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Zen Koan #37: Parable of Publishing the Sutras – Buddhist Teaching on Silence and Simplicity

Zen Koan #37: Parable of Publishing the Sutras - Buddhist Teaching on Silence and Simplicity Zen Buddhism is not a religion according to the dictionary meaning of the word religion for the reason that it has no center in god, as is the case in all other religions. Rigorously verbalizing, Zen Buddhism is a system of philosophy co-ordinated with a code of morality, physical and pyretic. The goal in view is the extinction of suffering and death. To be attached to the one can either take the form of pure materialism or monotheism.

Like those who have narrow views and only optically discern what is in front of their ocular perceivers, it is a shallow and circumscribed perspective. However, for the reason that you have a concept of emptiness, your mind is still subtly present. This is for the reason that in the reality of totality, there is no gain and no loss. Many psychological traits were associated with having longer telomeres, including greater mindfulness skills, life satisfaction, and subjective happiness.

How do you return to the root? By letting go of all words, thoughts, eliminating all grasping, and rejection. If you spend your time hoping that a pleasant experience will return, or trying to avoid pain, you will become more aware of the passing of time. A tree should be watered very gradually as it is growing.

Zen Koan: “Publishing the Sutras” Parable

Tetsugen, a devotee of Zen in Japan, decided to publish the sutras, which at that time were available only in Chinese. The books were to be printed with wood blocks in an edition of seven thousand copies, a tremendous undertaking.

Tetsugen began by traveling and collecting donations for this purpose. A few sympathizers would give him a hundred pieces of gold, but most of the time he received only small coins. He thanked each donor with equal gratitude. After ten years Tetsugen had enough money to begin his task.

It happened that at that time the Uji Rive overflowed. Famine followed. Tetsugen took the funds he had collected for the books and spent them to save others from starvation. Then he began again his work of collecting.

Several years afterwards an epidemic spread over the country. Tetsugen again gave away what he had collected, to help his people. For a third time he started his work, and after twenty years his wish was fulfilled. The printing blocks which produced the first edition of sutras can be seen today in the Obaku monastery in Kyoto.

The Japanese tell their children that Tetsugen made three sets of sutras, and that the first two invisible sets surpass even the last.

Buddhist Insight on Silence and Simplicity

Buddhists maintain the freedom of the individual to choose. You could look into the situation in terms of cause and effect and gain some understanding of it through simplicity. In that, way much that is to be surpassed will be transcended and good dharma that are true and superb will be established. The intention is gentle, silence, but the practice is very harsh. The British meditation teacher Christina Feldman writes in The Buddhist Path to Simplicity,

In the search for simplicity we can learn to explore the space between thoughts. Listening closely to our mind, the thoughts begin to slow down. We discover that just as the out-breath is followed by a pause before the in-breath, there is also space between the thoughts. We learn to seek the gaps – the space between sounds, between sensations, between thoughts, and to explore the nature of these gaps. The gaps are the home of the mind, the limitless silence of the mind. Thoughts arise in that silence and fall back into silence. Exploring the nature of silence we begin to understand that it is not dependent on the absence of thought but is the prevailing sound that permeates all thought. Silence is profoundly simple – resisting nothing, wanting nothing, lacking in nothing yet present and complete in all moments.

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Wisdom for Busy People

  1. 'Wisdom for the Way' by Charles R. Swindoll (ISBN 1404113258) When improving a skill, your performance will deteriorate before it gets better. That’s because doing it the old way is easy, while you’ll make mistakes trying to do it better. Be persistent and endure while you learn from your experiences.
  2. After formal education, you begin a career by learning the business. If you’re really earnest about being successful, work on who you are. Never stop improving your people skills and personal strengths.
  3. For the day when you find yourself in charge of other people, here’s one of the secrets: If at all possible, don’t accept losers on your team. Try to surround yourself with talented people. Arrange for the weak links to get involved in other opportunities.
  4. You have limited time for personal development, and working on many things at once can be confusing. The key is to make your mind up which personal strength or people skill you need to work on most and then focus on it consistently until it becomes a habit.
  5. Practice self-encouragement. When bad things happen, take a day or so to let your disappointment fade into the background. Then deliberately weigh up the positives in your situation—strengths, advantages, solutions, and opportunities.
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Zen Koan #36: Parable of Flower Shower – Buddhist Teaching on Cultivating Respect

Zen Koan #36: Parable of Flower Shower - Buddhist Teaching on Cultivating Respect People relish verbalizing, especially if they feel solitary. Those who incline to verbalize non-stop generally have arduousness with practice, and withal make it arduous for others to practice. In our Zen recede, verbalizing is verboten, but there are still some people who cannot resist covertly saying a few words. Others accolade the rule and abstain from verbalizing, but that does not designate that they are not verbalizing with themselves.

