The fountain of eden a m.., p.1
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       The Fountain of Eden: A Myth of Birth, Death, and Beer, p.1

           Dan H Kind
The Fountain of Eden: A Myth of Birth, Death, and Beer

  A Myth of Birth, Death, and Beer

  by Dan H. Kind

  Copyright 2011 Dan H. Kind.

  All rights reserved.

  The characters, events, and institutions portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead or mythical, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

  Chapter 1

  The Tale of the Sacred Pipe

  Sitting Lotus lit up a joint outside the back door of the New Shaolin Monastery kitchens. He took a long, relaxing drag and exhaled, marijuana smoke wreathing his shaved head like an ethereal crown of thorns. It was his night to take out the recycling, and because of the nightly cleanup taking place inside the dining hall and kitchens, he figured no one would notice him taking a little more time than necessary to do the job.

  Every night Master Mirbodi made sure this ritualistic after dinner scrub-down was completed. If the kitchens and dining hall were not cleansed up to his lofty standards, or if the novices were not putting their full minds into the scrubbing of tables and washing of dishes, the evening's slackers would wake up the next morning with nasty welts on various parts of their persons. Sometimes, even if you didn’t slack off, and swept and mopped the floor mindfully, you would still wake up with a splitting headache and a bone-bruise on your skull.

  Such was the life of a Zen novice, however. You never knew when a master’s staff would connect with your unprotected shoulders or head, so it was in all novices' best interests to stay aware of where the masters were at all times.

  Especially old Master Mirbodi, who seemed to grow fonder and fonder of smacking poor young novices upside the head with each passing year. When Sitting Lotus had first arrived at New Shaolin a decade ago, Master Mirbodi would only thwack! him when he drifted off during zazen sessions, but nowadays the tyrannical overlord of novices and undisputed master of New Shao—


  The joint went flying from his mouth and landed in front of the recycling bin, smoking and smoldering a fiery red in the darkness.

  Uh-oh. He was busted for sure.

  He turned around to face the music, a lame excuse of a story already inventing itself within his mind, but there was no one there. He turned back to the recycling bin to pick up his jay—and there was Master Mirbodi, marijuana cigarette clenched between two palsied fingers!

  The Zen master stared down at the burning joint, dreaded staff gripped tight in his other gnarled fist. He was brown-skinned and looked like an antiquated Gandhi clone. His head, in the longstanding fashion of Buddhist monks, was shaved down to the skin. The origin of Master Mirbodi was a question in constant whispered debate among the novices. Underneath all the wrinkles, skin-folds, skin-flaps, and wiry old-man hair, it was impossible to determine where he might be from—and, as went with the territory, the Zen Master never talked of the past.

  “You smoke, yes, but you no smoke mindfully,” said the relic of a monk, holding the smoking jay to an inquisitive right eye. “Will you never break the skin born of mother, novice? Will you never become unborn?”

  “Say what, now? Master, I—”


  “You ever hear story of Sioux and sacred pipe?” said Master Mirbodi.

  Sitting Lotus rubbed his throbbing skull. “No. What does that have to do with Zen?”


  “All things arise from Mind, and Mind is Zen, Zen is Mind!” Master Mirbodi peered at his wayward charge with a single eyebrow raised. “At rate you going, you be novice for rest of this life, at least. And then maybe you reincarnate as tree so you have long time—at least few hundred years—to think about it. Maybe you need more time, and after that you come back as mountain. At least then you have few hundred million years to think about it. After that . . . comet. Roam galaxies until cosmos explode.”

  “I’m sorry, Master, but I—”


  “You no talk now. I tell you story of sacred pipe.”

  Master Mirbodi crooked his staff in his elbow and leaned on it. Wobbling a bit, Sitting Lotus plopped down on an overturned recycling bin. Was it bad when he saw three blurry Master Mirbodis standing there, punishing staffs in hands, instead of the usual one?

  “Long ago,” began the Zen master, “Lakota tribe roam free among plains hunting buffalo. One day two hunters come across unearthly beautiful woman dressed in white buckskin. One hunter move in and reach out to grab woman, and angry cloud with crackling lightning descend from sky. When cloud lift and awed hunter look at brother tribesman who enslaved to senses, nothing left but bones, swarming with snakes. White Buffalo Woman tell remaining tribesman she carry gift and important message from Great Spirit. She follow him to camp and enter sacred tipi with mysterious bundle in hand, raise it for all tribe to see, and within mysterious bundle none other than—”

  “Sacred pipe?” interrupted Sitting Lotus.


  “Within mysterious bundle sacred pipe,” continued Master Mirbodi. “Long story squat, White Buffalo Woman teach Lakota that when smoking sacred pipe, they smoking all elements of life—inhaling universe, exhaling universe. All things interdependent, novice. All elements interconnected.”

  Master Mirbodi looked down at the burning joint in his hand. As though performing a sacred ritual, he offered it to the west, north, east, south, earthwards, and heavenwards, then brought the smoking cylinder to his lips and inhaled until it had blazed away to nothingness.

  Master Mirbodi wiped his ashy fingers on his patchwork robe and peered slyly at the novice. “When you next smoke, novice, remember this story of sacred pipe, and smoke mindfully.”

  “B-but Master M-mirbodi, how d-did you know what I was d-doing out here?”

  Master Mirbodi's blue eyes opened so wide that his eyelids seemed to disappear, as if he was watching all of Creation flash by in an instant and did not want to miss an iota of action. “Mind always present. You just no see it.” He chuckled, his eyelids seeped back onto his face from whatever weird cranial dimension they had visited, and Sitting Lotus wondered whether he had really seen that or was concussed. “Now get back inside and mop kitchen floor. Mindfully.”

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