Thunder, Flush and Thomas Crapper: Z


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Thunder, Flush and Thomas Crapper
Extracts from Adam Hart-Davis's book.
(Buy the book from Micheal O'Mara Books, ISBN 1-85479-250-4, hardback 1-85479-245-8, or in the US, ISBN 1570760810.)
DHD Photo Gallery---The Photo Lav
Zen and the Art of Excretion
In his manual of zen training Selling water by the river, Jiyu Kennett says there is a special small ceremony before using the lavatory; this verse should be recited three times:
Adoration to all the Buddhas.
Adoration to all the limitless teaching.
Peace! Speak! Blaze! Up! Open!
To the glorious, peaceful one for whom there is no disaster whilst upon the water-closet, Hail!

Dogen Zenji's Shobogenzo devotes a whole chapter to Senjo. Those practising outdoors must use a privy, and for cleaning theselves arrange seven balls of sand into two rows. Monks practising indoors must enter the lavatory, or tosu from the left-hand side of the corridor, with a towel folded in two on the left shoulder, and purify the lavatory by snapping together three times the thumb and index finger of the right hand. When finished hold the water bucker in the right hand, cup water in the left, and wash the genitals and buttocks three times.

Zero-gravity Toilet
Early in the second part of Stanley Kubrick's wonderful 1968 film 2001, A Space Odyssey, the hero Heywood Floyd takes a shuttle trip to the Moon. He goes to the lavatory, sits down, and then his eyes narrow and his brow wrinkles as he looks across at the back of the door. There hangs a notice---several hundred words of detailed instructions---under the heading ZERO GRAVITY TOILET. A copy now hangs in the bathroom of Arthur C. Clarke, who wrote the screenplay.

(See them on the Web.)


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Text extracts from "Thunder, Flush and Thomas Crapper" copyright Adam Hart-Davis 1997.
Images available from the DHD Multimedia Gallery.
Site content copyright Damon Hart-Davis 1997--2017 unless otherwise stated.