All day long, while they are sitting, they come up with a theme, and then carry on a conversation with themselves. They ruminate over all sorts of issues. There is still a duality. However, someone who is hit by an adept monitor will feel very good and consider the board a great help. If this is so, it should be very facile to progress in the practice. You should keep your attention entirely on practice, without trying to attain any results. Even if there seems to be very little we can do, we can still help people by our presence of mind and by what we project out. We can affect the environment for the better.

Even though the method is not real, it is even worse to be suspended in a nebulous frame of mind. In the owner’s mind, this was a grave defect. You are truly tired and uncomfortable.

Zen Koan: “Flower Shower” Parable

Subhuti was Buddha’s disciple. He was able to understand the potency of emptiness, the viewpoint that nothing exists except in its relationship of subjectivity and objectivity.

One day Subhuti, in a mood of sublime emptiness, was sitting under a tree. Flowers began to fall about him.

“We are praising you for your discourse on emptiness,” the gods whispered to him.

“But I have not spoken of emptiness,” said Subhuti.

“You have not spoken of emptiness, we ahve not heard emptiness,” responded the gods. “This is the true emptiness.” And blossoms showered upon Subhuti as rain.

Buddhist Insight on Cultivating Respect

One who seeks the true perfection of happiness must also attend to the cultivation of the mind and cultivate respect, according to Zen Buddhism. Repeatedly they would have to go through a course of desolation endured on earth to get happiness in heaven, and then the same again, always and always, lacking any end. Insanity in this case is giving up logical arguments, giving up concept. The American vipassana teacher Jack Kornfield writes in The Wise Heart, Buddhist Psychology for the West,

Whether practiced in a forest monastery or in the West, Buddhist psychology begins by deliberately cultivating respect, starting with ourselves. When we learn to rest in our own goodness, we can see the goodness more clearly in others. As our sense of respect and care is developed, it serves us well under most ordinary circumstances. It becomes invaluable in extremity…

When we bring respect and honor to those around us, we open a channel to their own goodness. I have seen this truth in working with prisoners and gang members, When they experience someone who respects and values them, it gives them the ability to admire themselves, to accept and acknowledge the good inside. When we see what is holy in another, whether we meet them in our family or our community, at a business meeting or in a therapy session, we transform their hearts.

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Zen Koan #35: Parable of Every-Minute Zen – Buddhist Teaching on Compassion

Zen Koan #35: Parable of Every-Minute Zen - Buddhist Teaching on Compassion Meditation gives us the opportunity to have an open, compassionate attentiveness to whatever is going on. The meditative space is like the big sky— spacious, vast enough to accommodate anything that arises. Nothing much has really transpired in that period of time. In the actual human world, we can’t avoid the choice between good and bad, for the reason that there is no absolute level apart from the relative and compassionate levels.

Relative, compassionate, and absolute are ways of talking about the moral choices we make with these human bodies and minds, in an actual, lived, physical world. Having an equal mind means that there is no conception of relativity between things. To illustrate this, suppose you are walking along a road and it starts bearing to the right. What is the best approach?

Pay close attention to the method. Love inductively authorized as a payment is not love at all. They tell themselves that they could be doing so many other things at home, or furthering their career. Thoroughly enlightened people spontaneously help sentient beings in accordance with causes and conditions. The secret of all the teachings of Zen Buddhism is how to live in each moment, how to obtain absolute freedom moment after moment.

Zen Koan: “Every-Minute Zen” Parable

Zen students are with their masters at least ten years before they presume to teach others, after all learning all one can isn’t as easy as learning how to ask a girl out or how to ride ones bicycle. These are lessons that take the span of a decade to master. Nan-in was visited by Tenno, who, having passed his apprenticeship, had become a teacher. The day happened to be rainy, so Tenno wore wooden clogs and carried an umbrella. After greeting him Nan-in remarked: “I suppose you left your wodden clogs in the vestibule. I want to know if your umbrella is on the right or left side of the clogs.”

