2018-08-07

Raven 65: How Do You Account for This?

Episode before last, Raven #63, the introduction mentioned Gateless Gate #43: "Master Shoushan held up a stick before his disciples and said, "You monks, if you call this a stick, you are committed to the name. If you do not call this a stick, you are opposing the fact. Tell me, you monks, what will you call it?"

Gateless Gate #44 also deals with a stick -- a staff: "Master Bajiao said to the assembly, 'If you have a staff, I will give it to you. If you have no staff, I will take it away from you.'" Master Wumen (1183-1260) commented on this: "Having it support us, we wade across a river that has no bridge. Having it accompany us, we return to the village on a moonless night. But if you call it a staff, you will go to hell as swiftly as an arrow." In today's episode, Raven echoes Wumen's comment. Yet Raven doesn't seem to mind calling it a stick. Labels are fine -- just don't be attached to them, is all.

Case
At that same assembly, Mole said to Raven, "Turkey tells me that Grandma doesn't lock her place and that folks are free to wander in and out. They eat her food and mess up her carpet. She doesn't seem to be protective or possessive at all. Yet she snatched away her stick when you went after it. How do you account for this?"
Raven said, "It guides her along to Vinecot on a moonless night. It helps her cross the creek when the bridge is broken down."
Mole subsided.
After a moment, Woodpecker asked, "You mean when push comes to shove, there are certain things that she won't share?"
Raven said, "Stick."
Verse
Myriad the mystery that supports and guides
That surrounds like peripheral vision
That smiles from the shadows and sometimes laughs
That writes the truths and publishes
Under pen-names.
Case by Robert Aitken, adapted; introduction and verse by Meredith Garmon
Raven 64

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