“Guess what? The Man gave me dharma transmission.”

“That’s the silliest thing I ever heard, Stanley.”

“I’m telling you that the Man gave me dharma transmission. That means that now I can teach!”

“Teach what? Stanley, you’re a dog! Bernie doesn’t give dharma transmission to dogs. What could you possibly teach?”

“I can teach you how to be a dog.”

“I don’t want to be a dog, Stanley.”

“Now you will, now that I’m Sensei Stanley. You’ll have more respect for my teachings.”

“What teachings, Stan?”

“Here’s one: Here we are at these wonderful cool pools where we always end our walks in the forest, and you don’t come into the water.”

“I don’t come into the water because I’ll get wet, Stanley.”

“Getting wet’s the point, dumb student. It’s hot out there. All the animals and birds come around here—just listen to the racket!—in order to get wet. Only you humans don’t come in to get wet. That’s why dharma transmission is so important.”

“I don’t follow, Stanley.”

“Exactly my point, defective student, you don’t follow genuine teachings. But now that I’ve become Sensei Stanley, you’ll start listening and come into the water on a hot day. I shouldn’t have to be Sensei Stanley for this, wading into cool water and drinking on a hot day is so obviously skillful and natural. But that’s how you humans are, you require titles to listen to plain common sense.”

“Not common sense, complete silliness, Sens—I mean Stanley. But one thing you are correct about. These birds do make a racket. Inside the forest it’s silent, but as soon as we get here the air explodes with noise. Woodpeckers, tufted titmice, wrens, orioles, cardinals—

“Don’t forget the everlasting crows—”

“It’s like being in the Amazon, Stanley.”

“You can call me Sensei. I love being here. If you did nothing right in the past 14 years of studying with me, at least you did this.”

“I didn’t study with you, Stanley.”

“Sensei Stanley. In fact, if you did nothing right in your whole frigging life, take comfort in knowing that you did one great virtuous act, and that is bringing me here. In that, at least, you are a true and genuine successor to the wisdom of the ancestors.”

“You an ancestor? My foot!”

“What’s wrong with your foot?”

“Speaking of which, Stanley, we begin our summer retreat tomorrow so you won’t see much of me for several days.”

“No problem. Just don’t forget the pearl of all pearls, practice beyond words and letters.”

“What’s that, Stan? Meditation? Inhalation? Exhalation?”

“Feeding me.”

“You know, Stan, you’re right. You are a teacher after all: a great teacher of nonsense. Join the Order of Disorder.”

“Do they call you Sensei in the Order of Disorder? I’ll join anything that calls me Sensei Stanley.”


The blog goes into retreat till next Monday.

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