Wednesday, May 21, 2008


This week began with the second full moon of Wesak, the Buddhist festival that celebrates the enlightenment of the Buddha under the Bodhi tree.


And today is the birthday of a friend who is a Buddhist and who likes green a lot. It seems to be a good time for a story.

There is a marvelous one told in the autobiography of Nikos Kazantzakis -- Report to Greco -- in which he tells of the conditions surrounding the writings of each of his outstanding novels about the great ones: Alexander the Great, Christ, Francis of Assisi, Siddartha, and Zorba.

Here's the story:

During the 1930's Kanzantzakis received a telegram from the real-life Zorba the Greek who was an adventuresome businessman for whom he had once worked as personal aide. The message simply said, "Dear Boss. Have found most beautiful green stone in Tanzania. Come immediately. Zorba."

Kazantzakis became very agitated because he felt that World War Two was about to explode in Europe and that he could not leave his homeland at this critical moment. He wrote a very long message scolding Zorba, saying that he was offended that he would suggest something frivolous like a trip to see a green stone at such a critical moment in world history.

Zorba wrote back saying, "Dear Boss. I never thought much about heaven or hell but your message has convinced me that hell exists, at least for certain pencil-pushers. You have missed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a beautiful green stone."

Kazantzakis, reflecting on his long and distinguished career in letters and politics says, "I wrote about the great ones -- Alexander, Buddha, Christ, Francis -- and Zorba was best."

So here is a small birthday gift from both worlds to you and to all of us with the hope that we can remember the message of the beautiful green stone.


1 comment:

Descansei said...

Lou: adorei o presente verdigris! Marilia