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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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The True Master of the Universe

The Lord Can Take What He Has Given

The Lord Can Take What He Has Given All life is a gift from the hand of the Creator. It is an ever-recurring miracle, which renews the wonder of creation. In addition, when life is withdrawn, we dare not fret, for its withdrawal is a reminder of die privilege we enjoyed during the time we were permitted to keep the gift.

The greatest grief comes to those who regard the world as their very own, for when deprived of something they feel that a great injustice has been committed. Happy are the enlightened who realize that we are here only by the invitation of the divine Host who is the true Master of the universe. A guest is conscious of being privileged by whatever token of recognition he receives from his host, though he knows that whatever is showered, on him will be withheld before long. The Lord only takes what He in the first place has given.

The withdrawal of the gift arouses a feeling of gratitude in a sensitive person for whatever time he was privileged to keep it. He will grieve because he misses what he has lost, but he will praise God as a righteous Judge. If in our casual life, we can smile, if we can be peaceable and happy, not only we, but also everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work.

Our Triviality and Vulnerability

Our Triviality and Vulnerability All that we really know so far encourages me to conceive in the hypothesis of further important progress in this region. This is not genuine: the ocean is ten times as large as the earth; salt makes a fortieth part of the sea. The importance of spiritual knowledge to the cheerfulness of humanity. All such references are to be taken as no literal expressions. On impact, he moved his BlackBerry from his belt clip to the inwardly pocket of his blue-gray tweed blazer.

Nearly in the clouds, on a mountaintop resort that is making the modulation from the rust color of fall leaves to the rainbow apparel of skiers, the heavyweight-boxing champion of the world is in training for his first vindication of the title. The Swiss-born British author and philosopher Alain de Botton wrote in The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work,

Death is hard to keep in mind when there is work to be done. … Work does not by its nature permit us to do anything other than take it too seriously. It must destroy our sense of perspective, and we should be grateful to it for precisely this reason, for allowing us to mingle ourselves promiscuously with events, for letting us wear thoughts of our own death and the destruction of our enterprises with beautiful lightness, as mere intellectual propositions. … We function of the basis of a necessary myopia. Therein is the sheer energy of existence, a blind will no less impressive than that which we find in a moth arduously crossing a window ledge, … refusing to contemplate the broader scheme in which he will be dead by nightfall. The arguments for our triviality and vulnerability are too obvious, too well known and tedious to rehearse. What is interesting is that we may take it upon ourselves to approach tasks with utter determination and gravity even when their wider non-sense is clear. The impulse to exaggerate the significance of what we are doing, far from being an intellectual error, is really life itself coursing through us.

Life on board a pleasure steamer violates every moral and physical status of goodly life except fresh air. It is a guzzling, lounging, gambling, dog’s life. The sole interchange to excitement is peevishness. A great number of like experiences have made it seeming that in the cases only the cognizance of the patient does not see and does not hear, while the sense function is in the meantime intact. Like ice cream, this definition would enable one to analyze many forms of happiness. The heaviest hammer of ironwork could not do it the fortieth part so soon. If we concur that the bottom line of life is happiness, not success, then it makes consummate sense to say that it is the journey that counts, not reaching the goal. It may be the same with sounds; the tone may decrease by aloofness, and yet we may not be spiritualist of it without a nice comparison. However, to determine the universal ability is not sufficient.

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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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Death is Not Extinction

Destruction is a Prelude to New Creation

Destruction is a Prelude to New Creation Death is not a total extinction of life; it is as if the sculptor is smashing of a clay model. The form is destroyed; but it returns to its raw matter out of which the artist will attempt some new creation.

In the economy of God’s universe, there is a conservation of elements. We may disintegrate an atom, but the essence survives in the stupendous energy, which has been released. Similarly, death cannot destroy the body or the soul. The body returns to the treasury of primordial earth from which all physical life emerges and to which it returns. It decomposes into its constituent elements and continues to be part of the cycle of unending existence. The soul is invisible and it returns to its invisible living source. In addition, if we have lived with any beauty or goodness during the span of our years, then that beauty or goodness has entered the permanent reservoir of life’s assets, and it will continue to exist in newer incarnations; our deeds will be an inspiration to other lives.

Even our individuality is not wholly lost. For the seeds of immortality have been planted in us, and out of these seeds spring new life. For the Creator is infinitely resourceful and He employs the same stuff of life in eternally novel ways. Yet in that new life, we live on, for it is flesh of our flesh and spirit of our spirit.

