This is a throwback to the early days of the pandemic, about one month after Ioannis and I were locked down together — the only residents of the Zen Center for over one year. It was a very novel situation.
Ioannis had been crouched over in intense pain for the last 24 hours. He could barely walk. The pain started to happen the previous day, a few hours after he ate a really delicious high-fat meal that I’d cooked. He kept muttering, over and over again, that he either had kidney stones (zero family history of it), gallstones (zero family history), or pancreatic cancer (also zero family history). His thinking then turned to appendicitis, but when I pressed his furry belly where the appendix is, there was no sharp pain. We tried many things to help cure him of his apparent sudden-onset Stage IV pancreatic cancer complicated by kidney stones that — miraculously! — did not produce any strange sensation when he peed. I even told him to sleep in that morning instead of doing early-wakeup practice. One would think that such magnanimity would help him. But he actually felt more awful as the morning wore on.
The computer was positioned in the Dharma Room to broadcast the daily livestream, which was in its infancy, and to edit videos. Anyway, no guests were allowed. So, it became our workspace together. Ioannis tried to do a little video work, but eventually collapsed on the floor to rest. He could not stand up anymore. I was seriously considering calling an ambulance. Well, actually, I just said that to make him feel like I believed his self-diagnosis. I’d already told him several times that his diagnosis was laughable. So I needed to make him feel like I might believe it, so he got the fucking ambulance story.
Meanwhile, up in my room, a burst of inspiration appeared about how to do a possible Great Dharani teaching-video. My head was exploding with joy: “Eureka!” I ran downstairs to inform Ioannis, who was by then lying semi-comatose on the floor.
And Lazarus was thereby brought out of the tomb.
And he believed…