The Three Fishes

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rodger

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Feb 9, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/9/00
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Jay wrote:
>
> I would personally be interested if anyone would offer me their insights
> about the story, The Three Fishes, at the beginning of Tales of the
> Dervishes.

Hi Jay,

Well here's my take on it FWIW,

The first fish represents a person who acts from a position of
information, observation and method. And thus is able to avoid
the frying pan. This fish could also be considered a teacher.

The second fish represents one who is half-learned but is able
learn enough from the actions of first fish so he can also
avoid the fisherman. This fish I call the student.

The third fish represents heedlessness and it's consequences.

This is one possible interpetation.


Rodger

Jay

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Feb 10, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/10/00
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azo charif

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Feb 10, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/10/00
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my first impression about it is to contrast between intuitive behaviour and
imitative behaviour and how the latter loses its value as is deluted by
repeated imitation without regard for the altering circumstances.
Jay <nob...@nowhere.org> wrote in message
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Jay

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Feb 10, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/10/00
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azo charif wrote:
> my first impression about it is to contrast between intuitive behaviour
and
> imitative behaviour and how the latter loses its value as is deluted by
> repeated imitation without regard for the altering circumstances.


Fair enough. But what is the meaning of being in and out of the "water"
and of "holding the breath"?


azo charif

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Feb 11, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/11/00
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may be it is analogical to Avicenna story of the exiled soul cited at the
end of the same book..being in the water is the primordial state of the
soul.. out of the water as it enters this world where it has the chance to
return back to where it comes from..and some souls do return and some like
the third fish they just unfortunely perish..may be..as' to holding the
breath'i havent got a clue...
regards
azo

Jay <nob...@nowhere.org> wrote in message
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>
>
> azo charif wrote:
> > my first impression about it is to contrast between intuitive behaviour
> ande

azo charif

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Feb 11, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/11/00
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' holding the breath'may represent the sufi way that allows the return
safely to the the origine represented by the water...breath in arabic is
nafas which also stands for self so holding the nafas stands for observing
and subsequently knowing the nafas which is the central method of sufism
for the way back to origin...

azo charif <a...@chari.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in message
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azo charif

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Feb 11, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/11/00
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actually i just remembered that literally'holding the breath' means in
persan'habs i dam' and in arabic 'habs nafas' which is a technical name for
a very well known sufi breathing exercise.....

azo charif <a...@chari.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in message
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michel

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Feb 11, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/11/00
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In article <01bf7360$4f477140$9d2267cf@default>,

"Jay" <nob...@nowhere.org> wrote:
> I would personally be interested if anyone would offer me their
insights
> about the story, The Three Fishes, at the beginning of Tales of the
> Dervishes.
>

1) Why doesn't the first fish tell the others to just lay beside him in
the small hole under the bank?

2) Breath - the technique is essential but out of context, it may be
totally useless.

3) The understanding of the first fish badly fares when transmitted to
an ill-prepared or misgifted one.

4) The second fish's salvation is due as much by luck (the open flap) as
by his grasp of the situation.

5) All this to feed a cat. From this viewpoint however, only the fish
that successfuly stays out of water can achieve its purpose.

Michel


Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.

Jay

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Feb 13, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/13/00
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Here is my own take on the story, which has improved a bit after reading
what others had to say.

The three fishes represent people who enjoy a certain communion with the
truth, represented by the water. The fisherman represents a person who
wants to disrupt that communion, to objectify the fish and make them into
supper. It is an attention situation. The first fish represents the right
way to deal with the situation, to play dead first and escape notice after.
The second fish does not play dead, but escapes notice only after effort.
The third fish is of course unsuccessful, but the intruder takes him to be
useless for a meal anyway and feeds him to his cat because of his
incomplete efforts.


azo charif

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Feb 13, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/13/00
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although i ve been reading this story along with others for years i never
figured out what it is about but as Jay brought it into discussion here i
tried to give it a few minutes of serious contemplation and then different
meanings started to emerge especially with the help of other participants
interpretations as clues .it seems to me that each story could be used
almost as a meditation exercise when differnt meanings unfold gradually
besides its SUPPOSED direct developmental effects .this process is best
depicted by the story of dhunnoun el-misri contemplating the 'statue' at the
Pyramids.
REGARDS

azo
Jay <nob...@nowhere.org> wrote in message
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William F. Zachmann

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Feb 13, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/13/00
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"And this history is the origin of a strange saying current among the people
of that land, yet whose beginnings have now been forgotten. The saying is:
'Those who want fish can achieve much through fish, and those who do not
know their heart's desire may first have to hear the story of the wooden
horse."

