Joshu's "Mu," "The Cliffhanger," and Boxing

I just figured something out.

It's not the first time this has happened. I know that life gives us the test first and the study guide later, but still, when something really hits you between the eyes, it kind of makes you notice.

Years ago, as a Zen student, I "broke through" (we say these things, but we don't really do anything that spectacular) "Joshu's 'Mu.'" The whole koan is really just about words as opposed to "reality." You can cook that thought for years.

I realized what this koan meant at 2 AM one morning. What happened was that I farted, enormously, gigantically, big time. And it woke me up. And my then-wife. We are now divorced, although this event had nothing to do with it.

But some koans really puzzle me, even though the party line is that if you get through one, you get through all. That's a bunch of horse-hockey.

So, I was laying here, in the Midwest, sick again. I get sick every time I come to the Midwest to visit my wife. A problem may be brewing there, but I don't know for absolute sure. She's running her yoga class right now, so I have some time to write this.

Whenever I watch boxing, the worst part for me is when we get to see the boxers waiting to go into the ring. I have some idea of what that feels like, because I used to perform as a classical guitarist. And my father, before me, was a pianist. He used to tell me stories about how he would "die a thousand deaths" before each performance. Instead of using my brain, and listening to this advice, I walked right into it. My son-in-law is now doing the same thing. He's a classical pianist in NYC. Meet The Stupids.

There was this koan, to continue the story, that never made sense to me. The details don't matter, but in essence, some guy gets chased by a tiger until he comes to a cliff (I should mention here, in passing, that tigers have been a serious problem in Asia; I'll expand on that later).

In this koan, the poor guy ends up hanging from a vine, over the cliff, with the snarling tiger (nasty things always snarl, although I've never tried it).

At that very moment, this poor guy sees a strawberry, and eats it. It's a wonderful experience, very immediate.

I think about how boxers feel just before that fight, and how they deal with it.

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