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Saturday, February 4, 2017

Pinocchio's Song

A modern Tang poet aspires to be  
Both a puppet and a dummy
Freely possessed by the voice
Of all ten thousand things
And keenly aware the tug of
Each and every string
That’s attached

This short song is the result of an exchange on FB with my friend Michael Freed.  It started out with his posting this drawing of Pinocchio, which then prompted an extended back and forth about freedom and illusion.  The doctrine of Pratityasamutpada teaches us that everything is dependently arising - so from a Buddhist perspective we should see there are strings attached not just to the puppet but to the scissors as well. This further suggests there may be a better path to freedom - to free ourselves of the yearning to be free of the strings instead of trying to cut ourselves free in fact.  Understood literally or metaphorically, the latter approach is always likely to entangle us in a heap of difficulty.     

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