Tenno, confused, had no instant answer. He realized that he was unable to carry his Zen every minute. He became Nan-in’s pupil, and he studied six more years to accomplish his every-minute Zen.

Buddhist Insight on Compassion

In Zen Buddhism, everybody is trying to work out his or her artistic self-expression and compassion. In addition, after they had lived together for some time in married cheerfulness, the Queen became aware that the day was drawing near when she should bring forth a child. However, compassion also exterminates delusions. The intermediate Zen meditative state can last from a moment to seven days, depending on whether or not an appropriate compassion is found. It means learning skillful means not to be so caught up in things, not to be so attached. The British meditation teacher Christina Feldman writes in The Buddhist Path to Simplicity,

Compassion is not a quality to romanticize, idealize, or project into a future moment. Nurturing compassion does not depend upon personal perfection. We meet suffering, pain, and confusion every day of our lives. The homeless person on the street, the frail parent, the hurt child, the stressed executive, the alienated teenager. It is not easy to open our hearts to the bottomless depths of pain in the world. We hold in our hearts our own mortality and the mortality of others. All life is fragile; we live in a fragile world. health turns to illness, well-being to pain, safety to uncertainty, life to death; none of us can control the countless supports upon which our well-being rests. The moments of sorrow and confusion we meet are moments that invite us to cultivate a listening heart, to let go of separation, and to be present with every cell of our being. The difficult moments and encounters in our lives are the gateways of compassion. Our enemies are angels of compassion in disguise, inviting us to be present, to attend, and to receive. Here we discover for ourselves the healing, balancing power of compassion.

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Zen Koan #34: Parable of A Smile in His Lifetime – Buddhist Teaching on Cultivating Equanimity

Zen Koan #34: Parable of A Smile in His Lifetime - Buddhist Teaching on Cultivating Equanimity There is a Chinese novel called Monkey. It is a theory curiously at odds with the edifications of transformation held within great spiritual Zen traditions, and with the cognizance of countless people who explore those edifications in depth. At the heart of a vision of arousing is a simple truth—that just for the reason that something has a long history, it is not a life sentence. Our capability to be aroused in our lives designates that transformation is always possible. Do you understand?

Don’t worry if you don’t. However, this is still not Zen. This question is hard to answer. Are you killing any living beings? You must have sagacity. We are not supposed to ravage the world. You have to cerebrate care entirely about what results it might bring. When we go to the bathroom and turn on the sultry or cold dehydrogenates monoxide, even then we engender different effects.

However, the sooner you want to get results, the longer it will take to get anywhere. When your mind wanders to extraneous concerns, put them down as soon as they appear. Under these circumstances, it is almost impossible to attain a peaceful state of mind. This is not the attitude of the Buddha or the patriarchs. However, if you sneak up on it gradually, you can pretend it.

Zen Koan: “A Smile in His Lifetime” Parable

Mokugen was never known to smile until his last day on earth. When his time came to pass away he said to his faithful ones: “You have studied under me for more than ten years. Show me your real interpretation of Zen. Whoever expresses this most clearly shall be my successor and receive my robe and bowl.”

Everyone watched Mokugen’s severe face, but no one answered.

Encho, a disciple who had been with his teacher for a long time, moved near the bedside. He pushed forward the medicine cup a few inches. That was his answer to the command.

The teacher’s face became even more severe. “Is that all you understand?” he asked.

Encho reached out and moved the cup back again.

A beautiful smile broke over the features of Mokugen. “You rascal,” he told Encho. “You worked with me ten years and have not yet seen my whole body. Take the robe and bowl. They belong to you.”

Buddhist Insight on Cultivating Equanimity

Zen teachers of present and past have adeptly help the students notice how they view this world, and the life they are living. Thus, if one meditates with many skillful means, patience will be established without hindrance. Now, by means of practicing what is to be practiced, guarding is taught. Cultivating equanimity, the most delightful thing, it’s fantastic. The Japanese Zen priest and author Kosho Uchiyama writes in Opening the Hand of Thought,

Ordinarily, we spend all our time comparing and discriminating between this and that, always looking around fro something good to happen to us. And because of that, we become anxious and restless about everything. As long as we are able to imagine something better than what we have or who we are, it follows naturally that there could also be something worse. We are constantly pursued by misgivings that something bad will happen. In other words, as long as we live by distinguishing between the better way and the worse way, we can never find absolute peace such that whatever happens is all right. This anxiety or lack of peace of mind is like that felt by the Japanese high-school student aiming to succeed in the entrance exams.