(The above is the last paragraph of the story title "The Magic Horse". That
story may be found in Idries Shah's book, "Caravan of Dreams", pp. 95-104)

All the best,

will

P.S. A question that may be worth thinking about: Are Homer's Illiad and
Odyssey sufi stories? Why (or why not)?

P.P.S. A thought that occurs to me, in passing, is that one might say that
sufis are best recognized (if they are recognized as all) not so much by
what they do as by what they do not do.


"azo charif" <a...@chari.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in message

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gree...@my-deja.com

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Feb 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/14/00
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"William F. Zachmann" <w...@CanopusResearch.com> wrote:

> P.S. A question that may be worth thinking about: Are Homer's Illiad and Odyssey sufi stories? Why (or why not)?
>

Interesting question. I suppose I'd wonder to what
extent Homer's stories are based on historical events.
Certainly, myths like "Jason & the Golden Fleece" or
a tragedy like "Oedipus Rex" have certain "elements."

G.

fariz

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Feb 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/14/00
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Ah! trust the intellect to keep the fish always a fish and in the deep. I
wonder what is meant by "die before you die?"

Jay <nob...@nowhere.org> wrote in message

Buck

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Feb 14, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/14/00
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William F. Zachmann suggested:

A question that may be worth thinking about: Are Homer's Illiad and
Odyssey sufi stories? Why (or why not)?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
-----------------

Idries Shah claimed that:

"The teaching story was brought to perfection as a communication
instrument many thousands of years ago"

(Caravan of Dreams; p 83 ; Quartet edition)

How could we test the truth of Shah's assertion?

Well, we could--quite arbitarily--decide to treat Homer's tales
as examples of 'communication instruments' and see what
we think they might be communicating.
-----------------------------------------------------------

patrick...@my-deja.com

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Feb 15, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/15/00
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In article <88189g$a69$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,

michel <mic...@my-deja.com> wrote:
> In article <01bf7360$4f477140$9d2267cf@default>,
> "Jay" <nob...@nowhere.org> wrote:
> > I would personally be interested if anyone
would offer me their
> insights
> > about the story, The Three Fishes, at the
beginning of Tales of the
> > Dervishes.
> >
> I believe that the first fish represents the
few people in this world who have common sense.
He's the one who saw what he had to do and did it.
And as a reward he got away unharmed. The second
fish represents the "happy-go-lucky" type, whose
fortune has little to do with their own actions,
but rather the actions of others and whatever
happens to them, whether it be good or bad, just
does. These are the drifters in life who take
things as they come. The third fish represents
the people who can't succeed on their own, the
leeches.
Does anyone know about the band "Three Fish"? I
have never actually read the story. I know it
because this band set it to music. Very
interesting and worth checking out if you've never
heard it. Pearl Jam's bass player Jeff Ament
plays guitars/basses. Doesn't sound anything like
PJ though.

xb...@my-deja.com

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Feb 15, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/15/00
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My first (in this latest reading) thoughts were that the story
might illustrate something about the understanding vs. assumption axis,
the difficulty of true understanding, and the deceptiveness of
appearances; the moral being something like do not confuse appearance
and assumption with true understanding. It works as follows: First
fish's partial (Why doesn't it simply glide to the depression right
off?) understanding is sufficient to achieve its survival. (Note that
its "thinking" about its decision to act may just as easily be explained
as seeking a rationale for its primary impulse to action--the
"decision.") Second fish , in lieu of understanding, assumes 1) that
first fish can or has conveyed its understanding and 2) that the same
conditions hold. The second fish's apparent fortune doesn't depend on
understanding, rather ironically, on the confusion of the man. The
third fish wrongly makes the same assumptions as the second fish, but
its fate is sealed by the man's greed. However, this explanation leaves
many puzzles: why does the man care if the fish are alive; why take the
third fish dead to his cat, but not the first (apparently dead fish);
why don't the fish simply go to the depression; etc.? I thought that
perhaps our confusion and lack of complete understanding mirrored the
conditions in question in the story, in our own minds as we puzzled with
the story.

