Repurposed Boat Shoes

From the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

“Who is the Potter, pray, and who the Pot?”


A monk brought two potted plants to his Master. “Drop it,” ordered the Master. The monk dropped one pot. “Drop it,” again ordered the Master. The monk let the second pot go. “Drop it,” now roared the Master. The monk stammered: “But I have nothing to drop.” The Master nodded. “Then take it away.” (A Zen parable)

Koan (pronounced coe-on) is defined as a paradoxical anecdote or riddle used to demonstrate the inadequacy of logical reasoning and to provoke enlightenment in Zen Buddhism. It’s a riddle meant for students to think about during meditation and given by their Masters to help “unravel greater truths about the world and themselves.” Zen Masters have been using these stories, questions, and phrases for centuries.” (Merriam Webster and Huffpost)

For our travels, I purchased a small book entitled The Little Zen Companion by David Schiller. During long reaches, I pull it out and ask my husband what he thinks some of it means. “It’s garbage! Whaaaat??? Who wrote that? That guy obviously got some of the wording wrong!” he bellows…. I usually laugh, put the book down, but try to think more deeply about these things. Inevitably, I’ll bring it up again, re-read one, share my latest thoughts on a parable or quote from the book. Eventually he will have the final words: “That makes no sense whatsoever; take that away!” He is a captain and not a zen Master, after all…

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