Tag Archive for 'Marilyn Stablein'

The Art of Washing Clothes

Dhobi learned how to meditate from his uncle who became a monk in the Vipassana tradition.


dhobi - the art of washing clothes

dhobi – the art of washing clothes

Dhobi found he could incorporate the watching of his breath and bodily movements while washing his clothes on the banks of the river.  He was in this conscious state of squeezing, sudsing, wringing, and rinsing his clothes when he was spotted by a group of travelers searching for a guru.  They were immediately hypnotized by the transcendental manner of his washing.  Even with their limited experience they could tell that Dhobi was no ordinary washerman.

Soon “The Art of Washing Clothes as a Means to Enlightenment” became a lively topic of discussion in the tea stalls along the river.  It wasn’t long before Dhobi could be seen sitting in a lotus posture on a bluff overlooking the river while below Dhobi’s disciples perfected the art of washing clothes.

Dhobi’s fame, thus far confined to this international group of travelers, diminished when the majority of them were expelled from the country.  A periodic round-up of foreigners by the immigration police revealed that many of the visitors held expired visas.  Dhobi was perplexed by the loss of his helpers.  As the last busload of travelers was setting off for the border, Dhobi waved from the station.

“Isn’t the search for enlightenment more important than passbooks stamped in red?” he asked the Commissioner of  Police?

There was no reply.


Ticketless Traveler

Dhobi - Ticketless TravelerThe Shivaratri Festival in Kathmandu is the destination of pilgrims throughout North India. What better way to spend “Lord Shiva’s Night” than by blasting chillum after chillum in honor of the blue-throated god of the high Himalayans. Bom Shankar! Dhobi spent two days camped on the railway station platform in preparation for the trip.  A sign in the depot warned “Ticketless Travel is a Social Evil.”  Dhobi purchased a ticket and watched the comings and goings of travelers at the station.  He wanted to be extra sure of the procedure before striking out on his own.  Third Class Unreserved was in theory “first come first served.”  In actual practice, however, those who pushed hardest managed to get inside the railway car.  All others had to hang onto the outside.

When the express train pulled in, Dhobi was prepared.  As planned he was among the first to crowd into the car — but at what expense!  No sooner had he sat down when he realized something was missing–his wallet.  A thief had picked his pocket in the stampede to climb aboard.

What a dilemma!  If he left to get a new ticket, he’d lose his seat on the train.  If he stayed without a ticket, he’d risk eviction from the car.  Then Dhobi remembered, his money too was stolen.  That settled matters; there was no way to procure a ticket before the conductor came through the car.  Dhobi sat still and rehearsed his appeal as the miles clacked by.