Years ago there was a bohemian group that held parties at the ramshackle home of an old painter in Canyon, far back in the Oakland Hills. His son and I used to hold long discussions on all sorts of subjects, including physics, math, philosophy, music, literature… One night, both of us having consumed a fair amount of wine, the subject of Zen came up. We wondered if we could make our own contribution to Zen enlightenment. The result was the following.
“In a Zen monastery, a monk was given the opportunity to ask the Master one and only question, with the promise that the Master would answer it. When the appointed day arrived, the monk was presented to the Master. ‘You may state your question,’ said the Master. The monk replied, ‘My question is this: What is the most important question I can ask you, and what is the answer?’ To which the Master replied, ‘That is the most important question you can ask, and this is the answer.’”
Contributed by John Franklin