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On The Music Box:Tosca-Souvenirs
Todays’ Offerings… running a bit late.
( I find this a bit funny… everything in this entry talks a bit about stillness… ha!)
Hope you enjoy.
Coyote Juggles His Eyes
Koan:The First Principle
Wu Men: Poetry of the Way
All Photographs Ansel Adams unless otherwise noted…..
Coyote Juggles His Eyes
As he was walking through the timber one morning, Coyote heard someone say: “I throw you up and you come down in!”
Coyote thought that was strange talk. It made him curious. He wanted to learn who was saying that, and why. He followed the sound of the voice, and he came upon little Zst-skaká-na–Chicka-dee–who was throwing his eyes into the air and catching them in his eye-sockets. When he saw Coyote peering at him from behind a tree, Chickadee ran. He was afraid of Coyote.
“That is my way, not yours,” Coyote yelled after him.
Now, it wasn’t Coyote’s way at all, but Coyote thought he could juggle his eyes just as easily as Chickadee juggled his, so he tried. He took out his eyes and tossed them up and repeated the words used by the little boy: “I throw you up and you come down in!” His eyes plopped back where they belonged. That was fun. He juggled the eyes again and again.
Two ravens happened to fly that way. They saw what Coyote was doing, and one of them said: “Sin-ka-lip is mocking someone. Let us steal his eyes and take them to the Sun-dance. Perhaps then we can find out his medicine-power.”
“Yes, we will do that,” agreed the other raven. “We may learn something.”
As Coyote tossed his eyes the next time, the ravens swooped, swift as arrows from a strong bow. One of them snatched one eye and the other raven caught the other eye.
“Quoh! Quoh! Quoh’,” they laughed, and flew away to the Sun-dance camp.
Oh, but Coyote was mad! He was crazy with rage. When he could hear the ravens laughing no longer, he started in the direction they had gone. He hoped somehow to catch them and get back his eyes. He bumped into trees and bushes, fell into holes and gullies, and banged against boulders. He soon was bruised all over, but he kept on going, stumbling along. He became thirsty, and he kept asking the trees and bushes what kind they were, so that he could learn when he was getting close to water. The trees and bushes answered politely, giving their names.
After awhile he found he was among the mountain bushes, and he knew he was near water. He came soon to a little stream and satisfied his thirst. Then he went on and presently he was in the pine timber. He heard someone laughing. It was Kok-qhi Ski-kaka–Bluebird. She was with her sister, Kwas-Kay–Bluejay.
“Look, sister,” said Bluebird. “There is Sin-ka-lip pretending to be blind. Isn’t he funny?”
“Do not mind Sin-ka-lip,” advised Bluejay. “Do not pay any attention to him. He is full of mean tricks. He is bad.”
Coyote purposely bumped into a tree and rolled over and over toward the voices. That made little Bluebird stop her laughing. She felt just a little bit afraid.
“Come, little girl,” Coyote called. “Come and see the pretty star that I see!”
Bluebird naturally was very curious, and she wanted to see that pretty star, but she hung back, and her sister warned her again not to pay attention to Coyote. But Coyote used coaxing words; told her how bright the star looked.
“Where is the star?” asked Bluebird, hopping a few steps toward Coyote.
“I cannot show you while you are so far away,” he replied. “See, where I am pointing my finger?”
Bluebird hopped close, and Coyote made one quick bound and caught her. He yanked out her eyes and threw them into the air, saying: “I throw you up and you come down in!” and the eyes fell into his eye-sockets.
Coyote could see again, and his heart was glad. “When did you ever see a star in the sunlight?” he asked Bluebird, and then ran off through the timber.
Bluebird cried, and Bluejay scolded her for being so foolish as to trust Coyote. Bluejay took two of the berries she had just picked and put them into her sister’s eye-sockets, and Bluebird could see as well as before. But, as the berries were small, her new eyes were small, too. That is why Bluebird has such berrylike eyes.
While his new eyes were better than none at all, Coyote was not satisfied. They were too little. They did not fit very well into his slant sockets. So he kept on hunting for the ravens and the Sun-dance camp. One day he came to a small tepee. He heard someone inside pounding rocks together. He went in and saw an old woman pounding meat and berries in a stone mortar. The old woman was Su-see-wass–Pheasant. Coyote asked her if she lived alone.
“No,” she said, “I have two granddaughters. They are away at the Sun-dance. The people there are dancing with Coyote’s eyes.”
“Aren’t you afraid to be here alone!” Coyote asked. “Isn’t there anything that you fear?”
“I am afraid of nothing but the stet-chee-hunt (stinging-bush),” she said.
Laughing to himself, Coyote went out to find a stinging-bush. In a swamp not far away he found several bushes of that kind. He broke off one of those nettle bushes and carried it back to the tepee. Seeing it, Pheasant cried, “Do not touch me with the stet-chee-hunt! Do not touch me! It will kill me!”