Upon further reflection another more plausible explanation occurred
to me. Suppose that the fisherman represents a seeker (or search);
fishing the search for truth, higher consciousness. Suppose that the
fish represent different thoughts, ways of thinking, or experiences
"living" in the man's mind (pool--unconscious?) or seeker's experience.
In this case, the "clever" fish represents balanced, wholistic, or
complete thought ("Calling upon his experience, the stories...heard,
...his cleverness....") or mystic intuition and understanding, hence
perception of the truth. However, the truth or perceptive capacity
conceals itself from the unregenerate seeker or unguided search (by
playing dead) and the fisherman (seeker) cannot recognize it, rejecting
it (tosses fish back). The second "half-clever" fish may represent the
one-sided, linear, simply logical way of thinking. Logic as a means/way
to the truth is limited in its usefullness and cannot either by
proximity in the mind or by imitation in process convert itself into
perception, nor conceal itself (protect the seeker from its ill use).
This form of thought preserves itself as a consequence of the seeker's
confusion in his search and heedlessness (leaves satchel open). The
third fish represents the seeker's IMAGINATION (...now I understand...")
that he understands; this MISunderstanding successfully conceals itself
(holds breath) and finally motivated by his greed, the seeker carries
away misunderstanding, settling for imagination. Even imagination, he
cannot make proper use of, but "feeds to the cat."

Buck

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Feb 15, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/15/00
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Below is an extract from an interview that
the sociobiologist Robin Fox gave to 'SKEPTIC' (vol 4 NO.1, 1996)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------


Skeptic: Can we turn all this around and look at storytelling
from Homer and the Bible to "Melrose Place" and "Murder One"
in evolutionary terms?

Fox: Joseph Carroll has taken the lead in arguing that
evolution gives you a reference point from which to judge
literature. This, is of course, is anathema to the relativists
and the hermeneuticists. If you know something about the
evolution of sexual selection and the role of female choice
and the evolution of breeding hierarchies and how they've
become instantiated in our own species, you can then look
at literature in those terms. Epic literature and the "great
novels" can be evaluated in evolutionary terms. The prime
mover is usually some kind of sexual conflict for the fertile
female between older, established males and younger
males. In the Illiad, it's Agamemnon versus Achilles over
Briseis...
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

For an expansion on this argument see:

{Fox, R (1995) "Sexual Conflict in the Epics."
in Human Nature, Vol. 6 #2, pp. 119-134}

BTW: one confesses to being a "relativist and hermeneuticist"
but one is clean out of anathema at the moment:)

Buck

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Feb 16, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/16/00
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William F. Zachmann suggested:

A question that may be worth thinking about: Are Homer's Illiad and
Odyssey sufi stories? Why (or why not)?
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
-

Idries Shah claimed that:

michel

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Feb 17, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/17/00
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And how about Aesop's tales.

What could have been the purpose of such a body of observations?
Their form, obvious subjet matter, not-so-obvious subject matter,
their longevity, and their relatively mysterious origins...

The stories were designed for a particular context but they
probably held some universal and transcendental content.

Michel


* Sent from RemarQ http://www.remarq.com The Internet's Discussion Network *
The fastest and easiest way to search and participate in Usenet - Free!


gree...@my-deja.com

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Feb 18, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/18/00
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michel <mpoisson...@cinegroupe.com.invalid> wrote:
> ...

>
> What could have been the purpose of such a body of observations?
> Their form, obvious subjet matter, not-so-obvious subject matter,
> their longevity, and their relatively mysterious origins...
>
> The stories were designed for a particular context but they
> probably held some universal and transcendental content.
>
> Michel

Certainly many of these tales or myths have themes that
are repeated many times and that tie into specific
features of the developmental path. Some include: the
idea of learning one's true identity--often "royal", the
quest for and claim of some far-off, often lost treasure
(usually gold), the involvement of a long journey to
or through foreign lands (w/many tribulations), the
challenge of solving a or many "impossible" riddles or
resolving similar situations, the idea of various
interventions by "higher forces" or gods, and the
recognition of individuals among us who have some
useful "maps."

G.

Christopher Belcher

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Feb 22, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/22/00
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In article <8870d...@enews1.newsguy.com>, William F. Zachmann
<w...@CanopusResearch.com> wrote:

> "And this history is the origin of a strange saying current among the people
> of that land, yet whose beginnings have now been forgotten. The saying is:
> 'Those who want fish can achieve much through fish, and those who do not
> know their heart's desire may first have to hear the story of the wooden
> horse."
>

To misquote the Wizard of Oz:

Isn't that a fish of a different color?

Christopher Belcher

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Feb 22, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/22/00
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In article <01bf7360$4f477140$9d2267cf@default>, Jay
<nob...@nowhere.org> wrote:

> I would personally be interested if anyone would offer me their insights
> about the story, The Three Fishes, at the beginning of Tales of the
> Dervishes.

I've learned a lot from others' interpretations. especially that the
fish represent types of knowledge that the fisherman is "seeking"...