When we let go of our thoughts that distinguish better from worse and instead see everything in terms of the Universal Self, we are able to settle upon a different attitude toward life – the attitude of magnanimous mind that whatever happens, we are living out Self which is only Self. Here a truly peaceful life unfolds.

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Zen Koan #33: Parable of Mokusen’s Hand – Buddhist Teaching on Investigating Anger

Zen Koan #33: Parable of Mokusen's Hand - Buddhist Teaching on Investigating Anger Zen is something you do that transforms the mind. Every day, sit down, be quiet, and feel your life. Try to keep company with a koan. Check whether your heart is open when you’re practicing. That’s important. Unbelievably, it is our experience that under a proper guide, this inner peace and purity of mind with light can be secured by all irrespective of their religion or creed, provided they have sincerity of purpose and are prepared to submit to the guide for the period of trial.

Tibetan imperial court and quite popular, especially among women in the royal family. Do not believe in what you have auricular discerned; do not believe in Zen traditions for the reason that they have been bequeathed for many generations; do not believe in anything for the reason that it is rumored and verbalized by many; do not believe merely for the reason that an indicted verbalization of some old sage is engendered; do not believe in conjectures; do not believe in that as truth to which you have become affixed from habit; do not believe merely the ascendancy of your edifiers and elders.

When we bring our mind consciousness into this work, then suddenly we may become aware of the mental formations that are arising. Examine the pure space, which is the meaning of this.

Zen Koan: “Mokusen’s Hand” Parable

Mokusen Hiki was living in a temple in the province of Tamba. One of his adherents complained of the stinginess of his wife.

Mokusen visited the adherent’s wife and showed her his clenched fist before her face.

“What do you mean by that?” asked the surprised woman.

“Suppose my fist were always like that. What would you call it?” he asked.

“Deformed,” replied the woman.

Then he opened his hand flat in her face and asked: “Suppose it were always like that. What then?”

“Another kind of deformity,” said the wife.

“If you understand that much,” finished Mokusen, “you are a good wife.” Then he left.

After his visit, this wife helped her husband to distribute as well as to save.

Buddhist Insight on Investigating Anger

When you investigate anger, he who returns anger with anger is the wicked. Whether emotions are repressed or articulated, indulged in or sublimated, depends on a combination of factors: innate disposition, family background, and the ethos and mores of the larger society. No matter when or where, enlightenment means entering this truth. Interest is something that also can be cultivated, can be nourished, and can develop. The American meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg writes in A Heart as Wide as the World: Stories on the Path of Lovingkindness,

It’s important to investigate the nature of anger because it is such a powerful energy and can be so destructive. When we can face our anger without being afraid of it, or angry about it, or defenseless in the face of it, then we can come close to it. When we are able to look closely at anger, we can see threads of different feelings – the sadness and the fear woven through it – and we can see it’s true nature. When we can uncover the helplessness and powerlessness that often feed anger, we transform them. In being mindful of these feelings, we actually use the sheer energy of anger – without getting lost in it or overcome by it’s tremendously deluding and fixating quality – to reveal instead the courage and compassion that have been concealed.

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Zen Koan #32: Parable of Inch Time Foot Gem – Buddhist Teaching on Valuing Quality

Zen Koan #32: Parable of Inch Time Foot Gem - Buddhist Teaching on Valuing Quality In the Zen Buddhist teaching, it’s clear that to love one is the foundation of the love of other people. Love is a practice. Love is truly a practice. However, it is precisely the greed of someone who wants the Buddha to save him that prevents him from being reborn in the Pure Land.

No matter how disturbing your surroundings or your inner mind, you should take clear note of it and avoid feeling any aversion. To fulfill your original intentions, you must constantly keep your mind on the method of practice. In that case, should you discard the method? The problem with discarding the method is that, while you may seem to have no thoughts, you may still fall into a foggy state. This engenders more ripples. Neither is there any Dharma Realm.

