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Monday, December 15, 2008

two prayers

two monks went up onto a hill to pray on a windy day.
at the insistence of the one, they both brought pillows.

upon attaining the summit, the other monk sat down and began to ready his pillow for a time of lengthy prayer and meditation. the one, however, remained standing. with his eyes he followed the wind as it bent the trees and brushed the weeds back and forth in waves through the valley below.

the seated monk began to pray and meditate.
the standing monk continued to stand, looking down.

after awhile, the seated monk hazarded a glance, with one eye, towards his standing comrade. with a swift and decisive motion, the standing monk produced a knife from beneath his habit and cut open his pillow, releasing the feathers, surprisingly multi-coloured, into the valley, carried by the wind.

the seated monk stood up and walked to his friend's side. the standing monk, whose idea it had been to bring pillows this day on their prayer walk, remained silent.

the wind continued to blow and the feathers continued to drift to and fro for quite some time, each one eventually finding the ground on the terms established for it by that wind and of course by the spinning of the earth.

the once-seated monk finally asked:
brother, how will you pray in comfort, now that you have no pillow?

his teacher replied:
i would rather sacrifice to make this world a softer place
than pray comfortable prayers.