07 May Not Your Ordinary දන්සැල
Hey there! Thank-you for stopping by.
But, this isn't your ordinary දන්සැල!
Have you been missing devilled chickpeas AKA “Kadala thel daala”?
Well then, this year, let’s learn to make some for ourselves. This isn’t the ordinary devilled - chick pea recipe. No pre-heating of pans involved, friends. Just stay wherever you are and imagine that your life is plain, boiled, chickpeas. Yep, you read that right.
You’ve stepped in to a දන්සැල that’s going to serve you some thoughts with a twist! There will be 4 Stops before we finish off at the Final Stop. No Queues!
Let’s get going.
STOP 1: All of us have been through bad experiences, in our lives. But if you choose to look at them in life, simply as bad experiences, that’s like you attempting to eat a bunch of dried chillies and spices to only end up crying and regretting it. Instead, take a moment to break them down and uncover the lessons that come hidden in them.
Fry them with your optimism, so that they don’t feel the same anymore.
And, Oh Yas! We’ve all been through experiences like onions, that made us cry. Cook them with your companionship till they’re soft and golden brown, so that they don’t feel the same anymore.
Add them to your life and savour the lessons.
Let it, colour your life.
Let it, spice up your life.
Chillies, Spices and Onions alone, don’t taste great, my friend. Boiled chickpeas alone can be dull and boring. But when you add those little chilli flakes, fried spices and sautéed onions to the boiled chickpeas, they’d surely taste great!
Hold on. There’s something else that’s needed. WILLINGNESS! This surely is an essential for anyone who wishes to have different life perspectives and thereby be more content.
STOP 2: I’m sure we all miss the free Ice-cream we used to have twice a year, during Vesak and Poson!
Well then, this year let’s think of our lives as Ice-cream cones!
This thought is pretty short. (Much like our lives)
Life is too short to not enjoy! So enjoy it, before it melts like a cone of ice cream for you do not want to see regret dripping from all sides.
On the other hand, this same cone amusingly helps us perceive life’s many uncertainties. They arrive in our lives, unannounced. (The on-going Pandemic would be the best example!) That compels us to ADAPT, like how we would keep turning the cone quickly, as we try our best to eat the ice cream before it melts and gets all messy. We don’t pre-plan the ways in which we will turn our cone. Do we? No. But we would accept that at one point, we will have to! Besides we’d look forward to it, knowing it will be one messy adventure.
Life is definitely more complicated than this. Yet, an effort to look at it, in a more positive light is always worthwhile, my friend.
STOP 3: Something as cool and sweet as Ice cream reminds me of Iced Coffee. It’s true that it’s a beverage we all love and can easily make at home. But you have to agree that, “Dansal Food and Drink” somehow always taste better! (I assume, it’s partly because of the long queue that keeps you waiting for it, which eventually makes you enjoy it more than you’d do on a normal day).
However, now that we don’t have the privilege to enjoy some Dansal Iced Coffee, I want you to think of a day you were extremely furious. (……..) Remembered?
Did it do any good to you? Was it the best response you could come up with, to whatever the situation it was? For how long were you angry?
Come back to the Iced Coffee.
Imagine you staying in a queue for at least an hour while craving for that free Iced Coffee. Now imagine you being served it finally. Imagine yourself taking that first sip. Once you take that first sip after all that waiting, it would be nearly impossible to stop drinking it, even if you had to. You’ll just go on drinking it. (Precisely, said; Gudu Gudu gaala Bonava!) Some of you might just gulp it down and delightedly help yourself to another.
My friend, that’s quite how your anger consumes you too.
Letting out that first bit of anger which builds in you, might seem absolutely tempting.
Resist. Try. Tolerate. Try again. With practise, you’ll become better.
If not, just like how one would gulp down that Iced Coffee, your anger would gulp down you. I’m sure that’s not something any of us want to encounter.
In the wise word of Gautama Lord Buddha, "Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. You will not be punished for your anger; you will be punished by your anger."
STOP 4: Now let’s walk back in time to a “Bath” Dansala!
(Friends, Let’s stick to the ordinary white rice/ yellow rice and not think of anything beyond, for now.)
"Bath"/Rice is always consumed with Curry. Curry without Rice and Rice without Curry is an incomplete meal. No matter how tasty that rice would be, if the “Dhal, Brinjal, And Deep Fried Onion Sambol” don’t taste good, none of us would enjoy it. No matter how tasty all the curry would be, if the rice isn’t cooked right, once again, none of us would enjoy it.
Similarly, Wisdom without Compassion isn’t True Wisdom. Compassion without Wisdom isn’t true Compassion. What often happens in society is that people think only compassion matters. Perhaps you have experienced that extending compassion towards some people, hasn’t really done any good to you or them. That’s like thinking the rice doesn’t matter and it is the curries that matter. But if you have been to a “Dun Thel Bath Dansala” you’d understand this better.
The rice makes a BIG DIFFERENCE.
The feeling that follows a satisfying plate of “Dun Thel Bath” and the right curries is similar to what you would experience when you extend compassion with wisdom. It gives you PURE CONTENTMENT. I repeat, you need BOTH, my friend.
FINAL STOP: Home.
My friend, your real home is the stillness and peace in your heart. We often find ourselves struggling to get over bad experiences, to deal with tough people, to face unforeseen circumstances and the list goes on. But before I conclude, let me remind you of yet another often heard yet seldom practiced teaching of the Enlightened One:
I sincerely hope this piece of writing served you a few precious reminders. There may have been nothing new. But we human beings forget, quite a lot. Well, that’s okay. As long as you remind yourself time and again, that’s just fine, my friend. Spread the light of what you gained and share it with your loved ones. Let it radiate as far as possible for you shall lose nothing.
My friend, Set your heart to do the best. Never give up on trying to become better. But never ever forget to enjoy life and the present moment, in that process.
For now, I’m done with serving my thoughts to you. Hoping that they tasted good, I hereby conclude.
Rtr. Aloka Weerawardane
( Co-Editor – 2019/20 )