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Illustrative stories

Zen stuff

Strange and familiar humour may have several layers. Not everything is one-layered. Some rewarding stories may seem like jests. Alternative stories are found in Sufis circles, Taoism (Daoism), Zen quarters, other Buddhist tales and yogi tales alike and so on. They offer different perspectives on many things and happenings, and at times glimpses from what is behind common facades. Also, drawing and painting and other artistic activities fit many growing, independent souls, and thus serve budding or growing independent ways. The principle is a fixture in Waldorf Education.

Published canon may find us laughing or well entertained. It could very well be a good sign in a way, as Tao Te Ching maintains, in Robert Henrick's translation (1993, Chap. 41):

1. When the highest type of men hear the Way, with diligence they're able to practice it;
2. When the average men hear the Way, some things they retain and others they lose;
3. When the lowest type of men hear the Way, they laugh out loud at it.
4. If they didn't laught at it, it couldn't be regarded as the Way.

What we laugh at could be hard to live out - yet adaptations count too.

The best tale can contain features included in real, historical personages and maybe not. It depends, for a folk tale can be fantastic and realistic at the same time. (Bø 1980, 60)

According to professor Lutz Röhrich, the fairy tale may mirror the real world or a social niche in it, somehow. (In Bø 1980, 61)

Garem Zen

Garem lived on a tiny island off the coast and used to cough a lot. He once visited an inland stave church, There he stretched himself, make himself very comfortable, and cleared his throat.

He decided to set sail for home, and felt lulled by tossing waves. Friends woke him up:

"Are we still here in the world?" he wanted to know.

The boat shipwrecked. Two fellows survived. One of them was Garem. He drifted ashore near his parent's home, changed his clothes and went into a potato field. He worked hard there all the rest of that day.

Next day Garem left his parents' place to go back to his own home. He fell ill while travelling, so one of his friends carried him home on his back like a sack of potatoes and left him at the threshold of his home,

Garem opened his door. He had become poor at his peak. Right then his closest neighbour yelled,

"If you die from what you've been through, we will see to it that you get a fine tombstone".

Garem slowly laid down on his couch. When he wanted to sit up carefully, he sat up. These things count in Zen

Garem fell asleep. He kept a dreamer's diary to better stick to interesting insights of some of them, like "Never hail missionaries, my man."

Then something truly tolerable took place, and he said,

"Nothing would be better."

It seems he missed much fun, but who knows?

Give me a flower while I'm alive rather than putting it on my grave." (Saying)

To preserve your dynamism, maybe bland respectlessness could help, or maybe not. Results might depend on others and on circumstances, though, so better be very careful and tidy as you move along. To neglect local smartness might be an error; to depend on it could be an error too.


The Educated Need Lots of Stories ☼

1. For the gullible: many stories and figurative lifting may fit.

Into the wine-cellar, looking only for gourds - could that be very helpful folly?

Looking for gourds and melons, birds knows where you find them, as they are figurative too, as in this melon poem:

The two melons you are carrying
Can open many doors.
Seeing is believing.

[Melon Quotations]

2. Cultivated followers - is it a myth or not?

Cultivated first - but in a fit way, for lots of followers may have failed through being followers. In short: Be no self-maiming and self-flogging fool. And thus: A great person may not be distinguishable from others in outward appearance.

3. Life is in part what you make out of it

Some dreams give sinister warnings against unfit or dangerous conformism, which is supported by many phrases and slogans. [Jungian dream interpretations]

So: The gullible need to be much educated, and good stories are for that. Large amounts of followers have fallen from inherent freedom (beginner's mind too) just by becoming followers.

Gullible ones could do worse than heeding impressive and recurrent dreams - those nightly encounters with inner sides of being human as long as it lasts.


Bodhidharma, Daruma, Zen Buddhism, Literature  

Bø, Olav, et al. eds. 1982. Norske eventyr. Oslo: Det Norske Samlaget, 1982.

Henricks Robert G. 1993. Tao Te Ching. New York: Random House Modern Library.

Harvesting the hay

Symbols, brackets, signs and text icons explained: (1) Text markers(2) Digesting.

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