Dildrum and Doldrum

MAY 19 03 – For many years I carried a Taoist talisman for the protection of the body in my wallet. I more or less forgot it was there. One day, I was given a lift by a friend in his car. I noticed he was driving very carelessly. So when he dropped me off I opened my wallet and gave the talisman to him. Within a week he had smashed the car up, turned it over, a complete write-off, and he walked from it without a scratch. Who knows?

Myself, I am my own talisman, I am my own strength and protection. I seek no gurus, no masters, no wise men, but if I encounter them anyway, I listen. Sometimes a stranger in the street can explain something that is on your mind, so if anyone stops me, because they are lonely, I will stop a little while and talk with them. At first I did this out of simple Buddhist ideas of compassion, but in doing it I realised it was also a route for wisdom to uprise in a tramp or a drunkard.

I am reminded, somehow, of the legend of Dildrum and Doldrum, which illustrates how knowledge can be passed from source to recipient via the agency of an unexpected and unknowing intermediary. I may as well tell it: A man is walking down an alley full of cats. Suddenly a cat jumps on the wall and addresses the throng: 'Tell Dildrum Doldrum is dead.' The cats disperse. The man is astonished, and when he gets home he tells his wife what happened: 'And then the cat on the wall spoke and said "Tell Dildrum Doldrum is dead…".' Their old family cat licking its fur by the stove suddenly pricks up his ears and says: 'Then that means I am King of Cats!' Whereupon he shoots up the chimney.

The Way will always find you. One day you wake up and there is a peach in your saucepan, how could anyone not know what that meant?


Despite the torrential downpour, the nest of tiny greenish-yellow spiders still clings to the bin, hundreds huddled together. I first saw it yesterday as I was putting out rubbish. It looked like moss encased in old spider-web silk. I just didn't know what it was, so I touched it gingerly, the entire mass burst into a dance of Brownian motion, it was a delightful sight.