Mother’s Love

Mother’s Love

This year in Canada this celebrated event honors all   Mothers on Apr 14, 2017. Rightly so, after all, we all have mothers and motherhood, maternal bonds and love are all universal.

 In North America, the celebration of Mother’s Day began in the early 20th century.   A sort of latecomer, it is not related to the various celebrations of mothers and motherhood that have transpired throughout the world spanning the time of thousands of years. Some of these were:   the Roman Festival of Hilaria, Greek cult to Cybele, or the Christian Mothering Sunday Celebration (originally it had commemorated the Mother Church).   Nevertheless Mother’s Day shares the intent of these older traditions.

Click here to see Video  “Mother’s Love” :  https://youtu.be/usMRVaZhz7Y

Art throughout history has always celebrated mothers and motherhood as well.

 

Happy Mother’s Day.

Cherry Blossoms 2017 at High Park

Cherry Blossoms 2017 at High Park 

Please enjoy the video: Cherry Blossoms 2017 at High Park

 

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Cherry Blossoms pictures from Apr 27, 2017 at High Park Toronto:

 

Cherry Blossom pictures from Apr 29, 2017 At High Park :

Fin

 

Happy Easter 2017

Happy Easter 2017

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THE RABBIT CHASE

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Here’s a Lovely Easter Rabbit story

(Title: Raggedy Andy Stories

Author: Johnny Gruelle

Illustrator: Johnny Gruelle

Release Date: December 22, 2005 [EBook #17371]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1)

“Well, what shall we play tonight?” asked Henny, the Dutch doll, when the house was quiet and the dolls all knew that no one else was awake.

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Raggedy Andy was just about to suggest a good game, when Fido, who sometimes slept in a basket in the nursery, growled.

All the dollies looked in his direction.

Fido was standing up with his ears sticking as straight in the air as loppy silken puppy dog ears can stick up.

“He must have been dreaming!” said Raggedy Andy.

“No, I wasn’t dreaming!” Fido answered. “I heard something go, ‘Scratch! Scratch!’ as plain as I hear you!”

“Where did the sound come from, Fido?” Raggedy Andy asked when he saw that Fido really was wide awake.

“From outside somewhere!” Fido answered. “And if I could get out without disturbing all the folks, I’d run out and see what it might be! Perhaps I had better bark!”

“Please do not bark!” Raggedy Andy cried as he put his rag arm around Fido’s nose. “You will awaken everybody in the house. We can open a door or a window for you and let you out, if you must go!”

“I wish you would. Listen! There it is again: ‘Scratch! Scratch!’ What can it be?”

“You may soon see!” said Raggedy Andy. “We’ll let you out, but please don’t sit at the door and bark and bark to get back in again, as you usually do, for we are going to play a good game and we may not hear you!”

“You can sleep out in the shed after you have found out what it is,” said Raggedy Andy.

As soon as the dolls opened the door for Fido, he went running across the lawn, barking in a loud shrill voice. He ran down behind the shed and through the garden, and then back towards the house again.

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Raggedy Andy and Uncle Clem stood looking out of the door, the rest of the dolls peeping over their shoulders, so when something came jumping through the door, it hit Uncle Clem and Raggedy Andy and sent them flying against the other dolls behind them.

All the dolls went down in a wiggling heap on the floor.

It was surprising that the noise and confusion did not waken Daddy and the rest of the folks, for just as the dolls were untangling themselves from each other and getting upon their feet, Fido came jumping through the door and sent the dolls tumbling again.

Fido quit barking when he came through the door.

“Which way did he go?” he asked, when he could get his breath.

“What was it?” Raggedy Andy asked in return.

“It was a rabbit!” Fido cried. “He ran right in here, for I could smell his tracks!”

“We could feel him!” Raggedy Andy laughed.

“I could not tell you which way he went!” Uncle Clem said, “Except I feel sure he came through the door and into the house!”

None of the dolls knew into which room the rabbit had run.

Finally, after much sniffing, Fido traced the rabbit to the nursery, where, when the dolls followed, they saw the rabbit crouching behind the rocking horse.

Fido whined and cried because he could not get to the rabbit and bite him.

“You should be ashamed of yourself, Fido!” cried Raggedy Ann. “Just see how the poor bunny is trembling!”

“He should not come scratching around our house if he doesn’t care to be chased!” said Fido.

