The symbols of Discordian Buddhism: the Apple, the Wheel of Dhama, the Hand of Eris, the Pentagon Presents the Three Stooges - Curly, Larry, and Moe

The Knucklehead Sutra

This I have heard.

One day the Buddha was teaching on Vulture Peak. Sariputra was there, as was Kapila, and Ananda, and Rahula, and many other of the Buddha's students. As the crowd gathered this day, three strangers approached.

The first stranger, who believed that there was nothing that the Buddha could teach him, was named Moe.

The second stranger, who wanted very much to hear what the Buddha had to say, was named Larry.

The third stranger did not know who the Buddha was. His name was Curly, and his head was as bald as any renunciate monk's.

As they arrived, a young monk happened to trip on a stone. As he fell, he pushed Larry against Moe, who in turn, was pushed against Curly.

"Wassamatta with you?" announced Moe, shoving Larry aside. "Why don't you watch where you're going?"

"Hey, you watch where you're going," Curly said to Moe. Turning back to him, Moe lifted his right index finger and said to Curly, "You watch this." Curly leaned toward the finger, squinting as he peered at it, and Moe slapped Curly with his left hand.

Curly, still rattled from the tussle, barked like a dog at Moe, at which Moe bonked Curly on the head with a fist. Larry, laughing at this, yelped as Moe stamped his toe, which silenced his guffaw. Taking off his bowler hat, Curly said, "Why'd you have to do that? I was just thinking about a three-course meal with mashed potatoes, and chicken and dumplings, and a big custard pie!"

At this, Moe slapped Curly's face with a thwack.

"What was that for?" Curly cried in falsetto.

"That's for not thinking enough for the both of us!" answered Moe, and the display would have continued, but Ananda now bade them take their seats; for the Buddha was about to speak. Ananda and Kapila placed incense in the bowl, and the fragrant smoke swirled around.

"Mmm, what a bouquet!" affirmed Moe self-assuredly, to which Curly replied "Yeah, smells just like a chrysanthemum-mum-mum-mum!"

"Knock it off, you two!" chimed Larry. "I want to hear what this fella has to say."

"Aw, what does he know?" responded Moe, smacking the back of Larry's noggin. "Look at his empty bowl. He doesn't have two pennies to rub together!"

"Hey, neither do we!" exclaimed Curly, thinking he'd figured something out.

"Whose fault is that?" quipped Moe, poking Curly in the eyes. Curly yelped in surprise. This seemed to get the Buddha's attention.

"One who, while seeking happiness, oppresses with violence other living beings who also desire happinesss, will not find happiness hereafter," the Buddha said.

"Oh yeah? I'll show you the hereafter," said Moe, starting to get up, but Larry held him back, saying "Hold on, Moe!"

"Yeah, waitaminnit!" said Curly, climbing to his feet. "I'll get to the bottom of this! And maybe get us somethin' to eat too!" He approached the seated Buddha, his bowler hat still perched on his bald head.

Sariputra said, "You must remove your hat." Curly did, saying "Soyytenly!"

Ananda said, "You must place your palms together in Gassho," but Curly's hat was in his hand, so he placed the hat back on his head and placed his hands in Gassho.

Kapila said, "You must bow to the World-Honored One." Curly did, with a grumble.

Sariputra said, "You must remove your hat." Curly did, straightening from his bow.

Ananda said, "You must place your palms together in Gassho," but Curly's hat was in his hand, so he placed the hat back on his head with a harrumph, and placed his hands in Gassho.

Kapila said, "You must bow to the World-Honored One." Curly did.

Sariputra said, "You must remove your hat." Curly did, letting out a strained groan.

Ananda said, "You must place your palms together in Gassho," but Curly's hat was in his hand, so this time he placed his hat on Ananda's head instead. Satisfied with his trickery, Curly laughed: "Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk."

Kapila said, "You must bow to the World-Honored One." Curly did, this time with a flourish.

