A Conversation with a Mangku

Sequel article of New Friends


Meeting in front of Starbucks, Kendrick Lovington and the Mangku walked along the Kuta Beach, Bali. The beautiful panorama before them infiltrated fresh and relaxing sensation. They watched people water-skiing, swimming, playing on the beach, and shouting in pleasure exchanging their bliss. Some people were cheerful with many activities involving body movement and others just sat leisurely under the big shelters or giant colored-umbrellas drinking their beer and coffee, enjoying the lovely scenery and the hot weather.
"It's a nice place you have here," Kendrick remarked.
Ida Marendra, the mangku, curved his lips shooting a sweet smile. "Yes, this place is blessed."
They walked into a café in wood concept, sitting facing the beach. The Mangku ordered a glass of fruit juice while Kendrick asked for iced white coffee.
"So, how can I assist you?" Ida Marendra asked, smiling sympathetically at him.
"I've read a lot. You know that I'm teaching about human beings and their minds. Yet, somehow, the deeper I went into myself, the more I knew that something was missing," he paused momentarily and gazed at the splendid view in front of him. "Would you share your spiritual experience with me?"
"I'm living my life, reaching out for what we called moksa. It is a state of freedom, from karma, birth, death, and suffering on the Earth."
"And have you found your freedom?" Kendrick tasted his coffee.
The Mangku's eyes shone in happiness and he said, "All of us are going to reach it. We divided the process into four paths. The first one is keeping praying whole-heartedly. God is near the people who are seeking and searching for Him and His will in life. The second one is doing good deeds without expecting anything in return. We simply do it to serve others and for the kindness of mankind."
Kendrick grinned. "Guess, the last two paths are rather difficult to do in our limitation as human, aren't they? We tend to have a self-fulfillment tendency, if you don't want to call it selfishness."
"Yeah, that's the body inclination," Marendra added.
"That's about our deeds. When we've already received many blessings, in terms of material, sometimes we find it's difficult to lose our possessions and share it with others especially to ones we don't know. We consider them as ours. After tasting some richness, we simply can't stand being poor anymore." He paused momentarily and then said, "I guess, it's very human."
"From my experience, the hardest thing is to give up something or someone you love," he said.
Kendrick sighed. "So true," then, continued, "What are the other paths?"
"It's the philosophy. In short, it is said that every existing thing; material or immaterial is temporary. Nothing is absolute except for the Source."
Having read it before, Kendrick nodded.
"And the last one is through yoga."
"The concentration of the mind."
"Yes, it emphasizes the self control of our being."
Thinking he might find the enlightenment during a meditation, Kendrick said, "I'd like to join one. Do you have any recommendation?"
"I'll give you the address and map for the location." Marendra drank his mixed tropical fruit juice.
"Sure. I'll certainly go." He sucked his iced coffee from the straw. "I believe you have the five foundations of faith if I'm not mistaken?"
"You read much, don't you?" Ida Marendra smiled approvingly.
"Yeah, but reading is not the same with experiencing, and having been living it through is not the same with believing. Well, you know believing is yet far from practicing."
"Yeah," Ida Marendra said slowly. "If people just spend more of their time nourishing their inner health, the world would be so much happier, don't you think so?"
Kendrick chuckled. "So, do you believe in karma?"
"Yes, that's one from the five foundations of faith, the faith to God. Secondly, a belief that there is a part of His particles living among us."
"Oh, I see."
"Then, there is karma. I believe you've known about it already," the Mangku stated.
"Yes, good deeds will bring you good results or the contrary. I believe that, either. Practically, why do we want to hurt other people, anyway," he said rhetorically. "And then, the reincarnation?"
"Yes, the rebirth of the soul into this world or a higher place."
Kendrick nodded in agreement.
"The last one is moksa."
"That's the end of the spiritual journey."
"Correct." Ida Marendra opened a wide smile.
They took a couple of deep breaths in silence. Then, Ida Marendra asked, "So, what's your next plan?"
Kendrick gave a wide smile. "First thing first. I'll join the meditation class."
"Sure." Ida Marendra wrote an address and phone number in the rustic paper-napkin, and handed it to him. "Do you want to be picked up?"
"No, no." Kendrick waved his palms to the air as a gesture of polite refusal. "I'll be fine. I'll meet you there?"
Ida Marendra nodded.
Kendrick asked for the bill and they stepped out into the pavement together passing by many people of various ages. Most of them were in drips covering their tanned skin from the ocean water.