From my experience, I often remind myself of the "stupid fish",
especially after a romantic date goes awry. I think it boils down to
right time, right place, right people, right action: anything short of
this is half-smart at best!

Chris

Alan R.

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Feb 22, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/22/00
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Christopher Belcher <cbel...@alchymedia.com> wrote in message
news:220220000319297126%cbel...@alchymedia.com...
And, "What color is your parachute, Dorothy?"

Alan

michel

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Feb 22, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/22/00
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>From my experience, I often remind myself of the "stupid fish",
>especially after a romantic date goes awry. I think it boils
down to
>right time, right place, right people, right action: anything
short of
>this is half-smart at best!
>

Observation does indeed support this maxim.

"The New York Daily News reported in January that a fire hydrant
had recently been installed at the busy intersection of Tremont
Avenue and Boston Road in the Bronx but that it was installed in
the street, five feet from the curb, requiring all traffic to go
around it. A city spokesman said the hydrant was installed
properly and that eventually a sidewalk would be built in what is
now the curb lane, but because of engineering delays and bad
weather, construction has not yet been scheduled."

At least in the above case, ineptitude was only temporary and
things could eventually be fixed...

Christopher Belcher

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Feb 26, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/26/00
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In article <88f223$sl4$1...@nclient13-gui.server.virgin.net>, Buck
<julia.d...@virgin.net> wrote:

> Well, we could--quite arbitarily--decide to treat Homer's tales
> as examples of 'communication instruments' and see what
> we think they might be communicating.

We can't very well know what the stories were communicating to their
audience, since we weren't there and things are different now. No PhD
will ever really know that.

But we know how they are being used *now* and given Robert Graves's
friendship with Shah, I wouldn't be surprised to find that his "Greek
Myths" might be a "communication instrument".

Chris

Buck

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Feb 26, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/26/00
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Christopher Belcher wrote:

We can't very well know what the stories were communicating to their
audience, since we weren't there and things are different now. No PhD
will ever really know that.

But we know how they are being used *now* and given Robert Graves's
friendship with Shah, I wouldn't be surprised to find that his "Greek
Myths" might be a "communication instrument".

----------------------------------------------------------------

Robert Graves' exposition of the "Greek
Myths" pre-dates his championing of Shah.

Whilst Graves somewhat overstates his case for the matriarchal
underpinnings of the myths, his notion of "iconotrophy" is an
extremely valuable concept. Did the golden apple awarded to
Aphrodite, by Paris, become the forbidden fruit offered to
Adam, by Eve?

As for the intended audience of the stories, you are right--
--things are different now; BTW one's own reading of the 3
Fishes story is that things are always different now.

Christopher Belcher

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Feb 27, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/27/00
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In article <898h0k$qpd$2...@nclient13-gui.server.virgin.net>, Buck
<julia.d...@virgin.net> wrote:

> Robert Graves' exposition of the "Greek
> Myths" pre-dates his championing of Shah.

No doubt. I haven't read the biography of Graves, but one might safely
figure that "Greek Myths" may have impressed Shah that Graves's
approach was in harmony with the projection of Sufi ideas at that time
and place.

Chris

azo charif

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Feb 28, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/28/00
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i wonder sometimes what is the point of spending most of one's life
developing all those right hemisphere faculties if you could risk loosing
them one day by just some accident like a drug overdose,a blow to the head
or a stroke?or is there any sufism insurance?i could answer this by
presuming that these developed intuitive faculties will help one avoid such
accidents but i like to hear any other views.
regards
azo
Buck <julia.d...@virgin.net> wrote in message
news:89bn9d$33c$1...@nclient15-gui.server.virgin.net...
> Christopher Belcher wrote:
> > The dementia which Robert Graves' suffered at the end
> of his life was the main effect of a single dose of
> LSD-- given to the poet by Dr Humphrey Osmond!
>

William F. Zachmann

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Feb 28, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/28/00
to
> i wonder sometimes what is the point of spending most of one's life
> developing all those right hemisphere faculties if you could risk loosing
> them one day by just some accident like a drug overdose,a blow to the
head
> or a stroke?or is there any sufism insurance?i could answer this by
> presuming that these developed intuitive faculties will help one avoid
such
> accidents but i like to hear any other views.
> regards
> azo

What is the point of anything, Azo? Are not all the "great sufis" of the
classical tradition dead? What has a beginning in time has an end in time.
The outcome is certain. It is, however, only what happens in between that
really matters. <g>

All the best,

will

michel

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Feb 28, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/28/00
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One of the points is that others can benefit from your own
efforts - preferably others who will live beyond your own time.