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“Why don’t you stay out in the woods and fields where you really belong?” Raggedy Andy asked the rabbit.

“I came to leave some Easter eggs!” the bunny answered in a queer little quivery voice.

“An Easter bunny!” all the dolls cried, jumping about and clapping their hands. “An Easter bunny!”

“Well!” was all Fido could say, as he sat down and began wagging his tail.

“You may come out from behind the rocking horse now, Easter bunny!” said Raggedy Andy. “Fido will not hurt you, now that he knows, will you, Fido?”

“Indeed I won’t!” Fido replied. “I’m sorry that I chased you! And I remember now, I had to jump over a basket out by the shed! Was that yours?”

“Yes, it was full of Easter eggs and colored grasses for the little girl who lives here!” the bunny said.

When the Easter bunny found out that Fido and the dolls were his friends, he came out from behind the rocking horse and hopped across the floor to the door.

“I must go see if any of the eggs are broken, for if they are, I will have to run home and color some more! I was just about to make a nice nest and put the eggs in it when Fido came bouncing out at me!”

And with a squeaky little laugh the Easter bunny, followed by Fido and all the dolls, hopped across the lawn towards the shed. There they found the basket. Four of the lovely colored Easter eggs were broken.

“I will run home and color four more. It will only take a few minutes, so when I return and scratch again to make a nest, please do not bark at me!” said the Easter bunny.

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“I won’t! I promise!” Fido laughed.

“May we go with you and watch you color the Easter eggs?” Raggedy Andy begged.

“Indeed you may!” the Easter bunny answered. “Can you run fast?”

Then down through the garden and out through a crack in the fence the Easter bunny hopped, with a long string of dolls trailing behind.

When they came to the Easter bunny’s home, they found Mama Easter bunny and a lot of little teeny weeny bunnies who would someday grow up to be big Easter bunnies like their Mama and Daddy bunny.

The Easter bunny told them of his adventure with Fido, and all joined in his laughter when they found it had turned out well at the end.

The Easter bunny put four eggs on to boil and while these were boiling he mixed up a lot of pretty colors.

When the eggs were boiled, he dipped the four eggs into the pretty colored dye and then painted lovely flowers on them.

When the Easter bunny had finished painting the eggs he put them in his basket and, with all the dolls running along beside him, they returned to the house.

“Why not make the nest right in the nursery?” Raggedy Andy asked.

“That would be just the thing! Then the little girl would wonder and wonder how I could ever get into the nursery without awakening the rest of the folks, for she will never suspect that you dolls and Fido let me in!”

So with Raggedy Andy leading the way, they ran up to the nursery and there, ‘way back in a corner, they watched the Easter bunny make a lovely nest and put the Easter eggs in it.

And in the morning when Marcella came in to see the dolls you can imagine her surprise when she found the pretty gift of the Easter bunny.

“How in the world did the bunny get inside the house and into this room without awakening Fido?” she laughed.

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And Fido, pretending to be asleep, slowly opened one eye and winked over the edge of his basket at Raggedy Andy.

And Raggedy Andy smiled back at Fido, but never said a word.

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Happy Easter Everyone

A Tulip’s Tale

A Tulip’s Tale

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The word tulip was first mentioned in Western Europe, in the context of “Turkish Letters” of a diplomat Ogier Ghiselin de Busbercq in about 1554.  This was the time of Ottomans wore typical Turkish tülbend (“muslin” or “gauze”). The correlation between turban and the Tulip flower came about because the tulip in full bloom resembled a turban.  The name Tulip is derived from tulipa or tulipant, tulipe by French and tulīpa in modern Latin.  

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Did you know that the Tulip can be given as the 11th wedding anniversary flower?  It is said that the tulip’s velvety black center represents a lover’s heart, darkened by the heat of passion.  

Tulips as you well know come in various colors and each carry an important meaning:

Yellow tulips once were associated with jealousy and hopeless love. Lately however, yellow tulips have gained a sunnier disposition; it now represents hope and cheerful thoughts. You may give a yellow tulip bouquet to a good friend as a caring get-well gift. Yellow is also the color of friendship, which makes it great for a just-because floral gift.

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White conveys forgiveness. White tulips are the flowers to pick for an apology bouquet. You may also include with it some chocolates as a worthwhile gesture to elicit a favorable response.

