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.

Musing on Case 1 of the Mumonkan


Inside the box
the cat is alive
and the cat is not alive
but Schrodinger is dead
or the idea of Schrodinger is dead.

We walking into the store –
he was sitting, rough hewn face
in hands, staring at a table covering,
ignoring our approach.  He
barely looked up when we paid
when the clerk gingerly
carried him to the office to wait
for our car, he sat in a corner
his back to the room.
Now he sits beside the old
Franklin stove, tucking into
the fireplace that has never
tasted flame, gone through life flue-less.
He stares intently into the room,
watching all come, all go.
You suspect you see a faint smile
crease his hardwood, carved lips –
he reflects you.

We walking into the store –
there was a too large bamboo table
two folding chairs, a rainbowed
Nepalese table cover.
The masks on the wall keep
watchful eye on us as we stroll
among scarves, hats, wooden boxes.
New hat on my balding head
we walked slowly out of the store
debating the purchase of a mask
which remained moot, opinionless.
Home, later, I sit beside the fireplace
and absentmindedly touch the Franklin stove,
stare into the room
watching no one come, no one go.
I am smiling, or
I am not smiling, here inside
Schrodinger’s box.