by C. J. Serling
Once there was a novice monk who was sent by his master to the market to make almsround. The monk, who was but a young man, found himself tormented by impure thoughts and covetousness of the painted women there. When he returned to his master high atop the hill the monk whined, "Master, surely the flesh poses no barrier to the buddha." The master replied, "Surely it does not," then rapped the young monk twice on the knuckles and bade him spend the rest of the day in quiet contemplation of his impiety. So the monk did, in time coming to control his impure thoughts of the painted women in the market. And that night the master descended the hill and chanted the diamond sutra from a brothel bed.
C. J. Serling, whose work has appeared in Flash Flooding, is a student of law and the classics. He lives in sunny Miami.