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During a Q&A session a student said to master Roshi he’d been listening to his lectures for years but couldn't understand. So he asked Roshi to reduce Buddhism to one phrase. "Everything changes," Roshi said. Then Roshi asked for another question.
Being aware of the ever-changing nature of reality and appreciating the present leads to peace in everyday life.
A university professor researching Zen sought master Nan-in, who served him tea. Nan-in poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. “It is overfull. No more will go in!”
“Like this cup,” Nan-in said, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”
A farmer was consoled by his neighbors who claimed it was bad luck his horse ran away. The farmer replied “Maybe.” The horse returned with more horses, so his neighbors said it was luck. The farmer said “Maybe.” Later a horse broke his son leg and the neighbors said it was a misfortune. The farmer said “Maybe.” The next day his son escaped conscription thanks to his broken leg and the neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. The farmer said “Maybe.”
Time goes on and good and bad are two sides of the same coin. Being aware of this allows us to find peace and happiness.
We all are in a hurry to go somewhere, hankering something greater, better, most substantial and more significant than our present.
Human beings have made it necessary to run towards something, even if there is nothing to run at. It’s always a belief that one’s life has to be moving and just sitting stationary is a sin.
People without a drive to go anywhere are generally looked down upon and labelled inefficient, incompetent, and lazy. One cannot be still in this fast-paced world.
Zen teachings tell us that we are perfect as we are, where we are. Life is perfect as it is, and there is no need to rush anywhere to find happiness.
People have this misconception that getting a better job, making more money, buying new fancy toys, will provide them with happiness, because true happiness can be attained right now, at this very moment.
Once we stop striving to get somewhere else, only then we get off the rat race, the hamster wheel of life thrust upon us by society, and find peace in this very moment, as this is all that we have.
Just being in this perfect moment, understanding that there is nowhere to go, and immersing yourself in love and gratitude is the key to happiness.