When the tornado touches down

Lovely, funny essay on anger and where does it go — especially when you live in a Buddhist monastery:

“First Law of Thermodynamics: Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It simply changes forms!” So went the mantra of an erstwhile Zen peer, one of those quasi-scientific mystic types forever trying to link quantum physics with whacked-out spiritual mumbo-jumbo. If you ever disagreed with him, he trembled, his jowls purpling: “That’s… just… your… ego!” A regular fury farmer, this sower of hate seeds was one of those unfortunate American Zen sangha fixtures whose respect and admiration for the teacher is in inverse proportion to his resentment and suspicion of his peers. Once, a fed-up nun, ornery and pugnacious in her own right, shot back: “Listen, you! In a universe that wastes nothing, where does the butthead energy go when you lose your temper? What form does it change into?”

In about a week she got her answer. One morning, this troubled monk we’ll call “Tirade-san”—towering over six feet, girthy, garbed in his turquoise stretch pants and a T-shirt with a picture of the cosmos and an arrow indicating You Are Here—exploded at the densu (monastery greeter) when she forgot to fetch a student from the airport. She in turn barfed a curdled remark on the tenzo (cook), after he misplaced her laminated chant sheets. The tenzo then went Vesuvius on the shoji (zendo mother) when she innocently swung through the kitchen door to brew some green tea.

“Knock before entering!” the normally mild-mannered Pisces roared.

“Have a fucking cow!” the grandmother of three and part-time caregiver blasted back.

Go read it all. You’ll feel better!

2 thoughts on “When the tornado touches down

  1. Thank you. I cried in the car at lunch time today, sometimes my anger just turns to grief and, in turn, tears, which evaporate and go back up into the atmosphere!

  2. That was great, susie! I laughed, I cried, I got angry….it had it all.

    Tracey, only the salt remains!

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