<- Go to Back to Index Page ->
Index of all Pages
<- Go to Directory of Categories Page ->
Directory of Categories Page
Go to the Writings and Poems Pages ->
The index of Writings and Poems Pages
Go to The Master teaches Perfection->
A story of pottery making
(Adapted from legends of Japanese folklore)
Under the mountain lived a village of potter's. The rivers of old had deposited a beautiful natural clay that would work well in the potter's hand. The forests on the west side of the mountain grew an oak and maple hard wood that burned for hours . On the north slope a forest of pine and cedar provided a wood to achieve the extremes of heat necessary for the best glazes that the kilns could produce. Between the forests lay a meadow of straw that the potters used to make ashes for their most famous glazes. The river cut a valley of sedimentary rocks that allowed the potters to gather any minerals they needed for their glazes. Generation upon generation of potters learned the traditions of the craft and passed them along. This little village produced the finest ware in all the world.
So the Emperor would come to see the pots that came from these kilns each year. He would select the finest pots for his collection. This village produced a most beautiful black iron glaze. The potters used the ashes from their kilns' fire pits with an iron bearing clay to make this most prized glaze.
Now as luck would have it one year, a family of badgers built a den in the fire pits during the fallow months of winter. In the spring, the badgers were consumed by the flames of the first firing. The potters swept up the ashes which included the bones of the badgers. They used this ash in their glazes to make six cups. Much to their surprise and delight, when next they fired their kilns these few pots were bright iron red. They knew not the cause of the change in their glaze.
When the Emperor saw these pots, he immediately took all of them. The Emperor took the beautiful iron red pots to his palace and showed them to his court and visitors from far and near. A young man of exceptional words was visiting his court. Thou this stranger was simply dressed in a white robe and sandals, his words of peace and love so impressed the Emperor that he gave him the simple iron red cups. The Prophet blessed the Emperor with water from one of the cups. Immediately he was healed of his wounds of old battles. Unfortunately, an argument over the cups erupted and by accident, the cups were broken. The father of his bride to be thought the cups were magical and wished to have cups like these. His future inlaw was so disappointed that the Emperor had not given him the cups that he refused to permit his daughter to marry the Emperor until the Emperor promised to give him a set of red cups.
The Emperor sent word to the potters' village to send him an order of red cups. The potters were very dismayed. What could they do? They did not know the secret of the red glaze and they could not disappoint the Emperor. They did nothing and hoped the Emperor would forget his order of red cups. The Emperor visited the potters and was disappointed they did not have his red cups. They gave him some beautiful black and green and blue cups instead.
Meanwhile, the father of his bride to be was furious. He still did not have his red cups. He refused to let the Emperor marry his daughter until the emperor gave him a red cup. The Emperor went to the village of potters. He told them they had to make more of his most prized red glaze. Of course the potters could not produce the glaze because they did not know the secret of using bone ashes in the glaze. They did not know what to do. They tried everything they knew to make a red cup. Still the pots were not red because they lacked the ingredient of bone ash in the glaze to make the pots red.
The Emperor came back again. He was extremely angry this time. His bride to be could not become his wife until the potters gave him his red cups. The potters were in an awful fright. No matter what they did, they did not have a red glaze to make the cups with. The emperor could not be satisfied unless he had red cups. The potters tried one last time to make the red cups. They carefully mixed the glazes from the same materials as before and applied the glazes in the same manner as before. They made many experiments and loaded their kilns with all their experiments. They fired the kilns to the same temperature with the same combination of woods and the same reducing atmosphere in the kilns. The next day as the pots cooled, they could see that there would be no red cups. The Emperor was so angry he called the head potter of the village to him and told him that if he did not make the red glaze again he would kill everyone in the village. The potter was so ashamed that he threw himself into the cooling embers of the fire pit to save the lives of all the villagers.
The Emperor still was not satisfied. He told the potters he would be back in one month and they would all die or he would have his red cups and they would live.
Now when the potters made glazes next, they had to use the ashes that contained the remains of their old friend and father. They loaded the kilns as before and fired. Magically the pots were bright red!! They realized that not only had he sacrificed himself, but he had become the pots that he could not make. They found the secret of the red glaze was the ash of bones. They gave the Emperor a set of bright red grails made from the ashes of the potter. The Emperor was pleased and married his bride in the spring. The holy Prophet blessed the new couple with water from the grail and in the following year, the couple was blessed with children. The father of the bride was so pleased that he gave the prophet one of the grails.
#4 1250 57th Ave
Oakland, Ca 94521
You are the th traveler to hear my tale