A Rare Gift

His name was Spencer-Chapman, he’d come to address the school after the annual prize giving. I settled down, best one could on the wooden floor of the gym, to zone out for the speach. These occasions were usually directed at the ‘winners’ and I wasn’t one of them. However something caught my attention and I stayed in the room. I listened to what he had to say.

“…and for those of you who have not received prizes I want you to know that…” I can’t remember his exact words. The gist of it was about valuing personal integrity and that ‘succeeding’ in life not being dependent on passing exams and winning prizes. What he said, I heard and it went straight in, and stayed there to this day. He had recognized my inherent worth, and I believed him. Life was a struggle but deep in there what he said remained. What a gift, one that everybody is capable of giving too.

We have a saying in Buddhism, “When the disciple is ready the Master will appear”. I am so grateful that this man made his brief appearance just at the right time. I was ready to hear what he had to say, for that moment he was my teacher. People think they need to find a Master or teacher in order to progress in practice when what is needed is to listen more carefully.

I once had a copy of Spencer-Chapmans book “The Jungle is Neutral” about his days in the S.O.E. in Malaysia.

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3 thoughts on “A Rare Gift”

  1. That’s a very interesting co-incidence. I just took a look at Spencer-Chapman’s book following your link (actually ordered a copy) and I was suprised to see that the photograph on the front cover is exactly the same one used on the Tuttle edition of Michio Takeyama’s story “Harp of Burma”. Take a look here … http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0804802327/qid=1136788928/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_0_1/202-4894558-3560651

    If you have never read “Harp of Burma” I should say that it’s a very powerful Buddhist story and also one that explores the merit of singing together

  2. Thanks Iain. I followed the link you gave and then took a look inside the book.
    There is more than the usual few pages to read, and what I read caused me to want to see more…

    It’s a long time since I read Spencer-Chapmans book, I will look forward to reading your review of it on your blogger in due course. But first the school work has to be finished, right?

  3. There is a film called the Burmese Harp. A copy was recently left in Reading Priory, where it is now. It was directed by Kon Ichikawa in the 1950s. I’d thoroughly recommend seeing it. I’ve found I return to it time and again..! I’ll look out for Spencer-Chapman’s book.

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