Friday, December 20, 2002

Sweeping Leaves

Some of us were sweeping the temple yard in the morning where there is a Bodhi tree. It took quite some effort as some of the leaves were stuck to the wet cement ground. Anyway, the wind just blew by this afternoon and rustled the tree... And there we have it, leaves for our morning chore tomorrow. Here's my much rendered version of a Zen story inspired by the above-

Disciple: Why do we keep sweeping the leaves?
Master: Because they keep falling.

Disciple: Why don't we chop the tree instead?
Master: Why don't you chop your impatience and laziness instead?

Disciple: But it's really a waste of time and effort!
Master: See your impatience and laziness rising now? Sweeping the leaves is thus not so simple- it is sweeping away your impatience and laziness.

Disciple: But... it's such a mundane repetitive task.
Master: Mundane tasks can be done mundanely. Spiritual practice is doing mundane tasks spiritually. Isn't it an exercise for training patience, effort, mindfulness... Do not separate your tasks into the mundane and spiritual. Enlightenment can be attained while doing any task. How well we take up and handle the mundane is the measure of how far we have transcended them while perfecting them. Be thankful there are enough so-called mundane tasks for you to actively practise and measure your spirituality! JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply

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