Echidna Media Organization project S.N.A.L. (emo_snal) wrote,
Echidna Media Organization project S.N.A.L.

The Rhinoceros Horn Fan

   Taiyo walks across the warm stones. In fact they're almost too hot under his bare feet, but he tries to walk with equanimity. Butterflies flit about. He comes to Enkan sitting on a wooden bench with his orange robe loosely about him, gazing off at the view of the other mountains.
   "Fetch me my rhinoceros horn fan" says Enkan. Taiyo bows and sets off to find it.
   He walks around the reflecting pond to look in the main hall. Large blotchy koi fish lazily paddle about in the still water. The main hall is empty save for floating dust motes that seem to glow inthe light, but there is no fan there.
   He looks in the pagoda but it is not there. Finally he finds it in Enkan's sparce little room, laying on his table. But it is clearly broken, the rhinoceros horn handle is coming apart and the fan portion, upon which a rhinoceros gazing at the moon has been skillfully painted, is splayed about haphhazardly. Taiyo tries to lift it but it begins to come apart so he leaves it alone so as to not make it worse. He must have known it was broken!I he thinks angrily to himself.
   Taiyo pads more quickly across the hot stones, around the cool pond. Bees buzz lazily about in the warm summer sun.
   Enkan does not appear to have moved.
   "The rhinoceros horn fan is broken" Taiyo reports.
   "If the fan is broken," says Enkan after a minute, without looking up, "bring me back the rhinoceros."
   From his tone, Taiyo gathers that this is a lesson. He bows and withdraws, trying to make sense of it. "Bring me back the rhinoceros? What rhinoceros??" Is the rhinoceros from whom the rhinoceros horn fan was made still alive, wandering the nearby forests without a horn? Taiyo gazes down the forest slopes incredulously.

   As Taiyo stands there in thought, an older monk, Hsueh, comes swishing along in his robes, on his way somewhere. Taiyo tells him what Enkan has just said. Hsueh smiles and says "the rhino is still there" while vaguely gesturing at nowhere in particular with his finger, and then quickly continues on his way, leaving Taiyo as baffled as before.
   He asks a few more monks if there have been any rhinoceroses around lately, but they all look at him strangely.
   "I don’t decline to bring it out, but I’m afraid the horn on its head will be lacking." says Touzi.
   "I want to see the lacking horn" counters Xuedou. They are all smiling knowingly like they are in on a joke.
   A monk named Shifuku draws a circle in the nearby dirt, and then makes the symbol for ox in the middle, which is half the word for rhinoceros. The other monks all fall silent and nod, as if Shifuku has won the game.

   Taiyo walks out into the forest deep in thought. Maybe he will find the rhinoceros.

Tags: zen

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