Monday, 24 January 2011


If success is having overcome the shackles of failure and, as such, is its own reward, perhaps what we should be celebrating and focussing our attention on is intelligent risk taking. Likewise, assessment would be better directed towards evaluating the nature of the risks taken and the quality of failure as opposed to the minutiae of levels of achievement. In some ways it amounts to the same thing, though with an entirely different focus. Instead of centring so much attention on becoming the best, perhaps the emphasis would be better placed upon celebrating the striving to become even better, and that’s a goal to which everyone can relate.

A pregnant Lesley breaking trail on one of the most exhausting climbs I have ever undertaken.


Anonymous said...

Here on the mountain where the path stops we go on into the snow alone...

J. Hamlyn said...

I am alone, you are alone. "We" are never alone.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the English lesson, teach, but it's taken from the zendo opening ceremony. We might all be in the same room, but we are all quite alone in our own worlds. As your partner is pregnant and you are holding the camera, I thought it clear that I wasn't being as literal as usual.Sorry.

J. Hamlyn said...

So I gathered. However it took me a while to track down your reference because you had made a minor mistake, and quite a beautiful one I thought:

"Two hundred years before us and before our quarrels and questions, in the Tibet of the 18th century, under the fifth Dalai Lama, a notable event took place. One day his Holiness saw, from a window of the Potala, his palace-temple-monastery, an extraordinary sight: in accordance with Buddhist ritual, the goddess Tara was circling the wall surrounding the building. The next day at the same hour the same thing happened, and again on the days that followed. After a week of watching, the Dalai Lama and his monks discovered that every day, just when the goddess appeared, a poor old man also walked around the wall, reciting his prayers. The old man was questioned: he was reciting a prayer in verse to Tara, which in turn was a translation of a Sanskrit text in praise of Prajina Paramita. These two words mean Perfect Wisdom, an expression that designates emptiness. It is a concept that Mahayana Buddhism has personalised in a female divinity of inexpressible beauty. The theologians had the old man recites the text. They at once discovered that the poor man was repeating a faulty translation, so they made him learn the correct one. From that day forth, Tara was never seen again." -Octavio Paz

Anonymous said...

Quite right, despite all the times I have said it:

"No guru, no church, no dependency.
Beyond the farmyard the wind in the trees.
The fool by the signless signpost
Stands pointing out the way.

Here on the mountain where the path stops
You go on into the snow alone.
Hell's gate is open and Heaven shimmers in the mirage.
The Great Sky is totally devoid of cloud.

I like mine better...

J. Hamlyn said...

Me too. Interesting isn't it, how the inflection changes depending on the pronoun?

Lesley Punton said...

I like your version better too Sean. ..Although I hadn't thought that I was also a 'we' at the time the picture was taken until you replied to the teach!.

btw, that mountain's a lot steeper than it looks. It appears bloomin' level in the picture!

Diana said...

Thanks Jim,
Always inspiring to read your blog.

J. Hamlyn said...

Thanks Diana,
That means a lot to me.

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