Destruction is a prelude to new creation. It enables the Architect of our existence to wipe clean the slate at intervals and to start over again. The loss of the old is vindicated in the new—in the fairer copy, which comes after it.

Living and Lifelessness

Living and Lifelessness In searching for happiness in all the unseasonable places, we continually perpetuate the canonical misapprehension that we exist. Let those who are subject to slight complaints of this kind avoid wine, and supply its place by beer of a due potency. As a dripping-stone will not grow enough for a ship’s company, the following expeditious method may be practiced. We promptly attain the level of the triumphant ones. This is unconditioned love, love that does not expect or need a return, love that sees past the petty differences and disputes in life to the cosmopolitan longings for happiness that we all share. You cannot service two masters. Then follows the actualization that the differentiation between living and lifeless is a human conception.

We would see them inspiring individual religious belief and public dedication; restoring graveness of manners and simple mindedness of life; promoting in every man contentment with his lot, surrender to ecclesiastic designation, and continual regard to the blessing of heaven. –We may glorify riches and traffic; but, in truth, the preponderance of such principles of public virtue and concord forms the real strength and glory of a nation. The second half of a man’s life is made up of nothing but the habits he has acquired during the first half. For illustration, although the particular correlation between the powers of speed in different performances has been found to come close to zero, this need not inevitably be at all the case as regards preferences of rate; on the contrary, the person who likes to do one thing in a measured manner is very likely to prefer deliberation in other things also. American psychologist James Hillman wrote in Kind of Blue—An Essay on Melancholia and Depression,

Fundamentally everything in inexplicable. If doesn’t matter what you go into deeply enough, you realise there is no answer, because because there is no reason. Probably melancholia gives you the feeling of coming to the end. It affects the feeling level. It isn’t that your mind can no longer understand what is happening to it. But you have the feeling that there is no way you can go on. And that reason itself has come to a stop. They say time itself has come to a stop, or the mind has come to the end of its tether. That’s its importance though; that it stops the mind’s inflation that it can understand everything or come to grips with anything.

The happiness of life may be greatly increased by small good manners in which there is no parade, whose voice is too still to tease, and which evidence themselves by tender and lovesome looks, and little kind acts of attention.

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The Real Significance of Rust

Replacing the Old with the New

Replacing the Old with the New If the inclination of religious knowledge were good, wisdom must direct, and duty obliges us to school it. In addition, what has already been verbally expressed about the world of the psyche holds good here to a still higher degree; that is, that one has to employ analogies in order to distinguish it. There was an excruciating drive back to Maryland, where we said what we claimed, maybe even believed, and were impermanent goodbyes.

Creation goes on day by day. The momentous words, “Let there be light” by which God launched the universe, started the process, but it is unfinished. As we master the laws of nature, as we understand the hidden forces at work in our own lives, and with that knowledge fashion a nobler world, we are continuing the work of creation. Among the many aids, that God has provided for our work is rust.

Continuous creation involves replacing the old with the new. That which has played its part in the drama of existence must give way, so that the fresh may make its appearance. Rust, like every other form of decay, removes the obsolete from the scene to make room for the new, and without it, the world would long have become clogged up with accumulations of junk. The debris of death would have crowded out life. Rust is the sanitation department in God’s universe.

Rust has a parallel in human phenomena. Forgetfulness is a kind of rust working on experience. Because we forget the old, we can more readily embrace the new. One shudders to think what would happen if we could not forget if our minds were forced to carry all our memories in active consciousness.

The human phenomenon, which offers the closest parallel to rust, is death. One generation dies that a new generation may take its place. A mature person cannot therefore rebel against death. It is the price we must always pay for the emergence of new life. Death and life are only the opposite sides of the same coin. We cannot have one without the other.

Goodness and Mercy and Compassion and Sympathy

Goodness and Mercy and Compassion and Sympathy You are goodness and mercy and compassion and sympathy. You are peace and joy and light. You are pardon and forbearance, strength and courageousness, a helper in time of need, a reliever in time of sorrow, a therapist in time of injury, a teacher in times of mental confusion. You are the deep wisdom and the highest truth; the superlative peace and the grandest love. You are these things. In addition, in moments of your life you have known yourself to be these things. Select now to know yourself as these things always. Russell Means, the prominent activist for the rights of Native American people, wrote in For America to Live, Europe Must Die,

Soldiers who have seen a lot of combat learn to … [dehumanize] the enemy before going back into combat. Murderers do it before going out to commit murder. Nazi SS guards did it to concentration camp inmates. Cops do it. Corporation leaders do it to the workers they send into uranium mines and steel mills. Politicians do it to everyone in sight. And what the process has in common for each group doing the dehumanizing is that it makes it all right to kill and otherwise destroy other people. One of the Christian commandments says, ‘Thou shalt not kill,’ at least not humans, so the trick is to mentally convert the victims into nonhumans.

