her house.   Her husband was meditating nearby.  Their monkey was tied in the upper branches of a tree near the house and their horse tied underneath the same tree.  Also near the house was a large stone mill where their donkey was resting but still tethered to the mill.

The woman was suddenly called away and left with the food uncovered in the pot.  Soon the monkey realizing that the woman was gone untied himself and ate all the food she had been cooking. The husband, meditating, did not notice. After the monkey finished eating, he untied the horse and swatted the donkey.  The donkey began to move the grinding stone.  The man, meditating, did not notice the mill turning and put no grain in the mill. The monkey then climbed back up in the tree and tied himself back to a branch.

When the woman returned the man was still meditating unaware that the food was gone and that the donkey was now exhausted from turning an empty mill that produced no grain.   The woman immediately blamed the horse since it was still untied and grazing near the empty pot.  The man continued to meditate.


Luke’s  story of the monkey and the horse became and is one of the foundations of my practice here at the retreat in China. 

Gradually I have been able to connect the characters in the story to the movements and goals of the practice of Chi-Lel.  In the story as I understand it, the woman represents our sp;irit; the man, our chi; the monkey, our mind; the horse, our body and the donkey, action or power.

My focus is to activate all of the elements:  spirit, mind, body, chi to work together to produce power and action:  action that can occur without exhausting and depleting the body.  The spirit directs the mind to activate the chi which in turn moves the body producing action/power and eliminating blockages.

The trick, of course, for me is to keep my mind focused in the daintain area using my imagine of the grinding wheel turning and self powered to activate the Chi.   Keeping this story in mind and using other principles that Luke teaches here in the retreat has fundamentally changed my practice and produced a vitality and depth  that I had not experienced until now.


(Editor's Note: Luke's story is based on an old Indian story told by Mr. L.V. Popat)