Kitchen Gathas

On one occasion, at a time not far removed from now, I found myself in a meeting housed in a building that was home to several Bhikkhunis. Perhaps midway through the meeting I ducked into the kitchen and saw this:

HE ALWAYS LIKE S TO DREAM ABOUT DOG AND PUPPY

Refrigerator magnet poetry.

Now, I am fully aware that my interest is highly conditioned: by staring at the jumble of words and picking out the “composed” parts I am already making decisions about what the nuns would and would not write, but this does not deter my interest.

All of the residents and editors of this refrigerator were learning English, and the limited palette and restricted grammar of the magnets offered an odd constraint on what was surely a bubbling fountain of lived wisdom.

My favorite lines were located at the center of the fridge, which maybe made it their favorite lines too:

WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THIS IS EMPTY

BUT WHEN THERE IS FOOD AROUND US
SHE CHEW

I hesitate to comment upon it much because I don’t want to appear to be reading into it what may not be there, but I hear the story of how we must continue to live in the world, even when we are equipped with knowledge that transcends it.

I wanted to use some of the remaining magnets and leave a message, but I did not want to destroy something beautiful that I could perhaps not parse.

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