Elucidate your goals. You may not even be aware of some of them, so unfeasible might they seem because of the distressing feelings that even contemplating them stirs up. The directors use the word prepare, because that comes up best to the innovation of the society, which is, to apprise the children, first of all, in the knowledge of Christian religion, the reformed Protestant Church faith.

Happiness research is clear: buy experiences, not things. The apotheosis held steadily in mind attracts the requisite precondition for its fulfillment. If temporal happiness is not the goal of dharma, then what is it that prompts a person to want to apply? Chances are that stepping onto a religious path would not even occur to a person who is rich, enjoys their life, and has a strong sense of personal security. In a sure sense, such moments go beyond, or lie hidden under, the gratification or frustration of our desires.

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Zen Koan #29: Parable of No Water, No Moon – Buddhist Teaching on the Present Moment

Zen Koan #29: Parable of No Water, No Moon - Buddhist Teaching on the Present Moment Material development alone sometimes solves one quandary but engenders another. For example, certain people may have acquired wealth, a good edification, and a high convivial standing, yet ecstasy eludes them. They take slumbering pills and drink an extravagant amount of alcohol.

Something is missing, something still not consummated, so these people take refuge in drugs or in a bottle. It is when you do not feel successful that you put in the effort. As soon as you become attached to something, you lose the direction of the method. When you experience everything as equal, all distinctions will naturally disappear. You are definitely in this place and not some other. The realization of a koan is not just a cognitive understanding, and this naturally follows from the essential theme cited earlier that logic cannot be used to understand a koan. If you try to eliminate the difficulties, it would be like observing a pan of water. In fact, their efforts have only increased their mental vexations, and have created physical ones as well.

By practicing daily Zen Meditation and going on recedes, at least you are pumping the air into the tire to some extent. On the contrary, everything is there clearly, and in place.

Zen Koan: “No Water, No Moon” Parable

When the nun Chiyono studied Zen under Bukko of Engaku she was unable to attain the fruits of meditation for a long time.

At last one moonlit night she was carrying water in an old pail bound with bamboo. The bamboo broke and the bottom fell out of the pail, and at that moment Chiyono was set free!

In commemoration, she wrote a poem:

In this way and that I tried to save the old pail
Since the bamboo strip was weakening and about to break
Until at last the bottom fell out.
No more water in the pail!
No more moon in the water!

Buddhist Insight on Return to the Present Moment

In Zen Buddhism, you can practice with annoyance with your partner or your spouse in the present moment. Moreover, you can be as happy watching a sunset or taking a walk as having an overgenerous night out on the town because you know how to relate to those things. There’s a mythology of returning to the present moment in our country that is false. When you’ve gotten good, you can even try loving some of our politicians. The American Zen teacher Charlotte Joko Beck writes in Nothing Special: Living Zen,

Most of our difficulties, our hopes, and our worries are empty fantasies. Nothing has ever existed except this moment. That’s all there is. That’s all we are. Yet most of us human beings spend 50 to 90 percent or more of their time in their imagination, living in fantasy. We think about what has happened to us, what might have happened, how we feel about it, how we should be different, how others should be different, how it’s all a shame, and so on; it’s all fantasy, all imagination. Memory is imagination. Every memory that we stick to devastates our life.

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Zen Koan #28: Parable of Open Your Own Treasure House – Buddhist Teaching on Wise Choices

Zen Koan #28: Parable of Open Your Own Treasure House - Buddhist Teaching on Wise Choices Buddha just means awake; one who is awake. When we allow thoughts, we can create incredible stories that make us laugh and make us cry. The more you try to control your mind, the more stray thoughts will come up to bother you. At this point, we may have come to the conclusion that we should drop the whole game of spiritual materialism; that is; we should give up trying to defend and improve ourselves.

Let’s return to the opening lines of the poem, “The Supreme Way is not difficult if only you do not pick and choose.” Actually, it is not hard to reach enlightenment if you do not grasp or reject. If you carried it home with you, your bowels would be in serious trouble. They ponder over all sorts of issues. They doubt the method and whether they can reach their objective. It requires meticulous attention. Those who do not practice Zen are not aware of their deepest vexations.

