Zen of Dog

The Zen of Dog

Several monks sit basking in the easy morning light. Piper stuffs a tennis ball in the plastic chucker and fires it across the lawn. Dingo is off like a fuzzy blue rocket.

He runs the ball down and comes loping back. He drops it in front of Piper, bouncing up down and barking furiously. She fwips it again.

“I love Dingo,” says Magpie. “But he has to be the least Zen thing on Earth.”

Zenshiro laughs. “Why do say that?”

“He never relaxes. He’s obsessed with his ball. Or his rope – he’ll play tug for hours. He barks like his head’s on fire. He’s absolutely nuts. Nuts and Zen are opposites, right?”

“Think about it,” says the old master. “For him there’s no yesterday or tomorrow. He places no conditions on existence. When you have a dream, you wake up and think, ah, it was only a dream. If he dreams of chasing a squirrel, perhaps, and wakes up, he is in his bed instead of the forest, the squirrel is gone, the whole world has changed in an instant. This is the usual way of things. He does not distinguish between real and imagined. He inhabits his world joyously.”

Dingo trots up, drops the ball, and slurps at the water dish beside Piper.

“All time, all place, all experience is one,” says Zenshiro. “Perhaps Dingo is the most Zen thing on Earth.”

Magpie hmmphs. “Maybe. He certainly has ‘no mind’ down.”

Piper backhands him in the arm. “You be nice to my dog.”

“I don’t remember him being your dog when he made off with Kitsuné’s sandwich yesterday.”

The Heeler picks up the ball, drops it soaking into Magpie’s lap and recommences his bouncing/barking frenzy.

Piper hands him the ball-chucker. “When you get to Nirvana,” she says, “one of these will be waiting for you.”

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