Thursday, January 24, 2008

Zen Master

Last year, I posted the 5 jobs I'd love if I weren't a pastor, but I recently discovered a 6th. In preparations for a small group study of various world religions, I took my first serious look at Zen Buddhism and, in particular, the role of a Zen Master. Basically a Zen Master gets to live at the top of a mountain and answer the philosophical questions of weary pilgrims with riddles (called Koans*) that are purposefully nonsense. As an added bonus, they get to hit people without legal consequences.

*Here's an example of a Koan:
Question from a Monk- What is meant by the pronouncement 'to go beyond the Buddha and the Patriarchs?'
Answer from a Zen Master- Poor Rice Cake