My Previous Incarnation

Posted on July 4, 2014

enlightenment is a narrow and rocky path, so beware of flip-flops

"I’m the King of the Castle!…I’m the King of the Castle!…heh-heh-heh!"

My Previous Incarnation

       The story of my previous incarnation, when I was a Buddhist monk, in a temple in 8th century Ancient China, is, indeed, a simple one.

Like me. Not very bright.

       I was a Buddhist novice, seeking to enlighten my mind.  And transcend the noisy material world of vanity and pride, of rush and passion. We call that the world of Red Dust, and we try and leave it behind.
My old Zen Master was very strict. He never laughed or smiled. He was a very holy man, and he aspired to great heights. My fellow monks were convinced that in his next incarnation, he would be an Immortal.  
He always carried a small whisk in his hand, and if you weren’t paying attention during meditation, he’d whack you over the back of the head with it.

Well, I got smacked a lot.

    I was constantly getting into trouble.
There was another old monk there, and he was always falling asleep. With his mouth open. We would all be trying to empty our minds, and still our thoughts, and, well, there was always some fly, that would come along, with ideas of its own. The fly would buzz noisily around our heads, and we would shoo it away. Inevitably, it would end up landing solemnly on the old monk’s head.

He wouldn’t notice.

He was too busy being out for the count. The fly would walk around his head for a while, making himself comfortable, and we would try hard to keep our minds empty and pure. The fly would, slowly, nonchalantly, amble down the old monk’s face. We would all try not to notice. Empty minds.

Hummmmm…  (meditate, meditate)

Then the fly would edge closer to the old boy’s mouth. Still we held our minds pure. And empty.

Hummmm…  (meditate, meditate)

Then, darn, if that old fly wouldn’t peek into the wide open mouth.

(Empty minds, pure thoughts).

The Zen Master would be droning on, ringing bells, and reciting sutras. We would all be trying so hard to be worthy of his wise words. The fly, meanwhile, would perch on the old boy’s bottom lip. You could hear a pin drop. Then…

(empty minds)…(pure thoughts)…

the fly would casually hop on in.
You’d think I was the only one watching. Not really. Well, I was the one who would burst out laughing. Everybody else, I mean everybody, would then promptly convulse in hysterics. It was like a dam bursting. Monks rolling around the floor. Tears pouring down their faces. We couldn’t help it.  Honestly. The old monk would wake up, with a fright, and swallow the fly. (Some Karma for the poor old fly.) Then the old boy would squawk, and make gasping noises, turning bright red. I would be trying SO hard to empty my mind…

WHACK!

And I’d get that damn whisk around my head again. I was ALWAYS in trouble.    

     The years and decades went by, and I never did make monk. They put me to work in the kitchen, which was fine by me. I got to be a dab hand at making dandelion wine. For medicinal purposes, of course. The old monk was one of my best customers. On account of all the flies in his stomach, I guess. Then I tried making beer, and it worked too well. The old bugger had too much, and decided to try pole vaulting over the statue of Buddha, shouting “Wheee-eeeee-eeee!!” at the top of his voice. Right in the middle of meditation. He nearly broke his neck, and my Zen Master broke his whisk on my head.

     The years went by, and eventually I passed on. My very next incarnation dawned, and I realized I was back as a penguin, in Antarctica.  I assumed it was a demotion, on account of the Dandelion wine and the beer. But it wasn’t too bad. I loved the scenery, and the other penguins were super nice, if a trifle slow. Hunting anchovy was a blast, and sliding down the ice slopes was hilarious. I liked playing the game "I’m the King of the Castle!" with the grumpy old Walrus, although he didn’t seem to ever see the funny side.
I probably wasn’t supposed to, but I was soon really enjoying myself.
Everything was going real well, until the day came, I was ambling down to the sea. Just minding my own business, humming a little Penguin tune. All of a sudden:

“WHACK!”

And I crashed face first into the water. What was THAT!?

It was my old Zen Master. I have no idea what HE was doing there. Maybe it was a mistake. He was supposed to have been an Immortal. Him, a humble penguin? Maybe it was his Karma to correct me for my failings.  Or was he being punished? For what?
I never did make monk, and now I had this head slapper on my case again. I made a resolution to inquire about coming back as a fly swatter. Maybe I could get some payback.
Bummer.

Oh, well.

Hummmmm…

Francis Meyrick

Last edited by Francis Meyrick on October 11, 2014, 12:27 am


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