A Bike

A Zen Teacher saw five of his students return from the market, riding their bicycles. When they had dismounted, the teacher asked the students,

"Why are you riding your bicycles?"

The first student replied, "The bicycle is carrying this sack of potatoes. I am glad that I do not have to carry them on my back!"

The teacher praised the student, saying, "You are a smart boy. When you grow old, you will not walk hunched over, as I do."

The second student replied, "I love to watch the trees and fields pass by as I roll down the path."

The teacher commended the student, "Your eyes are open and you see the world."

The third student replied, "When I ride my bicycle, I am content to chant, nam myoho renge kyo."

The teacher gave praise to the third student, "Your mind will roll with the ease of a newly trued wheel."

The fourth student answered, "Riding my bicycle, I live in harmony with all beings."

The teacher was pleased and said, "You are riding on the golden path of non-harming."

The fifth student replied, "I ride my bicycle to ride my bicycle."

The teacher went and sat at the feet of the fifth student, and said, "I am your disciple."

Nature's Beauty

A priest was in charge of the garden within a famous Zen temple. He had been given the job because he loved the flowers, shrubs, and trees. Next to the temple there was another, smaller temple where there lived a very old Zen master.

One day, when the priest was expecting some special guests, he took extra care in tending to the garden. He pulled the weeds, trimmed the shrubs, combed the moss, and spent a long time meticulously raking up and carefully arranging all the dry autumn leaves. As he worked, the old master watched him with interest from across the wall that separated the temples.

When he had finished, the priest stood back to admire his work. “Isn’t it beautiful,” he called out to the old master. “Yes,” replied the old man, “but there is something missing. Help me over this wall and I’ll put it right for you.”

The priest lifted the old fellow over and set him down. Slowly, the master walked to the tree near the center of the garden, grabbed it by the trunk, and shook it. Leaves showered down all over the garden. “There,” said the old man, “you can put me back now.”


The Ten Commandments of Mindfulness

Translated into English by Tam Lac Jessica A. Tran

1.Yearn not for a body free of disease and suffering, because without going through pain and illness, sundry desires are easily awakened.

2.Wish not for a life free of mishaps and obstacles, because without them one tends to become arrogant and egotistic.

3.Pray not for a quick shortcut regarding spiritual introspect, because without excruciating effort, one becomes short-learning.

4.Fear not the haunting disturbance of evil while accumulating spiritual strength, because without them one’s determination does not grow solid strong.

5.Hope not for easy success in one’s work, because without difficulties and failures, one tends to undervalue others and become overly proud.

6.Build notrelationships on selfish gain, because a relationship based on profit has lost its genuine meaning.

7.Look not for a universal consensus regarding one’s personal opinion, because complete adoption to a single opinion will render narrow mindedness.

8.Expect not repayment or reward from others for one’s services, because calculation and expectation contradicts true service.

9.Engage not irrationally into profitable attractions, because jumping too quickly into temptation may well blind wisdom.

10.Stir not at being victim of injustice, because eagerness to clarify reputation belongs to an ego too attached to loose.

These are the Buddha’s teachings:

- Consider disease and suffering as medicines to the body

- Use mishaps as a means of self-liberation

- Treat obstacles as enjoyable challenges

- Greet haunting spirits as good companions

- Consider difficulties as life enjoyments

- Thank bad friends as helping you in self-adjustment

- View unpleasant dissidents as friendly entertainment

- See favors as merely unimportant sandals plentiful to dispose

- Take disinterest from temptation as an honourable achievement.

- Employ injustice as entry doors to spiritual perfection.

To accept obstacles will bring wisdom, but to pray for wisdom will inevitably bring obstacles. It was within all obstacles approaching that The Thus Comes One enlightened to the Ultimate Bodhi. He gladly instilled perfection to the Path of Enlightenment to all the people who wished to do harm to him, even the great ill seeker that was named Devadatta.

Thus, does not the difficulty faced in life bring beneficial results, and could not the destruction and damage of others bring support to one’s achievements?

Today Buddhist practitioner, because they firstly fear to throw themselves into all types of obstacle, so when true obstacles come their way, they are too helpless to fend for themselves. The Absolute Dharma of nobility and superior ambition thus diminishes because of this pity, how regretful, how resentful!?

Translated into English by Tam Lac- Jessica A. Tran

The Buddhist Half Filled Glass

Published April 7th, 2007 in Buddhism/Zen and Interconnectedness.

Glass of Water A central concept in Buddhism is that each and every moment contains unlimited potential with unlimited possibilities of what can happen. In this way, the glass can hardly be only one or two states.

Psychology read a lot into how you see the glass. The litmus test from a western viewpoint, only allows two options; half full or half empty. In Buddhism, however, these 2 views leave an incomplete picture. Adding more to this picture, below are a few more Buddhist takes.

* The glass is full; it contains both liquid and space.

* There is no glass; it’s made up of things that are not it.

* The glass is a manifestation of the whole universe; it is not separate or unique. It’s not half anything.

Even after adding these extra view points, we are not at the whole truth. The Whole Truth exists in no extremes, it lies in between them all, it lies in the middle way. Seeing one point of view is just that, one view out of a potentially unlimited number.

A trait of many geniuses when confronted with a problem, they ask “How many different ways can I look at it?,” “How can I rethink the way I see it?,” and “How many different ways can I solve it?”

In the case of our glass, all views and no views are correct. The true answer to the glass lies in the unlimited potential and possibilities.