Literature and art

More is not Enough: ASL performance poetry

The adapted Zen parable More is Not Enough is translated and produced by Jolanta Lapiak (myself) into a video-based visual poem and poetry performance during her art college year.

After producing this video (below), later an idea came to mind. I asked my friend to make music to be added to this video. She had to fit musical sounds in my signed language, not the way around. A good thing.

In short, the Zen story is about a stonecutter who is envious of another, who in turn is envious of another, and so on, and lastly who is envious of the stonecutter in a loop.


The stone cutter noticed a wealthy merchant, envious of his wealth and power. He wished for his wealth and power.

Snap! He became the merchant, enjoying his luxuries and power.

Not long, he began to notice a high official, who is carried in a sedan chair, accompanied by his soldiers. Everyone had to bow low before him. He envied for his status, wishing for his power.

Snap! He was being transformed into the high official, being carried in his sedan chair. He enjoyed his power and his people bowing low before him.

Sweat drops dripped down his cheeks, wet. He looked up at the powerful sun. He wished for its power.

Snap! He became the sun, shining fiercely down on everyone, cursing the farmers and laborers, and enjoying his power.

But, a huge cloud blocked the sun, raining and lightning. He wished for its power.

Snap! He became the storm, flooding and destroying the fields and villages, enjoying his power.

Yet, he couldn't blow that huge rock with his great force. He envied it and wished for its power.

Snap! He became the rock, more powerful and stronger than anything else on earth.

Wait, he felt the sound of a hammer pounding on its hard surface. He thought, "what could be stronger and more powerful than me?"

He looked up and saw above him the figure of the stone cutter.

Zen parable adapted and translated in ASL by Jolanta Lapiak.


"It illustrates that as everything is interconnected, it is futile to envy of a greener pasture. A janitor as as important as a lawyer; each has its own essential power in its own position."

"The artist portrayed a powerful and demonstrative use of signs to convey the message." -- Teresa Fleming, 2005.

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