At that time, even though you are practicing very well, you would not think of yourself as practicing. Throughout the discussion, it becomes apparent that each account contains the building blocks out of which the other could be constructed. It cannot be judged by worldly standards. In addition, we do this for the reason that we realize that we struggle all the time and we are not in harmony with the flow of things, which the first noble truth of Zen Buddhism is, that there is suffering in the world.

Zen Koan: “Inch Time Foot Gem” Parable

A lord asked Takuan, a Zen Teacher, to suggest how he might pass the time. He felt his days very long attending his office and sitting stiffly to receive the homage of others.

Takuan wrote eight Chinese characters and gave them to the man:

Not twice this day
Inch time foot gem.

This day will not come again.
Each minute is worth a priceless gem.

Buddhist Insight on Value Is In Quality Not Quantity

Like a debate in court, one perception is based on reason and truth, while the other one is not. In Zen Buddhism, we spend so much time talking about third people, most of which is useless. This is admirable meditation on true reality of quality and not quantity. This is where value lies. Nothing is as wholesome as concentrating on this mind. There is actual compassion, direct compassion, and absolute compassion. The British philosopher and populariser of Eastern philosophy for a Western audience Alan Watts wrote in Become What You Are,

While modern astronomy tells us of our insignificance beneath the stars, it also tells us that if we lift so much as a finger, we affect them. It is true that we are transient, that we have no abiding self, but the fabric of life is such that one broken thread may work immeasurable ruin. The magnitude of the world with whose destiny we are bound up increases rather than diminishes our importance.

Nature may seem to have little regard for individuals; it may let them die in millions as if it mattered nothing. But value is in quality, not quantity. A pea may be as round as the world, but as far as roundness is concerned, neither is better than the other. And man is in himself a little universe; the ordering of his mind and body is as complex as the ordering of the stars. can we say, then, that the governing of a man’s universe is less important because it is different in size?

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Zen Koan #31: Parable of Everything Is Best – Buddhist Teaching on Listening

Zen Koan #31: Parable of Everything Is Best - Buddhist Teaching on Listening Criticism is usually unjustified. Yet even in the midst of this noisy and crowded world, we are given a small area to practice. After defining all those you have to work out how to do it in real life—that’s the hard part—how to abstain from all these. If others can practice, then at least you can endeavor. Let us verbalize about rest. You should have faith that every method is a good method and every individual is good practitioner. If any part of your body feels painful, you should try to relax it. However, this Bodhi tree is alive and growing. When examining a branch, we can’t disconnect it from the earlier branches, the trunk, or the roots. They’re all part of the whole.

A Bodhi tree (ficus religiosa) is withal a stringy looking fig tree, with branches that infrequently weave into each other, and then back out again. So long as you practice diligently, practice is the totality. If you were to leave the water alone, the ripples would eventually subside and the surface would be still.

You may be critical of the food, or the style of the retreat. It is just as if when one side senses it is losing the battle, suddenly all resistance is gone and they are defeated very quickly. This was due to his greed for the experience.

Zen Koan: “Everything Is Best” Parable

When Banzan was walking through a market he overheard a conversation between a butcher and his customer.

“Give me the best piece of meat you have,” said the customer.

“Everything in my shop is the best,” replied the butcher. “You cannot find here any piece of meat that is not the best.”

At these words Banzan became enlightened.

Buddhist Insight on Listening

Anger, hatred, aversion is related qualities, according to Zen Buddhism. It’s not that you should do it, but these are just laws of what makes life richer or better off in some way. They should be reminded that there are some listening eternal truths, which can never become out-of-date. However, if you have an interesting idea or very original thought, listening, ill will is willing to hear it out. Shunryu Suzuki, the Japanese-American Zen monk who helped popularize Zen Buddhism in the United States, writes in Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind,

When you listen to someone, you should give up all your preconceived ideas and your subjective opinions; you should just listen to him, just observe the way he is. We put very little emphasis on right and wrong or good or bad. We just see things as they are with him, and accept them. This is how we communicate with each other. Usually when you listen to some statement, you hear it as a kind of echo of yourself. You are actually listening to your own opinion. If it agrees with your opinion you may accept it, but if it does not, you will reject it or you may not even really hear it.

