Story of Pu-Tai

He found a smooth flat rock by the river and sat down.
Many days passed, then weeks, months, years.
Little by little, everything began to reveal itself,
impressing him with the evidence that all is well.
At last he stood up, stretched, had a good long laugh,
and then set off on his journey back to the town.
This took many lifetimes, because he was in no hurry.
The journey itself turned out to be so interesting
that he often forgot where he was going.
When he finally arrived, it seemed little had changed.
He remembered why he had left in the first place.
Soon a group of children approached him, so he swung
his cloth sack down from over his shoulders and opened it.
Reaching his big hand in, he fished out a handful of sweets,
which he laughingly offered to the gathered children.
Now he realized for himself what his mission was to be:
going from town to town, spreading happiness and joy!
What better use for this gift of life, then to freely share
the heart awakening with which he had been graced.
The world had smiled at him, and now he was smiling back.
He had few words, because he felt laughter was enough.
In every town, after pleasing the children, a crowd of people
might gather around him, curious about his teaching.
He offered no sermon, but instead put his bag down,
reared his head back, and laughed out loud to the sky.
His laughter was so mirthfully contagious that eventually
all of the gathered townspeople began laughing too.
This signaled that his work was done there, so he shouldered
his patched cloth bag and wandered off on his merry way.
At his death, he provided the people with one last laugh:
he asked to be cremated, but to everyone’s surprise,
he had stuffed his robes with fireworks.
When the flames set them off, small rockets shot out
everywhere, while the crowd burst out laughing
at the marvelous humor of his parting gift.

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