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clogged drains; Buddha is a shit covered stick; Santa and Jesus

Spent time yesterday and today working on clogged drains, snaking out the main line (tree roots) and the shower drain (nasty hair clog). Besides getting a finger caught and crushed up a bit (power snake grabbed my glove, twist, crush - safety equipment gone wrong. Not serious but annoying) this got me splattered with sewage...and so I thought of the zen koan about how "Buddha is a shit-covered stick"

In isolation this seems a bizarre, even offensive statement - like a lot of Zen koans. It's only when I heard the context that it started to make some sense: master and student are out for a walk. Student asks, "What is Buddha?" At that moment, they're walking by the outhouse; leaning against it is the paddle, the stick, used to scoop out the manure, mix it with ashes or whatever. Buddha is everywhere, all is holy, so "Buddha is that shit-covered stick over there."

Similar is the famous "three pounds of flax". Buddha is three pounds of flax - huh? Then think of monks at work, spinning fiber into thread. What is Buddha? Why, this pile of flax is Buddha.

(Of course, we Discordians know that the correct answer is three TONS of flax.)

Anyway, was giving that some consideration, Buddha is the shitty water splashing me as I bend over the sewage cleanout, feeding the power snake back out.

reworking Sunday's exercise:

I remember - vaguely -
what Christmas meant to me when I Believed -
in Jesus or in Santa Claus, which
do I mean? I'm not sure now.

putting the baby Jesus in the creche
sitting on the mall Santa's lap
saying my prayers, leaving cookies out for reindeer -

all pieces of the same forgotten faith
as I settle in to celebrate the Solstice


my mother always used to say - still says -
that Santa Claus is real
a human symbol for
something that resides in each of us

the heart's reality if not
the supposedly objective truth

And more and more, that's the way I feel
about god, about love, about music, about All

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