Monday, February 22, 2010

Once, there was a fellow



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Once, there was a fellow who wanted out of the Zen monastery where he was living. In Zen monasteries you must pay constant attention to what you’re doing, what you’re experiencing from moment to moment. After a time, this can get to you, which is precisely what happened to this fellow.

He went to see the master and said, “I can’t take this anymore. I want out.”

The master said, “Okay, then leave.”

He started for the door, and the master said, “That’s not your door.”

“Oh. Sorry.” The fellow looked around and spotted another door. As he headed for it, the master said, “That’s not your door.”

“Oh!” He looked around for another door, and as he headed for that one, the master said, “That’s not your door!”

Bewildered and exasperated, the poor fellow said, “What do you mean? There’s 
no other door. You told me I could leave, but there’s no door I can leave by.”

“If there’s no door you can leave by,” said the master, “then sit down.”

We can only be 
here. We can’t leave. We’re always here. Examine your life and you’ll see. The master’s “sit down” means to start paying attention to what’s actually going on, instead of running away from it. This is how it is with us. Because we ignore our true situation, we’re never satisfied.
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~ Steve Hagen
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