Friday, March 30, 2012

KOAN: Solomon Cuts a Baby

Wisdom Quarterly (1 Kings 3:1-3:16)

Two women (Hebrew, prostitutes), were living together and sleeping with their newborns. One rolled over hers and accidentally killed her dear baby.

Instead of owning up to the tragedy, she did the unthinkable. She placed her dead child in the arms of the other and took her living child as her own. In the morning, when the mother awoke to feed her baby, she realized it was dead.

But examining it more closely, she realized this was not her son; she called out the other woman and demanded her baby. But the impostor mother denied that she had exchanged them, and she would not relinquish the living baby.

They went before wise young Master Solomon -- who may or may not have been as wise in reality as he became in legend.
  • The story is a familiar legend inherited by the intrepid West through cultural osmosis from its contact with the wisdom of the East. Or perhaps it was the other way around, as certainly wisdom is always going both ways. But the East is ancient, the West young and impulsive. Aesop's Fables are taken from the Buddha's Jataka Tales (Rebirth Stories). Other biblical stories also have precedents in the Dharma. And rather than thinking that the historical Buddha is the originator of all good narratives, it is important to note that he by skillful means (upaya) made use of many popular tales and legends in the service of spreading the liberating Dharma. Pre-biblical and Old Testament Jewish sages as well as Jesus returning from India with a sense of mission would certainly have employed the same skillful means borrowing from ancient Sumerian (like Gilgamesh and the flood), Egyptian, Persian (Mithraic and Zoroastrian), and Vedic Brahminical Indian lore.

King Solomon's Cat dilemma
2 Chronicles 1.1-13 (
The women argued back and forth in front of [Zen Master] Solomon, until finally he said, "Both of you say this live baby is yours. Someone bring me a sword."

A sword was brought, and Solomon ordered, "Cut the baby in half! That way each of you can have part of him.

"Please don't kill my son!" the baby's mother screamed. "Your Majesty, I love him very much, but give him to her. Just don't kill him."

The other woman shouted, "Go ahead and cut him in half. Then neither of us will have the baby."

Solomon said, "Don't kill the baby." Then he pointed to the first woman, "She is his real mother. Give the baby to her."

Everyone in Israel was amazed when they heard how [wise] Solomon had made his decision. They realized that God had given him wisdom to judge fairly.

Dream Interpretation: Dear God...
Solomon signed a treaty with the king of Egypt and married his daughter [one of his many wives who honored other celestial and terrestrial visitors besides the one true Sun God, which apparently they were all fond of saying they represented]. She lived in the older part of Jerusalem until the palace, the Lord's temple, and the wall around Jerusalem were completed.

At that time, there was no temple for worshiping the Lord, and everyone offered [bloody animal] sacrifices at the local shrines [just like the space aliens, titans and "gods," had commanded the brahmin priests of the Indus River Valley Civilization to do thousands of years before].

Young Solomon loved the Lord [a space entity who sent extraterrestrial "messengers," angels, from time to time and communicated with him telepathically and/or in dreams] and followed his father David's instructions. But Solomon also offered sacrifices and burned incense at the shrines. The most important shrine was in Gibeon, and Solomon had offered more than a 1,000 sacrifices on that altar.

One night while Solomon was in Gibeon, the Lord God [possibly plural] appeared to him in a dream and said, "Solomon, ask for anything you want, and I will give it to you."

Young Solomon answered: My father David, your servant, was honest and did what you commanded. You were always loyal to him, and you gave him a son who is now king. Lord God, I'm your servant, and you've made me king in my father's place.

But I'm very young and know so little about being a leader. And now I must rule your chosen people [and not worry about the ones you didn't choose whom we can just let go to h*ll in a handbasket like your servant Moses down a river, see if I care], even though there are too many of them to count.

Please make me wise and teach me the difference between right and wrong. Then I will know how to rule your people. If you don't, there is no way I could rule this great nation of yours.

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