25 Feb VAT: The Pope and the Zen Master
The Pope asked the Zen master: “Since you are one with everything, how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” Zen master responded: “What’s a pin?”
“How many angels can dance on the head of a pin” is an expression from medieval times referring to the philosophical clergy debating pointless topics. Zen has no interest in angels as it questions the very basic assumptions we make about the identify of anything (say, a pin) as everything is forever in transition and as such cannot be described as it is somehow different by the time one finishes describing it. The point (no pun intended) of this post is to contrast the western religious view that presupposes certain concepts as reality (angels) with the eastern view that questions what we all agree is reality (a pin).