the kōan kōmmunity

on the wall of the lobby of the guru’s school was a board. on the board were tacked some of the kōans and drawings that the guru’s students made.

at the top hung a painting by hector janse van rensburg:


beside that was a kōan written by anonymous:

this day, when the guru met eyes of sorrow, bent shoulders, trembling hands, defeat and surrender — he found he felt no pity but violent word-less anger —

why am I without sympathy, empathy, pity today?, he asked himself and his mind was tense, in a fist, like a child who wants more than anything not to cry although his heart is in flames and his bones are burning.

then he understood —

i would cry without stop today if i cried — he knew — there are such moments. where is tomorrow?, he begged and saw that time has some pity of its own.

the guru really liked that one because it made him seem sophisticated and cultured, and also because he didn’t understand it, which was usually a sign of greatness.

beneath that was a kōan by anonymous in la:

the guru said, “i’ll have a cheeseburger, hold the sauce, hold the lettuce, hold the onion, hold the meat, hold the bun.”

the register girl said, “so you’d like a piece of cheese?”

the guru shook his head and said, “fine, have it your way.”

the guru liked this one because he got the last word. beside that kōan was one written by john de bruin:

the guru meditated in the river sand on a hot day.

he heard the tortoise approach and asked, “if I can remain in the water, why would i follow the shade?”

the guru opened his eyes and said, “you are not the tortoise.”

“no, i am a turtle. but what is the difference?”

“there is much difference between a turtle and a tortoise,” he said.

“but is there a difference between me and the tortoise?”

the guru placed the turtle on its back and asked it to meditate for three days.

the guru wasn’t a huge fan of this one, because he didn’t like being cruel to animals, but the tortoise was a huge fan, because he had always been bothered by the confusion between tortoises and turtles, and he had always resented turtles for the attention they received.

the guru loved the wall of kōmmunity kōantributions, and he wanted to encourage as many as he could. so he put a notice beneath the wall, and the notice read, “if you would like to submit a kōan, picture, song, or any other kind of kōantent, send a letter to”

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