Sariputra said, "I have asked you to remove that hat!" and Ananda, panicking, places the hat back on Curly's head.

"This man has come to learn with no attachments and no expectations," the Buddha said. "What have you come to ask me?"

"Well, ya see, your Boodiness, it's like this," Curly began. "We were hopin' we would find something to eat up here, but it looks like you fellas must be starvin' worse than we are!"

"Not so, we have more than we need," the Buddha replied. "When wishes are few, the heart is happy. When craving ends, there is peace."

Moe piped up from the back, "Get a load of this guy - he's tellin' us that if we want to stop being so hungry, we just have to stop thinking about food!" Moe stood up, striding quickly to join Curly at the Buddha's feet, with Larry close behind. "That oughta be easy for you!" he said, pointing at Curly's head.

"Maybe he's right, Moe," said Curly, scratching his head. "I haven't thought about that custard pie even once, until now."

"Yeah, me neither!" quipped Larry.

Without warning, and without explanation, a fresh custard pie fell from the sky, landing squarely on Moe's head. Moe stood in shock for what seemed like an eternity before scooping the excess custard from around his eyes, licking it from his lips. "Why-I-Oughta-" he began, swinging his fist in a circle, winding up to punch Curly in the jaw, but just as suddenly, and just as inexplicably, everyone at the gathering now had a custard pie in their hands - Stooges, monks, and even the Buddha.

Instead of a punch, Curly was delivered a pie straight to the face. Taking a moment to recover, he gleefully began to eat the sweet treat splattered across his face. Larry delivered a second pie to Moe's face, laughing out loud. As he turned to Sariputra, giddily pointing at Moe's pie-covered mug, Sariputra slammed his pie into Larry's face.

Before long, all the monks had joined in, flinging their pies at each other, turning the lesson on Vulture Peak into a chaotic mess, as the Buddha sat watching in silence. As if realizing suddenly where they were, and in whose presence, the monks all returned to a seated posture, albeit now covered with custard, their gazes lowered.

"Do not be ashamed, monks. This is merely an example of the principle of Chaos. This is the true nature of things; mark it well. I am but a finger pointing toward Chaos. Do not look at me. Look at Chaos. These three gentlemen," he said, indicated the Stooges, "Are very much like all of you monks were, or are, or hope to be. Study them. They, too, teach the nature of Chaos."

At this, the monks all looked quite contemplative. The Buddha continued:

"You have heard me speak of Emptiness. Emptiness is Chaos. Beyond Order and Disorder, beyond Hunger and Satiation, beyond Description and Enigma, there is only Chaos. Chaos hums at the heart of every fragment of reality, and in the center of the being of every mortal person. Formless, choiceless, agendaless, reactionless, functionless, and nameless is this Chaos. In Chaos, all that exists is emptier than empty; all is utterly and fundamentally meaningless, because everything is non-different from Chaos. True realization is realization of this Meaninglessness. True listening is the resonance of Chaos, humming at the center of all things. True knowing is the forgetting of all structured thought. That which we call consciousness is merely the oil that floats on the turbulent waters of Chaos."

At this the monks sat in wonder.

The Stooges decided it was time to take their leave, so they approached the Buddha to say goodbye. Curly fumbled with his hat, and eventually crushed it between his hands while bowing in Gassho.

"Say, take care, Boodie," Moe mumbled half-heartedly. "Thanks for the lesson."

"Say, fellas, we really oughta leave something in the teacher's bowl here," mentioned Larry, searching his pockets for change.

"No need, gentlemen," the Buddha said. "It is, as they say, a Tin Roof."

"A Tin Roof?" said Moe. "What's that supposed to mean?"

The Buddha beckoned Moe closer, and Moe bent over, his ear turned toward the teacher, listening. The Buddha remained silent, and as Moe listened, the Buddha smashed his face with a pie.

"It's on the house, Knucklehead," the Buddha said at last, laughing heartily.

Moe swiped the pie from his face, humiliated, as the others laughed and laughed.