But Coyote had no mercy in his heart, no pity. He whipped poor Pheasant with the stinging-bush until she died. Then, with his nint knife, he skinned her, and dressed himself in her skin. He looked almost exactly like the old woman. He hid her body and began to pound meat in the stone mortar. He was doing that when the granddaughters came home. They were laughing. They told how they had danced over Coyote’s eyes. They did not recognize Coyote in their grandmother’s skin, but Coyote knew them. One was little Bluebird and the other was Bluejay. Coyote smiled. “Take me with you to the Sun-dance, granddaughters,” he said in his best old-woman’s voice.
The sisters looked at each other in surprise, and Bluejay answered: “Why, you did not want to go with us when the morning was young.”
“Grandmother, how strange you talk!” said Bluebird.
“That is because I burned my mouth with hot soup,” said Coyote.
“And, Grandmother, how odd your eyes look!” Bluejay exclaimed. “One eye is longer than the other!”
“My grandchild, I hurt that eye with my cane,” explained Coyote.
The sisters did not find anything else wrong with their grandmother, and the next morning the three of them started for the Sun-dance camp. The sisters had to carry their supposed grandmother. They took turns. They had gone part way when Coyote made himself an awkward burden and almost caused Bluejay to fall.
That made Bluejay angry, and she threw Coyote to the ground. Bluebird then picked him up and carried him. As they reached the edge of the Sun-dance camp, Coyote again made himself an awkward burden, and Bluebird let him fall. Many of the people in the camp saw that happen. They thought the sisters were cruel, and the women scolded Bluebird and Bluejay for treating such an old person so badly.
Some of the people came over and lifted Coyote to his feet and helped him into the Sun-dance lodge. There the people were dancing over Coyote’s eyes, and the medicine-men were passing the eyes to one another and holding the eyes up high for everyone to see. After a little Coyote asked to hold the eyes, and they were handed to him.
He ran out of the lodge, threw his eyes into the air, and said: “I throw you up and you come down in!”
His eyes returned to their places, and Coyote ran to the top of a hill.
There he looked back and shouted: “Where are the maidens who had Coyote for a grandmother?”
Bluejay and Bluebird were full of shame. They went home, carrying Pheasant’s skin, which Coyote had thrown aside. They searched and found their grandmother’s body and put it back in the skin, and Pheasant’s life was restored. She told them how Coyote had killed her with the stinging-bush.
Koan:The First Principle
When one goes to Obaku temple in Kyoto he sees carved over the gate the words “The First Principle”. The letters are unusually large, and those who appreciate calligraphy always admire them as being a mastepiece. They were drawn by Kosen two hundred years ago.
When the master drew them he did so on paper, from which the workmen made the large carving in wood. As Kosen sketched the letters a bold pupil was with him who had made several gallons of ink for the calligraphy and who never failed to criticise his master’s work.
“That is not good,” he told Kosen after his first effort.
“How is this one?”
“Poor. Worse than before,” pronounced the pupil.
Kosen patiently wrote one sheet after another until eighty-four First Principles had accumulated, still without the approval of the pupil.
Then when the young man stepped outside for a few moments, Kosen thought: “Now this is my chance to escape his keen eye,” and he wrote hurriedly, with a mind free from distraction: “The First Principle.”
“A masterpiece,” pronounced the pupil.
Wu Men: Poetry of the Way…
The Great Way
The Great Way has no gate;
there are a thousand paths to it.
If you pass through the barrier,
you walk the universe alone.
A Monk Asked
A monk asked Chao-chou Ts’ung shen (777-897) (Joshu), “Has the oak tree Buddha nature?”
Chao-chou said, “Yes, it has.”
The monk said, “When does the oak tree attain Buddhahood?”
Chao-Chou said, “Wait until the great universe collapses.”
The monk said, “When does the universe collapse?”
Chao-chou said, “Wait until the oak tree attains Buddhahood.
Ten thousand flowers in spring,
the moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer,
snow in winter.
If your mind isn’t clouded
by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.
One Instant is eternity;
eternity is the now.
When you see through this one instant,
you see through the one who sees.
Moon And Clouds Are The Same
Moon and clouds are the same;
mountain and valley are different.
All are blessed; all are blessed.
Is this one? Is this two?
Wu Men (Hui-k’ai)
(1183 – 1260)
There are two primary collections of koans in Zen/Chan Buddhism: the Blue Cliff Records, and the Wu Men Kuan, also known as the Mumonkan. The Mumonkan, first published in 1228, consists of 48 koans compiled by Wu Men Hui-k’ai with his commentary and poetic verse.
Wu Men (also called Mumon) was a head monk of the Lung-hsiang monastery in China.