Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ashes to ashes

Master Ho Ha leans back, “Harumph.” He then returns to his precise upright sitting position.

Monk Ki thinks that perhaps this is a clever zen shortcut to enlightenment. He leans back, “Harumph.” He returns to his as good as it gets sitting position.

Twenty minutes later, not that anyone except the timekeeper is counting and he only does it by the destruction of a lit stick of incense, the bell rings.

Master Ho Ha stretches just a bit, rocks and then stands. This is the period for walking meditation. He leans and straightens his cushion before turning.

Monk Ki would have made a great baseball player because he doesn’t take his eye off his master. Monk Ki see, Monk Ki do. He imitates his teacher.

The time keeper cracks the wooden blocks and an outsider might suggest that the zen conga line begins moving. Near one of the corners Master Ho Ha pauses, leans down, touches the floor. He rises and continues his slow movements.

By now you’ve figured that good old Monk Ki will do the same thing. You of course are correct. You are a quick learner.

Two circuit of the hall and the wooden blocks clap together. A good Roman Catholic might immediately think of the sound of strepitus at Tenebrae- (how many of you will have to look that one up? )

Master Ho Ha stops at his cushion, turns, bows toward it, turns and bows across the hall and sits. Monk Ki of course attempt to mirror the events exactly.

After the sitting period Master Ho Ha lifts his hand and his index finger gives the gentle direction for Monk Ki to come closer.

“You certainly are very good at doing everything I do. Amazing.”

“Thank you Master Ho Ha. You are a good teacher.” Monk Ki smiles.

“But why do you do everything so exactly like me.”

“To become enlightened. I want to be just like you.”

“When I leaned over while we were walking Kinhin I noticed you do the same thing.”

“Yes, Master. Exactly like you.”

“Did you also pick up a dust ball?” Master Ho Ha held out his hand and a tiny puff of dust was revealed.