Thursday, April 20, 2006

A Zen Koan

Mornings made the mountain bleed along a scar of a path which broke away from the monastery above to the valley below. This carmine cascade was pockmarked in yellow at various points. Farmers in the valley looked up and bowed their heads to the diurnal procession of monks. When the monks reached the valley, the monks slowed down but the breeze, caught often in their habit and adding volume to the frail frame that walked within, gave the monks a phantom vigour and mobility which their eyes and hearts lacked.

Sanchen, Pizkog gathered around a low wooden table which served but one old monk. They bowed low to him and then sat equidistant to each other. The old monk smiled at them and gathered the warmth of his cup of tea with hands that trembled more with love for them than of age. He sipped his tea and pursed his lips savouring the fluid in the collapsing caverns of his mouth. When he opened his eyes, he let out a breath of contentment. Sanchen ordered for jasmine tea and while they waited he decided to continue with their conversation of before their occupying the table.

"Pizkog, may we continue till the tea arrives?"
Pizkog nodded his head and looked at the old monk. The monk smiled and Pizkog returned his attention to Sanchen.
"So as I was saying, life is not always about achieving. There is certainly more to life than achieving."
"But isn't that "more" also a want for achieving, now something else? Isn't it but a diverted desire?"
"No, it wouldn't be driven by desire. The more of life is not something one seeks for self-propagation."
"Then why do we seek it? Isn't it either another covert means of self-propagation or escapism with the intent of self-propagating beyond the realms of ineptitude?"
"No not really", said Sanchen and turned towards the monk. "Dear Sir, would you be kind enough to guide us confused farmers on this matter?"
"What do I have to say? Let us wait for the tea, as the leaves of the mountains impart wisdom."
The monk continued to sip on his tea and after every half-mouthful he stretched his chin towards the ceiling and returned with a smile and warm eyes.

Sanchen reached for the mud-cup of water to occupy himself while they waited for their tea. He gulped it in one shot and placed it on the table. While reaching for the pitcher to refill his cup, his sleeve caught it and it toppled over.

"Thank god there was no water in it! It is always better to leave a glass empty", said Pizkog.
"I partly agree, but it would be better to have a filled cup in case one needs it urgently. What about when a man has a violent fit of hiccups? Wouldn't it be better that the cup was already filled?", asked Sanchen.
"But such accidents could ruin clothes and food laid on the table."
"What are the chances that such accidents would happen?"
"I feel the chances are higher than a man having a fit."

The monk, having finished his tea, reached forward and filled his cup with water, swirled the contents and drunk it all. He bowed and smiled at the farmers and ambled back to the mountains.

4 comments:

  1. One drop of sincere practice is worth a thousand words of a spiritual teaching.

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  2. Beautifully woven! The pic can’t be any more appropriate.

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  3. "Mornings made the mountain bleed along a scar of a path which broke away from the monastery above to the valley below. This carmine cascade was pockmarked in yellow at various points. Farmers in the valley looked up and bowed their heads to the diurnal procession of monks. When the monks reached the valley, the monks slowed down but the breeze, caught often in their habit and adding volume to the frail frame that walked within, gave the monks a phantom vigour and mobility which their eyes and hearts lacked."
    Mmm... I stopped awhile here, to relish before moveing on to rehash.

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  4. Dear P,
    So true.

    Dear X,
    Glad the post was to your taste. :-)

    Dear M,
    :-D A little something for you...

    ReplyDelete