Z is for Zealously Zen—A to Z Blog Challenge

We are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/). The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Hope & Healing…folktales around the world that beat back viruses. Each post highlights one or more balms to soothe and cure our struggles of today with oral tradition and lore of the past. At times, a post will make a connection to history. You can guess what inspired this theme. Yes, the COVID-19. What better time to delve into tales where things can and do turn out “happily ever after”?

Zealously Zen-

From China-

Brocades are woven with fine details and embossed cloth. The skill to make a brocade has always been highly prized as it is by the fairies in this story. The loss of one’s work brought sickness near death for a woman and the son is willing to find it. That is zealous action, and yet it is a type of zen he needed for his mother.

50-word-or-less summary:

Mother lost favorite brocade to wind/fairies. Sick/dying! Son/Chen sought zealously to bring peace to mother. Fairies attempted to copy mother’s work. Li-en and Chen shared glances. Wove herself in brocade. Chen returned brocade, healed mother. Brocade enlarged as castle, Chen and mother entered. Mother taught fairies. Chen married Li-en.

Finding the Story: http://www.aaronshep.com/stories/056.html

Compare to History:

In October 2013, David Wilson with the South China Morning Post reported the increase of mental illness diagnoses and that critics accused psychiatrists of inflating the numbers. Labels such as “disruptive mood disregulation disorder” and “social anxiety disorder” could simply mean common temper tantrums and shyness. Was the mother exaggerating her condition so much that her body responded physically? Did the son truly need to go on a quest or discover another to bring her peace. Though, Chen would never have found Li-en without that adventure.

More on the History: https://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/health/article/1339739/how-zealous-psychiatrists-are-diagnosing-quirks-mental-illnesses

From Zen Buddhist-

Buddha is reborn as many animals and learns lessons with each birth. This time, Buddha becomes a Banyan deer. He leads other deer and makes a choice that affected a king.

50-word-or-less summary:

King obsessed with hunting. Ruined fields. People upset. Trapped deer herd, king could hunt without hurting land. Buddha/Banyan deer witnessed deer injured in stockade. Decided by lottery one deer offered to save others. Finally doe willing to die once fawn born. Buddha took her place. King moved, gave up hunting.

Finding the Story: https://www.learningtogive.org/resources/banyan-deer

Compare to History:

The Zen Caregiving Project began in 1986 through the San Francisco Zen Center. Martha deBarros sought a Zen Hospice where patients without social or financial support could be eased from their pain or transition peacefully. Run by volunteers, they used to use a Victorian guest house until October 2018. They persevered and received help and a home through Laguna Honda Hospital. Their good work continues to this day.

More on the History: https://zencaregiving.org/our-history/

Please share in the comments…or anything on your mind.While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings in process of being adapted due to COVID-19.Our 2020 Festival has been transformed into Story Crossroads Spectacular, a virtual experience. See here: http://www.storycrossroads.org/spectacular on May 13, 2020 starting at 9am MDT with events all day.

We thank our funders such as National Endowment for the Arts, Utah Division of Arts and Museums, Western States Arts Federation, Utah Humanities, Zoo, Arts & the Parks of Salt Lake County (ZAP), City of Murray, Salt Lake City Arts Council, and many other businesses and individuals. Join us in the support by donating today!

Z is for Golden Zen–A to Z Blog Challenge

AtoZ2019ZWe are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/).  The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Golden…And All Things That Glimmer.  Each post highlights golden items from a folktale from around the world. Each time you have to wonder, is something that is golden a blessing, a curse, or both?

What has inspired all this gold?–The Golden Spike with the 150th Transcontinental Railroad and the Spike 150 Grant for this year’s Story Crossroads Festival.

Golden Zen-

The name “Ryokan” and the practice of Zen originate from Japan. Yet, this story may also have influences with Kenya so “Kenya and/or Japan” are listed. A young man is taught how to be more responsible. I have interpreted “taking responsibility” to mean giving of his goods (gold) as well as his time. Thus, we have “Golden Zen.”

Kenya and/or Japan – https://www.advance-africa.com/when-truth-dawned.html

50-word-or-less summary:

Sister-in-law requested Ryokan, Zen teacher, to teach son. This nephew was lazy. Instead of rebuke, Ryokan asked nephew to tie sandal as he is not as strong as he used to be. Nephew remembered. Nephew realized he must care for his elders. Nephew vowed to give of goods/gold and time.

Please share in the comments…or anything on your mind.

While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings including the culminating Festival on May 15, 2019 with free performances May 13-16, 2019 (see schedule here: https://storycrossroads.com/2019-schedule/.  

We thank our funders such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, the Western States Arts Federation, Utah Humanities, the Utah Department of Heritage and Arts (Spike 150), the City of Murray, the South Jordan Arts Council, Utah Valley University and many other businesses and individuals. Join us in the support by attending or donating or both! (Click here to donate or get tickets.