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Multi-hued tulips, being the most versatile, can express varied messages to that special someone.  For instance, striped tulips may symbolize a lover’s beautiful eyes, as do tulips with blotched, multicolored petals.

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Purple represents loyalty. If you want to let her know that she is your queen, choose an arrangement of purple tulips. Purple can also be used to express admiration for a loved one’s accomplishments.

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Pink flowers express happiness and confidence. This makes them a very good choice when congratulating a friend on a new job or promotion. The flower meaning of pink tulips is the awakening of love. Pink tulips remind me of the lovely little girl in one of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales: Thumbelina.

Thumbelina is a story about a girl who is born from a tulip flower. One day this thumb-sized girl is kidnapped and was carried far, far away. When the destination was finally reached she was then forced to marry a toad.  While in the Toad’s abode however, she comes upon a wounded swallow and with tender loving care, saves him. The ever so grateful swallow, fully recovered, rescues her from her harsh circumstances in return. He then takes her to the Kingdom of Flowers and there she falls in love with and marries the handsome prince of the kingdom. She lives happily ever after.

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And finally, Red means perfect love and as well, evokes passion and romance. Did you know that in Persia, people give red tulips when they propose? Red tulips have the meaning of eternal love; therefore it’s an ideal choice for expressing deep affections to that someone special.

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Here’s a Turkish legend that may have contributed to this belief. As the tragic story goes, once a handsome prince named Farhad fell madly in love with a beautiful a maiden named Shirin. Capricious fate however saw to it that Shrin met her untimely demise during the digging of a new replacement well for her village.  When Prince Farhad learned of this he was so overcome with grief that he rode his horse over the edge of a cliff. It’s said that a scarlet tulip sprang up from each droplet of his blood, giving the red tulip the meaning “perfect love.”

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 Then there is this legend that is told in the Netherlands.

Three knights are enamored by a beautiful girl. Each in turn proposes and presents her with a gift. One gives her a crown which indicates fame. The second one presents her with a mighty sword indicative of power. The third gives her gold which is indicative of property.

The beautiful girl remains in a quandary.  As she cannot choose one over the other, she seeks the Queen of Flower’s help. She pleads with Her Majesty to change her into a flower, and being granted this request, the lovely girl is transformed into a Tulip. Here, as one can see, the crown is the flower, the sword is the leaf, and the gold is the eventual transformation to a bulb.

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One of the Greek myths is about tulips:

Once, there was a pretty girl named Tulip. One day, the god of autumn while he is about, spotted this enchanting beauty and fell deeply in love. His infatuation grew with each encounter even though she blatantly resisted his declaration of love.

When yet again chancing on her while she was picking flowers he accosted her. She in desperation ran off and sought help from the God of Virginity. Kneeling before Artemis, she pleaded with the Goddess to rescue her from the pesky lover, which the Goddess did … by changing her into a tulip.  

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Last but not least, here’s a lovely English Folk Tale:

The Tulip Fairies

Once upon a time there was an old woman who lived by herself in a little house. She grew a bed of beautiful multi-colored tulips in her garden, which she would cut and bring into the house, to cheer herself up.

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One night she was woken up by the sounds of sweet singing and of babies laughing. She looked out of the window and the sounds seemed to be coming from the tulip bed, but she couldn’t see anything.   The next morning she walked among her flowers, but there were no signs of anyone having been there the night before.

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On the following night she was woken up again by sweet singing and the sound of babies laughing. She rose and stole softly through her garden. The moon was shining brightly on the tulip bed, and the flowers were swaying to and fro. The old woman looked closely and she saw, standing by each tulip, a little fairy mother who was crooning and rocking the flower like a cradle, while in each tulip cup lay a little baby fairy laughing and playing.

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The old woman was a kind-hearted soul, and so she stole quietly back to her house, and from that time on she never picked another tulip, nor did she allow her neighbors to touch them.

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The tulips grew brighter in color and larger in size day by day, and they gave off a delicious perfume, like that of roses. They began to bloom all the year round too. And every night the little fairy mothers caressed their babies and rocked them to sleep in the flower cups.

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Eventually, the day came, as it must, when the good old woman died, and the tulip bed was torn up by people who did not know any better, they didn’t know about the fairies, they didn’t know about the babies, and instead of tulips they planted parsley, but the parsley withered, and died, and so did all the other plants in the garden, and from that time on nothing would grow there.

