Brool brool (n.) : a low roar; a deep murmur or humming

Zen Parable (In Three Parts)

 |  micro writing

Part 1

A young boy was studying Zen and went to his master to ask a question about some aspect of enlightenment. He walked into his master’s meditation room and found it filled with bamboo walls.

“Master, where are you?” asked the young boy.

“I am right here in the room,” said the master.

“Why are you trapped?” asked the boy.

“Why do you say I’m trapped?” responded the master.

“Because you are inside some walls,” answered the boy, perplexed.

“How do you know I am inside the walls?” asked the master. “Maybe you are inside the walls, and I am on the outside, and you are the one that is trapped.”

The boy thought for a second, and then he said, slowly, “But I can go outside and walk as far as the eye can see without touching a wall, whereas you are confined into a small area.”

The master answered, “Maybe that just means that you are trapped with the ocean and the lands and everyone else.”

The master did not speak for the rest of the night, and the boy fell asleep by the walls. He was not enlightened.

Part 2

The master woke the boy, and handed him a heavy backpack full of food and water, and without saying a word they started to hike. They hiked through dense forest, through the high mountains where the air was so rare that it was difficult to breath, and finally into a hot and forbidding desert which they traversed drearily for two and a half days. Finally, the master made a motion, and they stopped. All around them only sand could be seen. The mountains of two days ago were just a memory, no trace of them on the horizon.

“Now, boy,” said the master, “are we trapped?”

“We are not, master,” answered the boy.

“Are there any walls around us?” asked the master.

“There are not, master,” said the boy.

“But would not someone have to hike through the forest to reach us?” said the master.

“Yes, they would,” said the boy.

“And would they not have to climb the forbidding mountains?” continued the master.

“Yes, they would,” said the boy.

“And would they not have to walk through the desert?” continued the master.

“Yes, they would,” said the boy.

“Is a wall not a barrier?” asked the master.

“A wall is a barrier,” affirmed the boy.

“Then is not all this great space between us a wall?” asked the master. “It is even worse, for a wall might have a door, and they might be able to knock upon the door and have the door opened, but where is the door in all of this great space around us?”

“So, then we are trapped together,” asserted the boy.

“Is that so?” said the master. “Then why did you go behind the sand dune to relieve yourself? Even in the middle of nowhere, with no walls anywhere, you make them. Why?”

The boy was not enlightened.

Part 3

They hiked back, and the boy settled into a much deserved rest. When he awoke the next day, he found that the stables in which he usually slept had been transformed into a maze; all around him were the delicate bamboo walls.

“Find your way to my voice, boy,” said the master.

So the boy tried going towards the voice, but found himself blocked; and then he put his right hand on the wall next to him and walked, always keeping his hand on the wall, for he had read in one of the ancient tracts that this was a way to navigate out of a maze, but that did not work.

“Find your way to my voice, boy,” said the master.

Finally, the boy accidentally stumbled the rough blanket that he used at night, so he unraveled the thread and trailed it behind him, and by not traversing corridors that had a string he managed to navigate more efficiently, until finally he saw daylight and made his way out the maze.

The master was nowhere to be seen, but there was a note that said, “I am trapped.”

With that, the boy was enlightened.


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