This rather abbreviated sign stands at a T-intersection near my house and points in the direction of the highway, which is no more than fifty feet away and can be easily found without it.  I love the sign’s authoritative clarity and its utter uselessness.

Here’s a brief summary of the puppet show Yvonne and I put on at Iron Bell Zendo Monday evening. I set up the stage and took these pictures last night. (The blurring in the pictures is the effect of an unsteady camera.)  Yvonne was in charge of narration and sound effects, and made a lovely gesture at the end, where, sitting at the side of the black curtain surrounding the screen, she brings her black-robed arm up to her eyes in a wide, poignant gesture of grief. So…..

Hungry Ghost Shadow Puppet Theater presents a poem by the great Japanese Zen poet, Ryokan, based on an ancient Jataka tale from India. These tales told of episodes from the Buddha’s legendary past lives and are meant to illustrate and teach various virtues. Needless to say, a poet sees the pathos as well as the morality in the story.

THE RABBIT IN THE MOON

Three friends–a fox, a monkey and a rabbit–play in the woods and meadows.

The god Indra, decides to test their friendship. He disguises himself as a starving old man, and asks for their help.

The monkey brings nuts (not shown here), the fox a fish (not shown), but the rabbit can find nothing. He bows down in grief, as his supposed friends curse him for not having a heart like theirs.

Then the rabbit jumps up with an idea. He asks the fox to gather wood, and the monkey to light the fire.

The rabbit leaps into the fire to make of himself an offering for an unknown old man. The old man’s heart withers. He beats his breast and cries aloud.

He makes the rabbit whole again. Then he places the little dead body in the palace of the moon.

“And every time I hear this story, still, the tears soak the sleeve of my robe,” says the old poet.