Mistress Toshiba and her adherents were walking back from town when a long-time student of Zen, who had studied with another teacher for fifteen years, passed by.
“Good day Mistress,” the student bowed.
Mistress Toshiba laughed loudly. The student stopped and looked confused.
“Why do you laugh Abbott Toshiba? Was it something I said?” The Mistress laughed again. “Are you laughing at me?” That question made Mistress Toshiba laugh even harder. She fell to her hands and knees with laughter. She was laughing so hard that she began to roll around on the ground.
“I don’t see what’s so funny!” the student exclaimed.
The Abbott was finally able to constrain herself and propped herself up with her hand.
“If you could see yourself, you would be laughing too,” Mistress Toshiba grinned.
The students looked at themselves up and down and didn’t see anything out of place or a cause for ridicule.
“What are you talking about? There’s nothing funny about me.”
“Like I said,” the Abbott replied, brushing the dust off her robe as she stood. “If you could see your SELF, you’d be laughing too.”
At that moment, the passing student realized that she did not know what her SELF was, let alone if there was such a thing. She immediately fell too her knees.
“Dear Master Toshiba, I beg that you take me as your student and allow me to attain wisdom in your community.”
“You are welcome to join us, whoever you are,” the Abbott replied, “but you do not need my permission. Who do you think ‘I’ am anyway?”
More who’s laughing at: Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba: The Illustrious and Delusional Abbess of Satire.