Friday, November 6, 2015

Let Go

Once there lived a village of creatures along the bottom of a great crystal river. 
The current of the river swept silently over them all -- young and old, rich and poor, compassionate and cruel -- the current going its own way, knowing only its own crystal self.
Each creature in its own manner clung tightly to the twigs and rocks of the river bottom, for clinging was their way of life, and resisting the current what each had learned from birth.
But one creature said at last, "I am tired of clinging. Though I cannot see it with my eyes, I trust that the current knows where it is going. I shall let go, and let it take me where it will. Clinging, I shall die of boredom." 
The other creatures laughed and said, "Fool! Let go, and that current will throw you tumbled and smashed across the rocks, and you will die quicker than boredom!" 
But the one heeded them not, and taking a breath did let go, and at once was tumbled and smashed by the current across the rocks. Yet in time, as the creature refused to cling again, the current lifted him free from the bottom, and he was bruised and hurt no more.
And the creatures downstream, to whom he was a stranger, cried, "See a miracle! A creature like ourselves, yet he flies! See the Messiah, come to save us all!"
And the one carried in the current said, "I am no more Messiah than you. The river delights to lift us free, if only we dare let go. Our true work is this voyage, this adventure." 
But they cried the more, "Savior!" all the while clinging to the rocks, and when they looked again he was gone, and they were left alone, and began making legends of a Savior. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

Clarify the Mind

Zen master Tetsuo was so famous for his brush painting that many people came to him just to study art.
He always used to tell prospective students, "You must remember the saying, 'If you want to avoid depending on society, don't let criticism and praise disturb your heart.' 
When you can cultivate your art without leaving any mundanity at all in your chest, then mind and technique will naturally mature, and you will eventually be able to arrive at the subtleties. This is the way out of darkness into light."

Once a distinguished Confucian scholar and statesman came to visit Tetsuo. Observing the Zen master executing a painting, the scholar noted that every move of the master's arm and brush was in conformity with classical principals of calligraphy. 
When he remarked upon this, the Zen master explained, "In terms of correctness of mind, calligraphy and painting are one. When I make a painting, if so much as one cane of bamboo or one leaf on a tree is even slightly off from the way the stroke should be, I tear the whole thing up and throw it away, then put aside my brush, sit quietly, and clarify mind. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Glass and Lake

An aging Hindu master grew tired of his apprentice complaining, and so, one morning, he sent him for some salt.
When the apprentice returned, the master instructed the unhappy young man to put a handful of salt in a glass of water and then to drink it.
 "How does it taste?" the master asked.
 "Bitter," spit the apprentice.
 The master chuckled and then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt and put it in the lake. 
The two walked in silence to the nearby lake, and once the apprentice swirled his handful of salt in the water, the old man said, "Now drink from the lake." 

As the water dripped down the young man's chin, the master asked, "How does it taste?"
 "Much fresher," remarked the apprentice.
 "Do you taste the salt?" asked the master.
 "No," said the young man. 
At this, the master sat beside the young man who so reminded him of himself and took his hands, offering, "The pain of life is pure salt, no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains the same, exactly the same. But the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things... Stop being a glass. Become a lake." 

Friday, October 16, 2015


Wealthy patrons invited Ikkyu to a banquet. Ikkyu arrived dressed in his beggar's robes. 
The host, not recognizing him, chased him away. 
Ikkyu went home, changed into his ceremonial robe of purple brocade, and returned. 
With great respect, he was received into the banquet room. 
There, he put his robe on the cushion, saying, "Evidently you invited the robe since you showed me away a little while ago," and left. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

What is Work ?

I read a book recently titled ' Great Ideas That will Keep You Stress-Free & Relaxed at Work' by Pratik P.Surana. A little longish title indeed.

He writes 5 Biggest Myths about Work :
Myth 1) Work leads to retirement
Myth 2) Do work you are Good at
Myth 3) Work is not something to be Enjoyed
Myth 4) Work is for only making Money
Myth 5) A resume is necessary and sufficient

Do you find any statement as a statement of fact rather than a myth? If yes, his advice : It is time to change what you are doing. 

He writes about these as myths. But what are your personal experiences vis-a-vis these statements? 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

"O-nami,You are those Waves"

In the early days of the Meiji era there lived a well-known wrestler called O-nami, Great Waves.
O-nami was immensely strong and knew the art of wrestling. In his private bouts he defeated even his teacher, but in public he was so bashful that his own pupils threw him.
O-nami felt he should go to a Zen master for help. Hakuju, a wandering teacher, was stopping in a little temple nearby, so O-nami went to see him and told him of his trouble. 
"Great Waves is your name," the teacher advised, "so stay in this temple tonight, Imagine that you are those billows. You are no longer a wrestler who is afraid. You are those huge waves sweeping everything before them, swallowing in all their path. Do this and you will be the greatest wrestler in the land." 
The teacher retired. O-nami sat in meditation trying to imagine himself as waves. He thought of many different things. Then gradually he turned more and more to the feeling of the waves. As the night advanced the waves became larger and larger. They swept away the flowers in their vases. Even the Buddha in the shrine was inundated. Before dawn the temple was nothing but the ebb and flow of an immense sea.
In the morning the teacher found O-nami meditating, a faint smile on his face. He patted the wrestler's shoulder. "Now nothing can disturb you," he said. "You are those waves. You will sweep everything before you." 
The same day O-nami entered the wrestling contests and won. After that, no one in Japan was able to defeat him. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Step Back

"You should step back and investigate. 
How do you step back? It is not a matter of sitting there ignoring everything, stiffly repressing the body and mind so that they are like earth and wood---that will never do any good. 
When you want to step back, if there are any sayings you do not understand, or stories you do not comprehend, they are then right before you. Step back and see for yourself why you do not understand."