In what is likely the highest stakes poetry slam in history, fifth ancestor Hongren announced a lightning round smackdown, the winner of which would inherit his temple and carry the name of sixth ancestor. He alone would judge the submissions.
Sweatting over his quill for the better part of two weeks, Shenxiu gives it his best shot:
The body is the bodhi tree;
The mind is like a bright mirror’s stand.
Be always diligent in rubbing it—
Do not let it attract any dust.
Verdict from the judge? "The wisdom expressed in this poem is like that of a person who stands inside of the open door of awakening, but doesn't have the courage to step inside."
Ouch. Although Shenxiu will forever be known as the guy who lost the Super Bowl, the silver medal is no small feat. Allison gives this master his due.