Buck

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Feb 29, 2000, 3:00:00 AM2/29/00
to

azo charif wrote:
i wonder sometimes what is the point of spending most of one's life
developing all those right hemisphere faculties if you could risk loosing
them one day by just some accident like a drug overdose,a blow to the head
or a stroke?or is there any sufism insurance?i could answer this by
presuming that these developed intuitive faculties will help one avoid such
accidents but i like to hear any other views.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

The Nail

A man and a nail had a conversation.
The nail said:
'I have often wondered, during my years
sticking here in this panel, what my fate is
to be.'
The man said:
'Latent in your situation may be a tearing
out with pincers, a burning of wood and a
fall, the rotting of the plank--so many things.'
Said the nail:
'I should have known better than to ask such
foolish questions! Nobody can forsee even
one thing that might happen in the future, let alone
a variety of them, and all so very different and unlikely.'
And he waited, having learned this nail-wisdom, until
someone else should come along, someone who would
talk intelligently, and not threaten him.

(Idries Shah; Reflections; p 20)

Nothing good is ever lost. (I. Shah)

zensufi

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Mar 7, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/7/00
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In article <880dvq$bj0$1...@news7.svr.pol.co.uk>,

"azo charif" <a...@chari.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
> ' holding the breath'may represent the sufi way that allows the
return
> safely to the the origine represented by the water...breath in arabic
is
> nafas which also stands for self so holding the nafas stands for
observing
> and subsequently knowing the nafas which is the central method of
sufism
> for the way back to origin...

Azo - nice explanation! I think the multiple meaninings of the
word, "nafs" make the story sufi.

=zensufi=
--
www.zensufi.com

zensufi

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Mar 7, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/7/00
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Jay - Interestingly, "playing dead" is also an escape, and escaping
from the issue at hand is said to be the wrong route. I wonder how
clever one actually is when he/she escapes? Food for thought...

zensufi

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Mar 7, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/7/00
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In article <220220000331179791%cbel...@alchymedia.com>,

Christopher Belcher <cbel...@alchymedia.com> wrote:
> I've learned a lot from others' interpretations. especially that the
> fish represent types of knowledge that the fisherman is "seeking"...
>
> From my experience, I often remind myself of the "stupid fish",
> especially after a romantic date goes awry. I think it boils down to
> right time, right place, right people, right action: anything short of
> this is half-smart at best!

Chris - I don't think it boils down to right time, right place, etc.
Please read Leo Tolstoy's story about the right time etc. In a
nutshell, this king goes to a hermit to find out when is the right time
to do something, the right person to do it with, and the right action
to do. The hermit teaches the king to realise that the right time is
now, the right person the person you are with, and the right thing is
to do good to that person. I read this story back in approx. 6th
grade, but found it on the net last year.

zensufi

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Mar 7, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/7/00
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In article <89f2q...@enews4.newsguy.com>,

"William F. Zachmann" <w...@CanopusResearch.com> wrote:
> What is the point of anything, Azo? Are not all the "great sufis" of
the
> classical tradition dead? What has a beginning in time has an end in
time.
> The outcome is certain. It is, however, only what happens in between
that
> really matters. <g>

Will - exactly! What is the point of anything or the anything of a
point? So many people are busy worrying about going from Point A to
Point B, that they forget that it is the journey that matters in the
end.

Christopher Belcher

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Mar 8, 2000, 3:00:00 AM3/8/00
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In article <8a1ngq$ntu$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>, zensufi <zen...@zensufi.com>
wrote:

> Please read Leo Tolstoy's story about the right time etc. In a

Thanks, I'll look for it.

Chris

Robert Buzuk

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Aug 22, 2020, 4:31:48 PM8/22/20
to
On Wednesday, 9 February 2000 at 09:00:00 UTC+1, rodger wrote:
> Jay wrote:
> >
> > I would personally be interested if anyone would offer me their insights
> > about the story, The Three Fishes, at the beginning of Tales of the
> > Dervishes.

The story is about a clever fish, half-clever fish and a stupid fish. Now the context of the story should tell us what the word clever is referring to. It seems it’s related to imitation. An action is clever when it comes from your mind. Imitating isn’t clever because you will imitate the action partially (based on your understanding of it); and even if it’s described to you many times and you imitate it perfectly, the circumstances might change.

The second fish is half clever because it realized imitation didn't work and devised its own plan of escape. But the third fish is stupid because it kept holding its breath (it kept imitating).

We were raised to imitate our parents and best we can do is to be a half clever fish. Because we if keep imitating we have died even before the fisherman killed us.
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