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But the good old woman’s grave grew beautiful, for the fairies sang above it, and kept it green – while on the grave and all around it there sprang up tulips, daffodils, and violets, and all the other lovely flowers of spring.

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The End.

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day

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Saint Patrick’s Day, celebrated on Mar 17 annually, may have begun as a commemoration of Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity to early 17th century Ireland. It was observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion (especially the Church of Ireland), the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Lutheran Church.

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 Later still, it evolved into a celebration of Irish heritage and culture.  Today however, this day is celebrated by many worldwide regardless of religion or race. On that day everyone plays at being Irish all in good fun.  Festivities generally include parades and festivals, cèilidhs, and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks.

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Those that are religious do attend church services and observe the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol that are lifted for the day.  The rest simply have fun dressed up in green, having green parties and lots and lots of drinking. Perhaps it’s because of the Irish people’s legendary fondness for alcohol, particularly Irish whiskey, beer or cider that has fostered this binge; making this an integral part of the celebrations. 

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Especially since The St Patrick’s Day custom of “drowning the shamrock” or “wetting the shamrock” was historically popular in Ireland and now spreading to the rest of the world. For those of you not in the know, at the end of the celebrations, a shamrock is put into the bottom of a cup, which is then filled with whiskey, beer, or cider. It is then drunk as a toast to St Patrick, Ireland, or those present. The shamrock would either be swallowed with the drink or taken out and tossed over the shoulder for good luck.

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The custom of wearing green shamrocks, green clothing, and accessories also has its reasons:

 St Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish.  In pagan Ireland, three was a significant number and the Irish had many triple deities, a fact that may have aided St Patrick in his evangelistic efforts. The shamrock may have been represented because of its regenerative powers and was recast in a Christian context near Easter‍. Icons of St Patrick are often depicted with a cross in one hand and a sprig of shamrocks in the other- a sort of a visual concept to explain the Trinity.

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This said; there is now room for some debunking and reveal actual historical facts:

First of all, St. Patrick was British, not Irish.  He was born in Scotland in the year 387 when the Roman Empire controlled Britain. At 16 years old he was captured by Irish pirates and forced into slavery for six years before he escaped. He went to Rome where he became a priest.  He was subsequently assigned to England but afterwards sent to Ireland as Bishop of the Catholic mission.

The popular belief that St. Patrick achieved sainthood by driving the snakes from the Isle of Ireland is unfortunately false also. It’s more likely Ireland never had any snakes; this fact was proven according to National Geographic. For during the Ice Age, about 10,000 years ago, the climate in Ireland was rather inhospitable to the cold-blooded reptiles. So snakes never caught on.

A more likely explanation would be that the “snakes” are an allegory for Druids. Patrick converted the Druids to Christianity and apparently was very successful at it; so successful in fact that in 1946 Pope Paul VI declared Ireland to be the “most Catholic country in the world.”

 

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Have a good St. Patrick Day.

 

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Good luck to you all.

The Tunnel

The Tunnel

(A re-write of Zen Mondo)

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Once upon a time in a frontier town the brash young son of a Warrior, named Doku, desiring  to experience more of life after the death of his father, left his rigid and  regulated circumstance and embarked on a long journey towards the Capital.

He was a agile and strong young man and highly skilled in sword fighting.  Halfway to the Capital he came upon a large estate on the periphery of a prosperous town.

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The estate holder, Esquire Zaven’s first wife had died suddenly at childbirth leaving behind a squalling son.  The property was enormous with many fields surrounding it that constantly needed tending. The historic mansion perched on a hilltop, supported a large household.  As Zaven was always away on business, he’d been forced to re-marry in haste, acquiring a seemingly competent spouse to run the groundskeepers and the household staff in his absence. Doku, carrying exemplary credentials had no trouble securing the recently vacated position of a head Steward. Unfortunately during the course of his stay there he became enamored of the beautiful young wife of Esquire Zaven.  Doku was a fetching young man with a fine physique that before long caught the eye of the young wife.  

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Once when Esquire Zaven was away on business, Doku   chanced a clandestine meeting with the lady in which he professed his deep affections for her. She was an easy conquest and the two became instant lovers.  The Esquire however returned unexpectedly early from his recent trip and so the illicit affair was exposed. Confronting the enraged husband, the culprit Doku slew the outraged Zaven in self-defense.  Faced with this dire circumstance and facing certain death, the two lovers ran away.

