Badger confronted Raven after an early morning of zazen and asked, "What is the purpose of your practice?"Verse
Raven said, "Having fun.
Badger said, "Having fun? You work hard and teach from morning to night. You never take a vacation."
Raven said, "Vacate."
I learned early from Hop on Pop:
The opposite of "play" is "fight" --
Though Suess was not explicit about that,
And children's play and fighting
Are often indistinguishable --
Another theory has it:
The opposite of "play" is "work."
This is a fleeting doctrine,
Untenable to anyone observing or remembering
Sparrows or squirrels, trees or grass.
Even ants, so presumed to be at labor,
Are simply doing what, for an ant, is fun.
There do exist in the seasons of time
Coercion and duress, pain and threat of pain,
Fear, addiction, and shame.
These are the opposites that clarify.
When they recede, our fights and work and even these afflictions themselves
Romp in the playground of laughter.
Case adapted from Robert Aitken; introduction and verse by Meredith GarmonPREVIOUS ☙ NEXT ☙ INDEX