Walking down this road I would like to see a rice field golden in the morning sun with a great mountain rising behind it just around the next bend. I would settle for a town its lone Temple quiet, awaiting the morning bell, the call to sit, with maybe a cat at the base of a statue the Bodhisattva. I am ready to bow deeply to the first monk I see this day, but my reverie is broken by the barely dodged wave thrown up by city bus running late and fast down the crowded street of this upstate New York city.
This morning, as I do most mornings, I took my paints and painted the sky blue. Today for some reason, I opted for Cornflower, it seemed to fit my mood and the neighbors cat, after considering it for a few moments seemed to agree with my choice, though she suggested tomorrow might be better served by either Carolina Blue or Iceberg, but if I don’t sleep all that well tonight, I suspect I will just go with Cool Gray. The Cardinal says anything darker than Dark Pastel blues is unacceptable since it takes away from his beauty, but that vanity aside, it takes too long to sweep aside the clouds to do the second coat the brighter blues all demand.
If you ask me whether a dog has buddha nature I will stare back at you in total silence. If you ask again, or implore an answer I will smile at you, offer gassho and a bow. If you ask yet again, I will turn away and you will be left with a box into which you dare not look lest you find Schroedinger’s cat.
Each morning, as he went out on his walk, he would check the street light pole just down his block. He would carefully read the missing cat and dog posters, pause to think whether he might have seen any of the missing animals. He often wondered how many had been found, the missing notices left to fade in the sun and peel away after enough rain. He knew that some had found new homes, wondered briefly what they might have been escaping, hiding out from their owners. And each morning he scanned the pole to see if anyone had reported him missing, but he was the sort of person no one missed, he knew, and so he continued on his walk.
In many ways thoughts are very much like cats. By that I mean that they are known to wander in and stay as long as they like and never a moment longer. If you feed or stroke them they may linger, but please rest assured that if you really want them to stay, try though you might, they will find an open window or door and be gone the next time you look.
Cats have more in common with snakes that we care to recognize. She said this with a straight face. He wanted to laugh at her, but dared not. She didn’t take laughter kindly when she thought it was directed at her. He calmly asked her to explain. It’s simple, she said, with feigned patience, both can slither around, are expert at hiding when they wish, and as you have now so clearly demonstrated, much as Adam did, both of you the hard way, both snakes and cats are smarter by far than your average male human.