A wonderful Sanscrit word I got from Rev. Mas Kodani when we were both much younger. He defined it as “many words that say nothing.” He interpreted prapancha into English as “bullshit.”

I now interpret prapancha as any words at all, in the sense that we cannot capture life in concepts or description, be they simple and crude or intricate and elegant. Even our most eloquent words serve only as pointers, as the finger pointing to the moon. My dog will only see my finger (unless I’m pointing to a gopher mound). A friend might see the tree in the garden and solve a koan I did not pose.

Who will see the sunlight reflected by the dust on Earth’s rocky satellite and experience what I do? Perhaps only me. Yet we have a conversation, tossing words and gestures to each other from our separate bodies. We make a community.


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