Sunday, October 21, 2012

Not Zen 28: Dance

A roshi who had spent the last two years studying in the quiet of meditation halls went with his friends to a nightclub. He was led to the club's mosh pit, which sat just below the stage occupied by a noisy band. In the pit, he was surprised to find his martial arts skills useful. He wasn't dismayed by the roughness but he hadn't expected it.

"Why do you dance like this?" he shouted to the friend who had brought him. He to shout because there was no other way to be heard.

"Because life sucks," said his friend.

After dancing a while longer, the roshi asked a stranger the same question. The stranger had shaved his head bald and he wore tattoos on his face.

"Because life has no meaning," said the stranger. "Because I hurt. I drink. I hit people. It feels good."

"Everyone smiles here," observed the roshi. He remembered to raise his voice. "Even those who are upset. Their shouts are joyous."

"Yes! We share the anger. It's the only time we're happy." The strange man ran away and slammed into a crowd of other men, who shoved him back. A moment later, he returned to the roshi and said, "Hey.  You're smiling, too."

"Yes!" said the roshi. "You are a great dancer! This is a wonderful dance!"

The man smiled and spun away.

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