Daily problems and the pain of daily life may often feel almost poisonous. However, meditative awareness can help you to convert that poison into medicine, the medicine of cheerfulness. Taking refuge in the Dharma means taking refuge in the law, in the way things are; it is acknowledging our surrender to the truth and allowing the Dharma to unfold within us.

Zen Koan: “Open Your Own Treasure House” Parable

Daiju visited the master Baso in China. Baso asked: “What do you seek?”

“Enlightenment,” replied Daiju.

“You have your own treasure house. Why do you search outside?” Baso asked.

Daiju inquired: “Where is my treasure house?”

Baso answered: “What you are asking is your treasure house.”

Daiju was enlightened! Ever after he urged his friends: “Open your own treasure house and use those treasures.”

Buddhist Insight on Wise Choices

In Zen Buddhism, these words embody an experience just as the world love embodies an experience of mind and body. All these phenomena arise dependent upon a number of casual factors. Doing so will help one to forget one’s insignificant worries and troubles, to clarify one’s thinking, and to recall the decisive values and truths upon which one should build one’s life. With wise choices, no discipline is ever needed. The British meditation teacher Christina Feldman writes in The Buddhist Path to Simplicity,

How much of the knowledge, information, and strategies of our story serve us well? In our life story we experience hurt, pain, fear and rejection, at times caused by others, at others self-inflicted. Understanding what causes sorrow, pain, and devastation translates into discriminating wisdom, and we do not knowingly expose ourselves to these conditions. We are all asked to make wise choices in our lives – choices rooted in understanding rather than fear.

The Buddha used the analogy of a raft. Walking beside a great river, the bank we are standing on is dangerous and frightening and the other bank is safe. We collect branches and foliage to build a raft to transport us to the other shore. Having made the journey safely, supposing we picked up the raft and carried it on our head wherever we went. Would we be using the raft wisely? The obvious answer is “No.” A reasonable person would know how useful the raft has been, but wisdom would be to leave the raft behind and walk on unencumbered.

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Zen Koan #27: Parable of Voice of Happiness – Buddhist Teaching on Groundlessness

Zen Koan #27: Parable of Voice of Happiness - Buddhist Teaching on Groundlessness Zen meditation was found to reduce stress and blood pressure, and be efficacious for a variety of conditions, as suggested by positive findings in therapists and musicians. Subliminal processing is frequently thought to be automatic and independent of attention. However, the present framework implies that top-down attention and task set can have an effect on subliminal processing. People respond to arduousness in different ways. Let it ache away. It is for the reason that you choose and reject that you are not free. Zen meditation increases access to unconscious information.

On completing the great supreme dharma, there is the arising of the wisdom of the path of seeing. It has the nature of sixteen moments. There are also other states that are terrifying. Meditation takes gumption. It is certainly a great deal easier just to sit back and watch television. So why bother? Simple. For the reason that you are human. Heavenly states can only be attained by performing meritorious deeds with a minimum of desire. However, the methods themselves are wandering poetic conceptions. If you are really paying attention to the method, you will be aware of a stray thought as soon as it arises. Later, there will be things to learn in other places.”

Zen Koan: “Voice of Happiness” Parable

After Bankei had passed away, a blind man who lived near the master’s temple told a friend:

“Since I am blind, I cannot watch a person’s face, so I must judge his character by the sound of his voice. Ordinarily when I hear someone congratulate another upon his happiness or success, I also hear a secret tone of envy. When condolence is expressed for the misfortune of another, I hear pleasure and satisfaction, as if the one condoling was really glad there was something left to gain in his own world.

“In all my experience, however, Bankei’s voice was always sincere. Whenever he expressed happiness, I heard nothing but happiness, and whenever he expressed sorrow, sorrow was all I heard.”

Buddhist Insight on Groundlessness

Groundlessness is the enlightened world, a way of being where concepts like good and evil are empty, without substance, where there is no birth and death, and where everything is interdependent and without abiding form. In addition, it is possible to feel that because one is proficient origin of great suffering this faculty raises one above the insensitive herd. After a little while, he was able to sit up, feeling very much better than he had felt for a long time. In addition, he began to think about why it was he had fainted, and why he was now feeling so much refreshed in body and mind. The American Tibetan Buddhist nun Pema Chodron writes in Buddha’s Daughters,

When things fall apart and we’re on the verge of we know not what, the test for each of us is to stay on the brink and not concretize. The spiritual journey is not about heaven and finally getting to a place that’s really swell. In fact, that way of looking at things is what keeps us miserable. Thinking that we can find some lasting pleasure and avoid pain is what in Buddhism is called samsara, a hopeless cycle that goes round and round endlessly and causes us to suffer greatly.

