Mike: Hi Greg, how's it going?

Greg: This is not a question that may be easily answered. My work here is done, but...

Mike: But what?

Greg: I hesitate to speak of it.

Mike: WHAT?

Greg: I have a lecture.

Mike: Is that all?

Greg: It's a law lecture.

Mike: You have a law lecture?

Greg: Yes.

Mike: Ooo. Are you sure you're ready to go back?

Greg: My head is shaven, I'm sociopathic, and my robe is saffron. Well, a saffron shade of black. It's time.

And so begins...

Tales of the Master #5:

In Which The Master Lays Down The Law (Part One)

(The Master walks into a three-quarter fulled lecture theatre, with the rows filled from the front. Seeing all the people, he looks down at his watch. It's ten minutes to the hour. The Master sighs, and takes a seat in the very back row, which is empty)

(5 minutes pass)

Brother Charles: Greg! You're at a lecture.

Zen-Master Greg: It is the case.

Brother Charles: It's good to see you again.

Zen-Master Greg: It is good to be back. I fear that I may have grown soft during my time in the halls of philosophy. It is time to quench myself in fire once again.

Brother Charles: Um, yeah. Whatever.

(Brother Charles gets up to leave)

Zen-Master Greg: Where are you going?

Brother Charles: You are at a law lecture. You will take notes. I am no longer needed here.

Zen-Master Greg: Indeed. Are you enrolled in admin law?

Brother Charles: This is so.

Zen-Master Greg: Then I shall not be there.

Brother Charles: Truly, you follow the path.

(They bow to each other, and Brother Charles leaves)

(Suddenly a mob of law students rush in. Half are dressed in (bad) suits, and the other half are dressed in casual surf clothing. Almost all are carrying laptops. They race for the back row, and the one available power outlet, which is directly behind the Master. When they get to the outlet they fight over who gets to plug in their laptop, causing the Master's seat to be jostled against the desk. Finally, one being successful, they sit down on either side of the Master. Throughout this process, the Master's expression does not change. He is, however, rotating the fingers on each hand, one by one, methodically.)

Student A: Can I have a go on your laptop?

Student B: No. I'm using it.

Student A: But you're just playing a game.

Student B: No I'm not. Besides, there isn't time.

Student A: Prick. Woah!

Student B: What?

Student A: That guy's wearing a robe.

Student B: You're kidding. Where?

Student A: Beside you. Hey man, cool robe. Very black.

Student B: Yeah. Way cool.

(The Master says nothing, but continues to rotate his fingers)

Student A: So is that like a kilt?

Student B: Huh?

(The Master looks faintly puzzled)

Student A: Do you wear anything underneath it?

Student B: Oh. Yeah, what's under the robe?

(The Master has switched to forming a fist with one hand, hitting the opposite palm, and then repeating with the other hand, very fast)

Student A: Come on Mr X. I want to know. What's under the robe.

(Student A reaches out to grab the robe of the Master, and the Master grabs the reaching hand by the wrist. The face of student A begins to change colour)

Student B: Hey, all he wants to know is what's under the robe.

Zen-Master Greg: Pain. Would you like some?

Student B: No, no that's quite all right. Don't trouble yourself.

Zen-Master Greg: There is no burden in the teaching of the way.

Student B: Um... ah... oh here's the lecturer. No time to learn. Maybe next time.

Zen-Master Greg: I shall look forward to it.

(The Master releases that hand of Student A)

(5 minutes pass)

Student A: So what's your name anyway?

(The Master says nothing)

Student A: I said, what's your name?

Zen-Master Greg: I heard.

Student A: So what is it?

Zen-Master Greg: You may call me...

Student A: What?

(The Master says nothing)

Student A: Come on, what did you say?

Zen-Master Greg: Are you referring to me?

Student A: Obviously. You said that I can call you... and then I didn't hear the rest.

Zen-Master Greg: My most humble apologies. You may call me...

Student A: But what did you say?

Zen-Master Greg: I said...

Student A: But you keep saying you'll tell me your name and then you don't say anything.

Zen-Master Greg: Precisely.

Student A: I don't understand.

Zen-Master Greg: Yes.

Student A: Why won't you tell me what to call you.

Zen-Master Greg: But I have. I have told you to call me nothing.

Student A: Come again?

Zen-Master Greg: You will call me nothing because you have nothing of interest to say. Experiencing enlightenment, you shall realise this, and cease to trouble those who are as spiritual oxen to your spiritual dung fly.

Student A: But how do you know I don't have anything to say?

Zen-Master Greg: In the same fashion as I know not to expect wise discourse from the ant, the cockroach, and those that dislike Leonard Cohen.

Student A: Huh?

Zen-Master Greg: Their natures forbid wisdom. As does yours. You are a law student.

Student A: But so are you.

