QC Koan: If you were the guardian of the Pure Land, would you allow repentant mosquitoes entry?
Note: This little story could be seen as a mosquito machismo, or as metaphor.
The man was sitting outdoors on a warm June night, shirtless. The sun set slowly, as it does in the northern latitudes. When the sun was out of sight the mosquitoes appeared.
“The sun may be afraid of you, but not me!” The man was sneering at mosquitoes as they began landing on his bare skin. “It’s time someone faced this problem head on…I mean hand on.” He’d intentionally exposed his near naked body as bait.
The man took up arms against the multitude. Slap. “Behold, the vampire slayer,” he said as he looked with satisfaction at the inkblots of their smeared little bodies. Slap. “There is one who will stand against you!”
He was prepared to accept the sound of success when he made an unsettling observation. For each mosquito he killed, two more appeared in its place. “These may not be vampires. More like the mythical hydra. But if these are the heads, where is the body?” The body of Mosquito was hidden by night.
Slap. Not so satisfying as before. More mosquitoes appeared. He couldn’t keep up. “I am here to defeat you.” He wondered if he could grab and hold the body of Night, wring it like a wet towel until all the mosquitoes dropped helpless to the ground. He grasped at the air and did not find Night, nor a mosquito one. And yet he could feel the stings on his body.
“If Hercules could do it, then so can I.” He was becoming addicted to the sting, and addicted to his reaction – not giving up. “You may think yourselves religious, but while you prey, I slay.”
The play on words did not lighten his mood. Slap. No matter how hard he tried, some of the mosquitoes were making off with his blood. Slap. “I’ve become a part of their reproductive cycle. In a sense, I’m mating with mosquitoes.” Slap. “This should not be the sound of one hand clapping.” Slap. “I’ve just got to stop.”
The man was disturbed by his behavior. He couldn’t seem to stop. Slap. Giving up seemed unmanly. Slap. He needed help. Slap. He looked at the first star to appear on the horizon.
“Star bright, starlight, first star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, stop mating with mosquitoes.”
The answer came to him as a direct knowing. He knew what he must do. He stood up.
“Screw you guys.”
He decided to go home.
“How clever that I know the way.”
How foolish that he’d forgotten.