Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Foreign Groom

"The Foreign Groom", number 159 of 188 from Robert Aitken's book Miniatures of a Zen Master.

I have to admit that today's miniature is uncomprehensible to me. Aitken describes some Tang period polo figurines on display at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. He then proceeds to make a story about the figurines. In the end the frozen polo player is "focused on whacking the ball for all time."

Is that the joke or there something more serious going on? There is no point to this. Indeed the words flow out and it is what it is. Relative and absolute collide as the polo player "whacks the ball for all time."

Here is yet another demonstration of the power of the Internet. A Google search produced the link below. It is the relevant two minute segment of audio from the 'Honolulu Academy of Arts audio tour'. Here the narrator describes the polo players and the history of the piece. I imagine this is the same thing Aitken heard or maybe he went 'old-school' and read the placard. Sorry, no images.

Any error or confusion created by my commentary on
Miniatures of a Zen Master
is solely a reflection of my own delusion and ignorance.
Any merit generated by this activity is solely the result of
Aitken Roshi's clear teaching and is dedicated to
all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas throughout space and time

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