The Misadventures of Quinxy truths, lies, and everything in between!


Does a dog have Buddha nature?

Zen Buddhism includes a koan which asks the question, "Does a dog have Buddha nature?"

From what I gather, their answer is, "No."

But, I say, "YES!"

If I was a sculptor or a painter/drawer of any merit I would redraw Buddha as a dog and construct some vast and believable conspiracy which explained that the real Buddha was in fact a dog who wandered into a Hindu temple, lay beneath a Bo tree for 20 dog years and attained enlightenment, which he demonstrated by being released from desire; he longer reacted when the people of the temple offered him treats.  And everyone began to transcribe the dog's lesson, and reinterpret his meditative behaviors, and his glorious liberation from suffering, and want, and see him only as living in the perfect now.  But their first book of his teachings sold very poorly, so they made a few minor edits and Siddhartha Gautama turned from dog to a man.  And the rest is history.



My Zen Koan about a Girl

A fragment from an unsent email to a girl I met at a wedding in London who I pointlessly fancied, and who occasionally contacted me only to then become as silent as the grave if I actually respond...

I feel like you are a koan my Zen master keeps presenting to me every six months to chart my spiritual growth... “Quinxy-san. Master Kenze arrives at the zen-do with a letter for you from a friend. If you reply to this person, you will hear no more from them. If you don't reply, you will hear no more from them. Master Kenze gives you a quilled fountain pen, a well of black ink, and one piece of bamboo parchment. What do you do?”

And I know the answer, I've been presented with this particular koan several times before, and each time I get it wrong I am told the answer: “You pick up the quilled fountain pen, drive it through the center of the paper lying pinning it to the desk, leave the pen standing nib stuck in the soft wood. You dip your pinky in the ink and draw two concentric circles around the pen, the first on the paper, the second on the wood of the desk. And from your diaphragm, growl, 'Yasuke!'.”

As with all koans, the answer is gibberish to the unenlightened, and no fakesies. The master will know if the answer I give is rote or real, though the words are the same.

So, on this day, I readily admit to the master that once again, I do not know the answer. But I do tell him this much... “I know now that the day ends with no words written on the paper.” And he gives me a rare and precious smile, so in sympathy and joy I smile, too. With love he cracks me on the back with his stick. I have made progress.

I don't speak all dialects of human very well, and yours is apparently one of those.