Contemplation on Flies 

Contemplation on Flies

For more than one week, I contemplated daily on the subject of "flies".

I was in Ipoh for a 10-day retreat and come late morning, hordes of flies would descend on the meditators in the meditation hall and also upon our food in the dining hall.

Everyday while waiting for all to be seated and to chant the food reflection, I would sit and watch the flies that busily flew from one person's plate to another, buzzing around our faces. At first, I would diligently fan them away, then I grew tired of chasing them and stopped.

I closed my eyes the moment I sat down. "Out of sight, out of mind", I thought "One doesn't die from eating flies' contaminated food, the most I will make a few trips to the toilet but it is too much trouble to unsettle my mind with impatience and intolerance after so many hours of trying to concentrate my mind."

A few days into the closing eyes regime, I noticed that my kind neighbours at the table would help me place a tissue paper over my food while I shut my eyes. I felt grateful and a little embarrassed
that they had to help me protect my food.

So I started keeping my eyes open. I just looked at the flies that would come and go on my food and the way they descended together onto some bits of food that my fellow yogis placed in the middle of the table to occupy them.

Something struck me about the way the flies would descend together on the food, landing side by side to each other, buzzing around, flying and gathering, moving from one place to another sometimes alone, sometimes in a sudden flurry of movement. What kamma did they create to be reborn as flies? This was one question in my mind. I suddenly felt a lot of compassion for these flies when I observed how busy they were, always buzzing around to find food but not staying long at each
place before being chased away by people or heading for another target.

One day during interview time, one yogi asked the meditation teacher, Sayalay Dipankara about difficulties she faced with a group of people she knew. It had to do with jealousy, with one group ganging up against the other, trying to keep each other away from the person in authority whom they liked to be close to. The image of the flies crowding around the pile of food came to my mind instantly. It just struck me at that point how these people were busy buzzing around and busy like these flies, trying to horde a person they like... Not knowing why they are always so busy, with only one objective in mind -that of searching for sensual satiation.

I shuddered in my heart.

Sayalay has yet to answer my question of what can cause rebirth as a fly, but this is my reflection:

May I not plant seeds of kamma that would lead me to a fly-like rebirth, where I have to waste my time mindlessly in search of sensual pleasures, being constantly dissastisfied (flying around), blindly led by likes and dislikes and causing the irk of people around.

May the flies (and all beings!) be free from greed, hatred and delusion and taste the real food of the Dhamma!

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