Zen-Master Greg: Incorrect. Law students are eager. They race into lectures ten minutes early. They wear suits to lectures out of choice. They carry around laptops without knowing how to use them. They leave the same laptops lying around since they think that no one would bother to steal them because "everyone has one". They take no notice of what is said and they ask stupid questions. Repeatedly.

Student B: So if you're not a law student, what are you doing here?

Zen-Master Greg: I am not a law student. I do, however, study law.

Student A: That's crap, and you're an arrogant prick.

Zen-Master Greg: Do you know what the Buddha looks like?

Student A: No. Why?

Zen-Master Greg: Because it is said, "If you meet the Buddha travelling down the road, kill him".

Student A: And?

Zen-Master Greg: I also do not know what the Buddha looks like. So I am forced to guess. And you appear to be convinced of your own enlightenment.

Student A: So you're going to kill me? Yeah, right.

Zen-Master Greg: Philosophy demands it.

Student A: You're full of it. For one thing it's illegal. You know, murder? Those who study law do read the Criminal Code, I take it?

Zen-Master Greg: Which is subject to the constitution. Which guarantees freedom of religion. Fortunately, Zen is realised as philosophy _and_ religion.

Student A: That'll never work.

Zen-Master Greg: Possibly. Certainly a test case would appear required to settle the matter.

Student A: But that would mean...

Zen-Master Greg: Your insight is masterful.



<The sound of something being forcibly ingested>

(As the screams echo through the crowded lecture theatre, the lecturer's drone ceases abruptly, and all heads bent over work rapidly rise and turn towards the back. The Master innocently returns the stares directed his way. On one side of the Master sits a student looking ill, whilst the seat on the other side would appear unoccupied)

Lecturer: Is there some problem down the back?

Zen-Master Greg: There is no problem.

Lecturer: Then what was that noise?

Zen-Master Greg: Problem resolution.

Lecturer: Oh.

(The lecture continues)

(The Master leans forward and taps the shoulder of the student in front of him)

Zen-Master Greg: Might I borrow a tissue?

Student C: Sure. Do you have a cold too?

Zen-Master Greg: Not exactly.

(The Master takes the proffered tissue, and wipes his fingers with it, before screwing it up and throwing it into the bin. He receives a puzzled look from student C, who also looks oddly at the green Student B)

Student C: Is your friend okay?

Zen-Master Greg: It's just that he ate something disagreeable. I grant that he was morose earlier, but action has been taken. Indeed, I can now guarantee he contains the humour of two people.

Student C: Oh, right. What was that on your fingers, by the way.

Zen-Master Greg: Merely something disagreeable.

Student C: Oh, okay.

(The lecture continues. Student B doesn't do much except look straight ahead, although he occasionally looks quickly at the Master before looking away again. The Master stares serenely ahead. Then the lecturer is interrupted by a question. He gives a long and complicated answer. The speaker then asks the same question again. The lecturer answers again, this time in a simpler fashion. The speaker then asks the same question again, re phrased. The lecturer answers yet again, in language so simple that a child could understand)

Student D: But it _can't_ work like that. I couldn't do that and get away with it.

Lecturer: As I've explained, international law operates on different principles from municipal law. You can't act that way because you're not a country.

Student D: But it just _can't_ work that way. It's wrong. It shouldn't happen.

Zen-Master Greg: Excuse me.

Student D: Yes.

Zen-Master Greg: You've asked the same question three times, and rejected three factually equivalent answers on the basis of your personal moral convictions as to how the law should operate. If you really need to discuss this, could you do so after the lecture when the rest us have left?

Student D: No. I don't understand and I want an answer now. If you can't give me an answer, just shut up and let me talk to someone who can.

Zen-Master Greg: Oh my child, I have an answer for you.

Student D: Well let's have it then.

Zen-Master Greg: Who am I to deny enlightenment? As you will.

(The Master reaches towards student B, who screams out "NO! NOT ME AS WELL!" and covers his eyes with his hands. The Master, however, simply takes the now unsecured laptop of Student B, and then hurls it at the head of Student D. The impromptu missile lands neatly in the (widely) open mouth of Student D, who is flung backwards (with his chair) by the force of the impact. All that remains to be seen are the feet of Student D, which are sticking straight up. They twitch. Several of the more bored-looking students perk up, and clap politely. The Master stands and bows)

Zen-Master Greg: A true answer is one which denies the possibility of further questions.

(Those clapping rise and bow to the Master)

Lecturer: My God! What's going on here! You!

Zen-Master Greg: Yes?

Lecturer: What kind of violent savage are you?

Zen-Master Greg: A perfectly enlightened one, my child.

Lecturer: Well I've had enough of your 'perfect enlightenment'! Get out! Your days in this faculty are numbered!

Zen-Master Greg: Indeed? Tell me, for it seems necessary to inquire. Do you know what the Buddha looks like?


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