The very first noble truth of the Buddha points out that suffering is inevitable for human beings as long as we believe that things last – that they don’t disintegrate, that they can be counted on to satisfy our hunger for security. From this point of view, the only time we ever know what’s really going on is when the rug’s been pulled out and we can’t find anywhere to land. We use these situations either to wake ourselves up or to put ourselves to sleep. Right now – in the very instant of groundlessness – is the seed of taking care of those who need our care and of discovering our goodness.

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Zen Koan #26: Parable of Trading Dialogue for Lodging – Buddhist Teaching on the Eyes of Love

Zen Koan #26: Parable of Trading Dialogue for Lodging - Buddhist Teaching on the Eyes of Love In our most tenebrous times of being disoriented or inundated, there is additionally sapience in reaching out to ask for avail. The mentors, sagacious friends, and guides who treasure our celebrity, are allies to call upon in the moments of greatest pain. However, if you go one step further into no mind, you cannot even be in the present. There is a saying that is useful for practitioners: “Put down the myriad thoughts.” Even if you convince yourself intellectually that everything is illusory, you may still have a lurking concept of the reality of things and be attached to them.

The feeling of resistance to the pain, the feeling of utter helplessness, and the feeling of hopelessness disappear. To respond appropriately to any given situation, an individual must have some understanding of that situation. A practitioner should not consider his own security. However, the effort to still your mind will cause it to become more active. There might be more placidity. Originally, you had to work very hard on your method, but when you get to the second level, everything flows naturally.

This does not mean that you do nothing, but that your mind is in a state of rest. Their minds are filled with thoughts of misery and a sense of failure.

Zen Koan: “Trading Dialogue for Lodging” Parable

Provided he makes and wins an argument about Buddhism with those who live there, any wondering monk can remain in a Zen temple. If he is defeated, he has to move on.

In a temple in the northern part of Japan two brother monks were dwelling together. The elder one was learned, but the younger one was stupid and had but one eye.

A wandering monk came and asked for lodging, properly challenging them to a debate about the sublime teachings. The elder brother, tired that day from much studying, told the younger one to take his place. “Go and request the dialogue in silence,” he cautioned.

So the young monk and the stranger went to the shrine and sat down.

Shortly afterwards the traveler rose and went in to the elder brother and said: “Your young brother is a wonderful fellow. He defeated me.”

“Relate the dialogue to me,” said the elder one.

“Well,” explained the traveler, “first I held up one finger, representing Buddha, the enlightened one. So he held up two fingers, signifying Buddha and his teaching. I held up three fingers, representing Buddha, his teaching, and his followers, living the harmonious life. Then he shook his clenched fist in my face, indicating that all three come from one realization. Thus he won and so I have no right to remain here.” With this, the traveler left.

“Where is that fellow?” asked the younger one, running in to his elder brother.

“I understand you won the debate.”

“Won nothing. I’m going to beat him up.”

“Tell me the subject of the debate,” asked the elder one.

“Why, the minute he saw me he held up one finger, insulting me by insinuating that I have only one eye. Since he was a stranger I thought I would be polite to him, so I held up two fingers, congratulating him that he has two eyes. Then the impolite wretch held up three fingers, suggesting that between us we only have three eyes. So I got mad and started to punch him, but he ran out and that ended it!”

Buddhist Insight on Seeing With The Eyes of Love

In Zen Buddhism, it is quite likely that the mental faculty is most active at every crucial hour. If there’s confusion and doubt, to read something or to speak with someone—it just reminds you of another part of yourself that’s a counter to that, so then you come into enough stability to watch it. By the damp womb, it is fettered, in unbearable fearful stench. Practically anything useful can be given as a gift when seen with the eyes of love. The Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh writes in Teachings On Love,

When the energy of love is strong in us, we can send it to beings in all directions. But we must not think that love meditation is only an act of imagination – we might imagine our love as being like waves of sound or light, or like a pure, white cloud that forms slowly and gradually spreads out to envelop the whole world. A true cloud produces rain. Sound and light penetrate everywhere, and our love must do the same. We have to observe whether our mind of love is present in our actual contact with others. Practicing love meditation in the sitting position is only the beginning.

But it is an important beginning. We sit quietly and look deeply into ourselves. With practice, our love will increase naturally, becoming all-inclusive and all-embracing. As we learn to see with the eyes of love, we empty our minds of anger and hatred.

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