 

Always on the run and with scant options for survival, Doku became a highwayman.  His skill was unmatched and any resistance was swiftly squashed.

 

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The spoils provided the couple with many luxuries. But still, it was never enough for the former wife. Greed dulled the appeal of this once beautiful woman and her demands, by degrees, caused Doku to grow increasingly disgusted with her.  Finally he left her and resumed his journey, but not to the Capital. 

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Eventually he settled down to a frugal life in a remote frontier town at the base of a mountain, where he became known as a solitary mendicant. 

As he matured he felt increasing remorse for his past sins. Ghosts regularly haunted his dreams calling for him to atone for his crimes, particularly the felony that had started it all.  Finally, after all this soul searching, Doku’s thoughts centered on the dangerous cliff road over the mountain and the countless souls it had caused death and injury to.

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“Yes, I shall do it.” He nodded resolutely. As his atonement for all his past crimes he resolved to cut a tunnel through the mountain.  He knew it would be a most ambitious feat but he desperately needed to accomplish a good turn that may, in part, eradicate some of his sins. 

He set to work the very next day. From then on during the daylight hours Doku worked tirelessly doing any sort of labor, no matter how dangerous or loathsome. At night, after a modest meal and a brief repast, he hefted his pick and packed his shovel then travelled on horseback to the foothills. He spent the first several weeks surveying the region’s topography.  From a hidden cave opening he started digging the tunnel until daylight broke. He made good use of the existing natural caverns, connecting them by digging short tunnels between them. By the time thirty years had gone by, the length of the tunnel reached 2,280 feet. Doku had almost achieved his goal of creating a secure pathway deep under the mountain.  In a two more years he would reach his goal.

Before the work was complete however, the slain Esquire’s son Bron, who had become a skilled swordsman caught up with Doku. Bent on revenge, Bron lay in wait behind a huge boulder on a deserted stretch of path to spring his ambush.  Doku with his experience as a highwayman had naturally sensed the presence of danger and dismounted. Holding the reins, Doku took the rocky path in bold strides that caused Bron to hesitate.

Bron paralleled the path for a time waiting for another opportunity to strike, then, brandishing his sword, jumped in front to block Doku’s way.  Proclaiming his name, he shouted: “I’m here to avenge my father Esquire Zaven Ko, whom you’ve so foully murdered.  Be prepared to die, vermin!”

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On the verge of receiving the death blow, Doku maintained his calm composure and stated his protest, “”I will give you my life willingly; only, let me finish this crucial work first. On the day of its completion, I swear I will stand ready to receive my punishment.”

Doku’s courage and earnest demeanor convinced the son to postpone his revenge to a later time. And so Bron temporarily set aside the blistering rage swelling his chest and, night after night, followed Doku to the tunnel and watched him work. In all that time, even with a death sentence hovering over his head Doku’s diligence never once wavered.  He removed the rock with his pick and then constructed post and beam supports from the surrounding trees to buttress the walls of the tunnel. In this way several months passed. Doku, even when sick worked hard at the dig.  

Eventually Bron grew tired of doing nothing but watch Doku. In order to keep fit and to hasten the end result, he simply showed up with a pick. No words were exchanged as he worked alongside Doku on the dig.

After he had helped for more than a year, keeping a close eye on the other even during the day, Bron gradually came to admire Doku’s strong will and steadfast character.  Bron witnessed firsthand many of other’s charitable ways: his unwavering assistance to the sick and old and the countless anonymous generous donations to the needy, even though it meant at times going without food and clothing. He took note how Doku most brave in defending the weak: so many lives were spared fending off the local hoodlums and many widows and orphans fared better or survived their harsh circumstance, because of Doku’s cavort aid.

At long last couple hours before dawn the tunnel was finally complete. Now the people could use it and travel in safety. Covered in dust and dirt,  Doku now prostrated himself before Bron in readiness for death.

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“Thank you for your patience and help. Now you may cut off my head. I bear you no ill will. My work is done.”

“How can I cut off my own teacher’s head?” asked Bron lowering his head with tears brimming in his eyes.

The End.

What’s maturity

What’s maturity

(Definition provided by Buddhist Lamas)

The Twelve steps of maturity

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