Friday, October 06, 2006


"Master Ho Ha, there is so much noise in the world."

Master Ho Ha looks up from the calligraphy he is doing and smiles.

"How can we decide what noise is important and what noise is just an annoyance?"

Master Ho Ha's right arm pauses in mid-air circles a point on the paper, suddenly stabs and the paper and in a flash executes a rapid brush stroke.

"Even here at the monastery we have noise. Students sneak in and listen to the cable news, there are wind chimes hung in trees. Even the frogs croak and the dogs bark. At night some of the students snore and keep me awake."

The brush is poised for another stroke after being stroked in the ink to fill the brush fibers.

"How do you decide what noise to listen to and what noise to ignore?"

Like a frantic mosquito the brush tip dips and waltzes across the page, the white of the paper and the black of the ink clearly delineate the message. Master Ho Ha smiles as Monk Ki walks away wondering why the teacher never gave him an answer.

On the paper are perched two characters: "everything" and "nothing." Master Ho Ha shifts the paper so slightly and listens to the sound of the paper as it slides on the floor surface. It is so loud.