Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What Do We Say To Death?

Yesterday's Zen story about Hui-Neng, his pursuer, and the robe and bowl on the road reminds me of the sword-in-the-stone legend of King Arthur. Hui Neng's story, too, is obviously legend, and practice of Zen Buddhism does not require literal belief in the legend. The legend is just a vehicle for the lesson, just as the bowl and robe in the story were symbols for the teaching.  You don't have to believe that a hare and a tortoise once had an actual footrace to understand the moral of Aesop's fable.

Hui-Neng's "think neither good nor evil" also reminds me of William Shakespeare's "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so" from Hamlet. 

Which brings up the question, did Shakespeare write the King James Bible? Or at least the Book of Psalms? It is said that Shakespeare was born on the 23rd of April, although that's never been historically confirmed. It is established that he died on an April 23rd. Two 23s equal 46, which would have been Shakespeare's age in 1610, when the King James translation was in its final stages. If you look up the Book of Psalms in the King James Version, the 46th word of the 46th Psalm is shake, and the 46th word from the end is spear

Just saying.