The Tale of Wu-Wei

"I'm hungry, Wu-Wei," said the Master. "Fetch me something to eat."

Wu-Wei took the Master's bowl, went deep into the forest, and after much searching managed to fill it to the brim with wild cherries. Then he proudly returned and presented the bowl to the Master.

"If it's all the same to you, Wu-Wei," said the Master, and before even finishing his sentence he tossed the wild cherries to the birds and squirrels that fluttered and scurried outside his hut.

"I'm still hungry, Wu-Wei," said the Master, handing the bowl back to Wu-Wei. "Fetch me something to eat."

This time, Wu-Wei went to the house of a rich man with many orchards, and after persistent begging, he persuaded the man to fill the Master's bowl with all manner of ripe, delicious fruits. Then Wu-wei triumphantly returned to the Master, offering him the bowl.

"It really makes no difference, Wu-Wei," said the Master, and immediately offered the fruit to a band of poor wandering monks who had congregated at his door.

"I'm very hungry, Wu-Wei," said the master. "Fetch me something to eat."

Wu-Wei took the bowl once more from the Master, but by now confused and angry, he fled to a cave and began to curse and weep. And there he remained and cursed and wept for a very long time.

Some years later, Wu-Wei quit his cave and returned to the Master's hut. He found the Master inside, now very old and haggard, and looking almost as if he were too weak to speak. But as Wu-Wei silently handed him the empty bowl, the Master smiled broadly and said, "Thank you, Wu-Wei, for now I shall feast."

--jdf, 10 July 2001

You are listening to a MIDI file of the Canonic Variation on "Hymn for the Standing Buddhas of Bamiyan" by Dillon Ford.

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Last updated Sepember23, 2001
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© Copyright 2001 by Joseph Dillon Ford