four-color carbon prints on Zerkall paper, scotch tape and magnets, 2005-2006 © 2010 Doug and Mike Starn / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
four-color carbon prints on Zerkall paper, scotch tape and magnets, 2005-2006 © 2010 Doug and Mike Starn / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The Iron Flute, Case 90

Main Case

        There once was a little hut called Fei’tien, meaning “rich field,”
       where a monk lived for thirty years.

               (Fugai: Maybe he did not know how to move.)
       He had only one tray made of clay.
 
               (Fugai: Expensive things are not always precious.)
       One day a monk, who studied under him, broke that tray accidentally.

               (Fugai: The real treasure appears from the breaking.)
       Each day the teacher asked the student to replace it.

              (Fugai: Why do you want another?)      
      Each time the disciple would bring a new one, the teacher threw it out saying,
      “This is not it. Give me back my old one!”

              (Fugai: I would open my hands and laugh.)

              (Genro: If I were the disciple, I would say, “Wait until the sun
              rises in the West.”)
 
              (Fugai: I will search for it before I am born.)

Genro’s Poem
It is broken;
 
      (Fugai: The whole tray remains.)
Run fast after it.

      (Fugai: The sword disappears in the water.) 
      (Genro: The disciple cannot understand it.)

      (Fugai: It has returned to him already. Call an iron kettle a bell; call the earth heaven . . . what’s wrong?)

 

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