Sunday, November 23, 2008

Matthiessen on the Unnecessary

From this interview with Peter Matthiessen, via the Paris Review:

There’s a wonderful Zen story about a young monk who has had an enlightenment experience. To celebrate, his teacher takes him up Mount Fuji. All the way up this snow volcano, this young monk is crying out, “Oh, Roshi! Do you hear the birds? I’ve never heard the birds before! How beautiful!” The teacher scarcely grunts, won’t say a word, just thumps his stave. On and on the fellow goes, ecstatic. “Oh, the snow, the clouds!” Finally they near the top of the mountain. “Oh, Roshi,” he cries. “Do you see how the wind blows snow across the cone of the volcano? How the clouds drift past on the wind? There is no separation between us and the wind and the great earth!” The roshi hisses, “Yes! Yes, true! But what a pity to say so!”

Tonight's music is "Comment" by Wilco.

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