Many thanks to Hanzík for the Czech translations!

slightly geeky  slightly geeky

Case 119


Master Banzen had invited fellow master Suku to his domicile for lunch. On the table lay two great stacks of bowls, each several feet high.

Banzen reached up and took the topmost bowl from his stack. It was empty save for three grains of rice. He deftly snapped up each grain with his chopsticks and ate them.

Suku took the topmost bowl from her own stack. In it was only a single toasted sesame seed. With great difficulty she caught it between the ends of her chopsticks.

Banzen took another bowl. At the bottom lay a morsel of orange flesh. “Recently,” he said, “you advised a certain monk that it was wise to structure even the smallest application.”

Suku also took another bowl, discovering the tiniest sliver of cucumber. “I have found that with structure comes clarity and extensibility.”

“You will be pleased to hear that he is heeding your advice most eagerly,” said Banzen. “He now divides a hundred-line throwaway application into many classes.”

“Ah,” said Suku, reaching for the next bowl. It held two grains of rice. “You believe I counseled him poorly.”

“Injudiciously, perhaps,” said Banzen, struggling to scoop up a few dots of tobiko. “Any virtue, taken to extremes, becomes a vice. Incidentally, how is your sushi?”

“Is that what we’re eating?” asked Suku, considering the tall stack of bowls that still remained.

“I am not entirely certain,” said Banzen, studying a ribbon of nori at the end of his chopsticks. “I suppose we must go through all the courses before we can be sure.”

Topics...  rethinking, structure