Dustless | Volume 10 | Mask [ii]

…where things give up the limits of themselves, and become revealed for what they are, the drifting envelopes of dust…

Not only people wear masks: nature, too, embroiders to dissimulate, and paints in beauty what may in naked moments kill.

A pretty golden-eye thrush upon an old plum tree branch, with a song so sweet: it cocks its head, looks for passing bugs, unearthed worms, is an assassin.

And the assassin snake slips out of its skin, and is a new assassin.

Or a white butterfly stares with black and red eyes rounded upon its wings, seeking to escape through a show of force the unwelcome attentions of a hunting mantis.


Through an immense arboreal forest, travellers make their way, and the world prepares for a universal festival.

Villages put on their finest shows. The temples are decked with ornaments, banners proclaim the beauty of the sutras, pay homage to a far-off emperor.

The roads become tracks, and the tracks become paths. Paths narrow, and the trees press in. There are only small settlements: there is much wilderness. The prospect of safety dwindles. The chance of misdirection grows.

As in the world, so in the head: one traveller takes off his flesh, enters the vegetable labyrinth of the mind, and wanders in smoke and dreams ethereal palaces, the banks of fertile rivers, the streets of unending cities…

Although form is dust, the way to the Dustless state must be by form. To hold a glance, there must be a face: to look out, one must have eyes.

If the face in the mirror is a mask, what lies behind the skin? If the person inside the mirror is invisible, what is there left to see?

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