One of the first posts on this blog was about my mis-adventures with a Korean Zen monk I’d befriended. realizing that the post broke the precept of right-speech on a couple of levels, I later removed it, but thought in the spirit of this week’s posts, I’d like to repost a small section of it…
Korean summers are lush with vines and flowers and leaves sprouting everywhere. This was a perfect Korean summer day, insects buzzing as though the heat had a sound, the blue sky reduced to nearly white from the humidity. When we pulled into the hermitage there was already a group of monks sitting outside in the sunshine talking and smiling. They set up a couple large makeshift tables for lunch. There were about twelve of us in all, and then they brought the meal out from the shack. I think I gasped when I saw all the ducks they had in the pans, roasted with garlic, onions, and abalone. The ducks were given to them by some of the local laypeople and they said that as long as the ducks weren’t killed on the temple grounds it was ok. The part I’ll never forget, though, was when the monk sitting across from me leaned down, sun glistening off his grinning face, and came up with a bottle of 18-year-old scotch and a stack of little paper shot cups. I’d never felt more ridiculous than telling a group of Zen monks that I don’t drink, but given that they were monks, if they said it was ok, no excuse was going to cut it. Besides, how many people do I know who have drunk 18-year-old scotch with a group of Zen monks? Perhaps more than I suspect! They told me as long as we aren’t getting drunk, and all are drinking together, than just enjoy it. I had my shot and most of them had two.
After this weeks investigations, there are a few things in the story that I see differently, but that’s how I saw it at the time.
As for the song I chose for this post, Tex Ritter’s Rye Whiskey, there’s something charming about good ol’ drunken philosophizing, even if it comes from a a defective source. “If a tree don’t fall on me I’ll live ’til I die.”
Can’t argue with that one!