(photo by Jacy)
My first contact with Buddhism was through a website called Zen Stories which I'm pleased to see is still online:Zen Stories To Tell your Neighbours
I was thinking about how many small stones I miss when I'm walking to work, because I'm thinking about the day ahead or behind, and it reminded me of one of the stories on that site:
After ten years of apprenticeship, Tenno achieved the rank of Zen teacher. One rainy day, he went to visit the famous master Nan-in. When he walked in, the master greeted him with a question, "Did you leave your wooden clogs and umbrella on the porch?"
"Yes," Tenno replied.
"Tell me," the master continued, "did you place your umbrella to the left of your shoes, or to the right?"
Tenno did not know the answer, and realized that he had not yet attained full awareness. So he became Nan-in's apprentice and studied under him for ten more years.So Tenno didn't recall where he left he put his wooden clogs - perhaps he was noticing the plum blossom blowing over the temple steps, or perhaps he was thinking about what to say to the great Zen master, I don't know.
Do we really need to know which side of the umbrella we left our clogs? I would be interested in your thoughts, do comment below...
We are always aware of something. What is the most useful thing to be aware of?
A version of this post appeared on my blog in the writing community writing our way home