The Rickshaw Man
Translated by: Buffy
On a lonely and deserted path between two villages, separated from already harvested rice fields, a man calmly pulled his empty rickshaw. That afternoon, the sun shone mercilessly. Only a few trees along the way offered some shade. Far and wide there was no other human soul to be seen. Everything seemed normal and everyday. The rickshaw man was once again engrossed in self-talk.
R: What do I do here day in and day out? I push and pull the empty rickshaw from one place to another, but so far I can’t find a passenger. That would at least make sense for my work.
?: It’s like your own life. The point is not in what you do, but in your rickshaw, how it can be moved best and quickliest from “here” to “there”!
R: Why should I continue to pull the rickshaw if I have no paying passengers? What I have earned so far is just enough to survive.
?: Yes, that’s probably true. Because of your hope and your desire to find well-paying passengers at some point, in order to possibly become rich and then no longer have to pull rickshaws, you continue to push and pull your rickshaw every day.
R: So if I don’t pull a rickshaw anymore, what happens to me?
?: The rickshaw needs the rickshaw man to steer it, and not the other way around. What can become of you without a rickshaw, well, the possibilities are endless!
R: Then I can stop being a rickshaw man right away!
?: Yes, then you also leave behind everything related to the rickshaw at the same time. Also the wishes, hopes and all the future thoughts of a rickshaw man. All that remains for you is the stressful thoughts. The worries about the rickshaw and the grief, common for a rickshaw man. And in doing so, you prevent yourself from becoming something else!
R: Why should I care about rickshaws if I already know how to build them, how it feels to pull them, and when they end up breaking apart anyways?
?: I am not talking about the transience of existence of a rickshaw. But of your worries and needs as a rickshaw man, everything you have experienced in the course of your life as just this, and to which you now cling so desperately!
R: Who are you by the way? Are you a stowaway?
?: No not directly, I am only a companion, a “collector of memories” who is only with you temporarily. Someone who documents and archives all your experiences as a rickshaw man from within, so that I myself understand what it means to be a rickshaw man.
R: But how am I supposed to understand if you are not just a part of me? How should I understand the connection between me, my body and you?
?: Well, that’s easy. You yourself are the “rickshaw man”, or “me”, because you understood it that way for yourself. The rickshaw is like your own body that you use for your purpose in life. You just took it, but you claim that it is a part of yourself. I myself am a stranger in you, who is neither a rickshaw man nor belongs to a body of a rickshaw man. You would probably call me a “soul.”
R: Do I have a future at all?
?: No, only the presence as a “rickshaw man”. And that remains the case, until you have internalized the difference between “achieving something” and “actually experiencing”. Then you can move on to another presence!
R: And what was my past?
R: Who am “I” then except a rickshaw man?
?: You are just a thought, a “projection” of the “here and now”, nothing more…!
Plaitamin, December 2014