The Way of Dung

Once a pile of steaming dung was gathered up from the pasture, taken to town, and passed from one person to another. Every hand that touched it was soiled, while the townspeople tried to figure out what to do with it. As a potent combination of fate, superstition, and human ingenuity would have it, one person took the dung, formed it into a kind of shrine, and began worshiping it every day. After some time, this person experienced a profound sentiment about the dung. Around town, word quickly spread of the auspicious transcendental dung vision, until a whole group of people came to worship at the holy person’s dung shrine, in order to partake in the same ecstatic reverie.

The amazing power of focused thought should never be underestimated, regardless of its object! Over time, rules of dung worship at the shrine (and similar shrines like it) were established and codified, priestly masters were created who could teach aspirants about proper dung etiquette, and a lineage of dung transmission was initiated. True believers abounded, and various illuminating texts were authored, elaborating essential elements of the dung religion.

Meanwhile, back in town, another person who had originally received the dung allotment went in a somewhat different direction about the whole matter, figuring that the dung was actually best appreciated by drying and burning it, accompanied by certain spontaneous chants and rituals. After some time experimenting with this practice, the person achieved an insight about the benefit of dung burning that aroused a fervent mystical devotion, and subsequently went about the land evangelizing this new approach to dung.

Eventually, another whole group of people formed around that person’s practice, mimicking the methods of drying, burning, chanting, and so forth. It was clear to this alternate group that dung did not require a passive worship, but instead was meant to be dried, burned, and sung to, accompanied by various gestures and incantations. As with the first group, this dung fellowship also established rules and so forth, priests and doctrines, and a parallel lineage was created.

Several centuries passed, and then one day a reformer came along, who had spent years contemplating dung and its various religious implications, eventually coming to the startling realization that dung itself was a compounded phenomenon, with no inherent self-nature. He then went about preaching the emptiness of dung, as well as its dependent origination and impermanence. He gathered a large and devout community of adherents, but as each community member arrived at the realization that dung, being empty, was nothing of any lasting consequence, they eventually resumed an ordinary life, and the sect passed into quiescent extinction without remainder.

Nevertheless, both of the original lineages continued to find new devotees, and in fact are still active to this day, having been transmitted down through the ages, crossing over into neighboring cultures, and all around the world – spreading their particular Way of Dung, and generating numerous sub-lineages. Occasionally, followers of the various groups will clash with each other over the right understanding and appreciation of dung. Though onlookers might marvel that anyone would make such a big deal over what essentially is nothing but excrement, the adherents of the conflicting dung lineages will often persist in their disputes nevertheless, even to the point of ferocious dung wars being waged.

Historically, there have been infrequent though notable attempts to bring the two groups together, stressing the common factor of dung devotion that they both share, but religious zealots can be obstinate, and so treatises are still composed extolling one method over the other, debates rage on dung forums and churches of dung, dung one-upmanship prevails, and all the while, the peculiar fragrance of dung permeates the dung halls, spreading its unmistakable aroma, while fresh dung is piled upon even more dung yet.


About Bob OHearn

My name is Bob O'Hearn, and I live with my Beloved Mate, Mazie, in the foothills of the Northern California Sierra Nevada Mountains. I have a number of blog sites you may enjoy: Photo Gallery: Essays on the Conscious Process: Compiled Poetry and Prosetry: Verses and ramblings on life as it is: Verses and Variations on the Investigation of Mind Nature: Verses on the Play of Consciousness: Poetic Fiction, Fable, Fantabulation: Poems of the Mountain Hermit: Love Poems from The Book of Yes: Autobiographical Fragments, Memories, Stories, and Tall Tales: Ancient and modern spiritual texts, creatively refreshed: Writings from selected Western Mystics, Classic and Modern: Wisdom of a Spirit Guide: Thank You!
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