Still dealing with Hurricane Sandy here in Paradelle and in most of the Northeast. A week of no power. Apocalyptic-looking lines of cars seeking gas and lines of fifty and more people with gas cans in hand looking like extras from a Mad Max film. Sand drifted on Jersey shore streets.

It started me thinking about The End.

It doesn’t take much for the civilized mind to turn.

But I also turned to reading and writing (on paper) while there was sunlight this past week. Hard to type blog posts on a phone that you keep recharging in the car and justifying the use of the gas and the power for something as trivial as a blog post.

But the power just returned, so here is a quick post to start the weekend and a koan I reread during this week.

One December night, Tokufu, who was very old, said to his disciples: “I am not going to be alive next year so you should treat me well this year.”

The pupils thought he was joking, but decided to give him to a feast on each day of the ending year.

On New Year’s Eve, Tokufu said “You have been good to me. I shall leave you tomorrow afternoon when the snow has stopped.”

Again, they thought was joking. There was no sign of snow.

But at midnight, snow began to fall and in the morning, they found him dead in the meditation hall.

When Hoshin told this story to his disciples, he said “Though it not necessary for a Zen master to predict his passing, he can if he wishes to do so. I will show you what I can do seven days from now.”

His disciples didn’t believe him and forgot about it for the week.

After 7 days, he reminded them that he said he was going to leave them.

“It is customary to write a farewell poem, but I am neither poet nor calligrapher. Let one of you inscribe my last words.”

Though they still did not take him seriously, one disciple wrote down his words:

I came from brilliancy.
And return to brilliancy.
What is this?

The disciple said, “Master, we are one line short to complete the poem.”

Hoshin roared “Kaa!” and passed from this world.

from  Working with Koans

Advertisements