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Benjamin Franklin’s 13 Virtues

Benjamin Franklin's 13 Virtues

As a young adult, Ben Franklin identified 13 virtues he aspired to. To implement these virtues in his life, he devised a “Plan for Self Examination,” an agenda whereby he concentrated his attention, one virtue at a time, for one week at a time, rotating through the entire list four times a year. He kept a detailed log of the actions he took to develop the virtues in himself, along with his personal results.

He traced his development by using a little book of 13 charts. At the top of each chart was one of the virtues. The charts had a column for each day of the week and thirteen rows marked with the first letter of each of the 13 virtues. Every evening he would review the day and put a mark by the side of each virtue for each error committed with respect to that virtue for that day.

Unsurprisingly, his goal was to live his days and weeks without having to put any marks on his chart. At the start he found himself putting more marks on these pages than he ever anticipated, but in time he enjoyed seeing them diminish. Eventually he went through the series only once per year and then only once in several years until ultimately omitting them entirely. But he always carried the little book with him as a reminder.

  1. Temperance: Eat not to dullness and drink not to elevation.
  2. Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself. Avoid trifling conversation.
  3. Order: Let all your things have their places. Let each part of your business have its time.
  4. Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve.
  5. Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself: i.e. Waste nothing.
  6. Industry: Lose no time. Be always employed in something useful. Cut off all unnecessary actions.
  7. Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit. Think innocently and justly; and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
  8. Justice: Wrong none, by doing injuries or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  9. Moderation: Avoid extremes. Forebear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  10. Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanness in body, clothes or habitation.
  11. Chastity: Rarely use venery but for health or offspring; Never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
  12. Tranquility: Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  13. Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
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Zen Koan #30: Parable of Calling Card – Buddhist Teaching on Understanding and Awakening

Zen Koan #30: Parable of Calling Card - Buddhist Teaching on Understanding and Awakening In the commencement, the Buddha wasn’t composing stuff like that and it had more effect in those days—there were lots more people who seemed to be doing a lot better in their Zen Meditation with fewer diversions—things were simpler. People used to just cogitate and heedfully aurally perceive the construal of the words. To come to a retreat merely out of curiosity shows a lack of faith in yourself and in the practice; it would be impossible for you to get good results.

Generally, people enjoy living in the world of confusion for the reason that it is much more entertaining. So long as your mind is filled with greed, hatred, or ignorance, you will be immersed in vexation and suffering. There are two types of food for the body: nutrition and contact. Later when your Zen Meditation is not as pleasurable, you may try to analyze how you sat so well that one time and why you are so uncomfortable now.

Disassociate yourself from the part of your body that is painful. Trouble can only develop in a state of discrimination. The more you go after it, the more it eludes you. The more you want benefits from Zen, the further you will be from obtaining them. Practice is a foolish endeavor, like climbing a crystal mountain covered with oil.

Zen Koan: “Calling Card” Parable

Keichu, the great Zen teacher of the Meiji era, was the head of Tofuku, a cathedral in Kyoto. One day the governor of Kyoto called upon him for the first time.

His attendant presented the card of the governor, which read: Kitagaki, Governor of Kyoto.

“I have no business with such a fellow,” said Keichu to his attendant. “Tell him to get out of here.”

The attendant carried the card back with apologies. “That was my error,” said the governor, and with a pencil he scratched out the words Governor of Kyoto. “Ask your teacher again.”

“Oh, is that Kitagaki?” exclaimed the teacher when he saw the card. “I want to see that fellow.”

Buddhist Insight on Understanding and Awakening

The uncontrolled harm of things is limitless. Take a few minutes off your daily chores, sit down in a quiet place, and be mindful of your thoughts. That doesn’t mean that we have to go off in a hermitage, but our household life, our driving, our interpersonal relations, they are our considerate practice, and they require some working with. She wrote this note after a couple of days of trying meditation awareness. The British meditation teacher Christina Feldman and American vipassana teacher Jack Kornfield write in Stories of the Spirit, Stories of the Heart,

In spiritual life there is no room for compromise. Awakening is not negotiable; we cannot bargain to hold on to things that please us while relinquishing things that do not matter to us. A lukewarm yearning for awakening is not enough to sustain us through the difficulties involved in letting go. It is important to understand that anything that can be lost was never truly ours, anything that we deeply cling to only imprisons us.

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