I have a funny Zen master story to tell. Last night we had dinner with friends, christened a new kitchen, welcomed a newcomer to our country with a little toast (no jam) and generally had some fun. It's a group where foolish stories are told and lots of laughing happens. Enough to scare the resident cat and dog (but only a little).
One of these friends helped us move some furniture from my mother's apt. We donated some things to a political party named after a colour which were taken away in a gardener's truck. At the time I gave my friend a bag which contained a few small things for our mutual friend, the Buddhist monk. One of the things was a pair of slippers that had belonged to my mother. The final unloading of furniture and bags happened in the autumn darkness.
When my friend took the bag of goodies to our monk, a cinderella thing happened. There was only one slipper in the bag. And as in the cinderella story, the slipper fit perfectly. She definitely wanted the other one. Slight variation on the cinderella story but as he spun the story we appreciated it heartily. "What is the sound of one slipper, slapping?" I asked We groaned and hooted. My friend continued the slipper saga. The morning following the missing slipper incident he checked with the gardener whose truck he had borrowed to see if a slipper had been spotted. Much scurrying of gardeners followed as they searched for the Zen master's new slipper. No effort was spared to make the final retrieval which apparently involved a little dumpster diving. In the end the slipper found it's way to it's rightful new owner who liked the slippers not just because they fit and were comfy but because they had belonged to my mother and she had helped me negotiate the many slippery steps that my mother and I had travelled together. End of Zenderella, a story of impermanence, attachment and orthopedic foot wear. Sorry no pumpkin coaches or mice even though it is fall and Halloween is heading in our direction.
So that's it for the Zen bedtime story. Grab that little Buddha bear and tuck yourself in. If you still have a self that is.