NAMU SAKYAMUNI BUDDHA
ZEN and the Blue Bird of HAPPINESS ☺ ♥ ☮
Please ask yourself, what kind of person of Zen are you?
What do you expect from the Zen life? Do you put anything (effort) into your Zen practice? Do you regularly attend our Zen meditation practice classes? Have you received Zen Buddhist Tokudo Five Precepts? Is your heart compassionate? Now days, rarely does the Zen Master find even a single student worthy of his or her time to train. Are you worthy of the Zen teachings?
My Zen Master, the late Rev. Dr. Soyu Matsuoka-Roshi, archbishop of Soto Zen North America often said that Zen has been (and continues to be) distorted by many people. Instead of true Zen, most people make it ‘sleeping Zen’ or ‘discussion Zen’ or ‘Literary Zen’ or “Poetic Zen’ or ‘Awaiting for Enlightenment Zen’. You may have heard me mention this before if you have attended our Zen Center, about ‘Taigo Zen’- it is the Zen of looking for Zen wherever you go, wandering around seeking for it. It is not a Zen of the quiet waiting. Instead of knowing just ‘Sleeping Zen’, in which one’s mind is only half-awake or Discussion Zen, into which one knows nothing of the personal power of Zen, but merely can only discuss ‘book Zen’ scholastically; or of the Literary Zen, which is just confined to more books. Rather, one should know the LIVING ZEN in which one puts their whole being.
In this living or Mokusho Zen, one does not confine their Zen life to merely reading, discussions, writing or poetry, or even expecting enlightenment in each and every moment of their life to descend upon them from the mysterious realms. Instead, one discovers Zen in one’s daily life, no matter where they may be. Living Zen is not a ‘gift from above’ either, but a vital part of each living moment. When you live this living Zen, life takes on certain warmth and glow. True Zen is like the finding of the bluebird of happiness and the spring.
Have you ever heard the famous story of French origin in which two children go looking for the bluebird of happiness and a refreshing spring of cool water? In order to find it, they left their home and looked in the mountains, the valleys and in the fields, yet, after many years, they returned home without their sought-after treasures. To their surprise, they found the blue bird and the spring in their own garden. Over the spring was standing a plum tree with one beautiful blossom. When the children saw this, they knew that they could only find the bluebird and spring of happiness at home. The meaning of this story is more than just a seeking after happiness. The bluebird and spring are symbols of enlightenment.
Some people are always looking for Enlightenment or Zen in different places, but few realize that Enlightenment is right in their own Zen sitting. It is to be found each day nowhere else but in this very moment. Right here. Right now.
Zen is immense and deep. Do not be content with merely reading about Zen or discussing it, or even sitting sleepily during your meditation. You may wish to request Kyosaku (stick of compassion) at the Zen Center. It is not a punishment stick. It is only given to those who request it and also only the direct supervision of the Zen teacher. It is an invaluable aid to your Zen training and practice.
Please remember: Discussion of Zen is not necessary! This is an important point in gaining insight into your Zen. You must forget about talking about Zen. You can no more grasp the essence of Zen understanding from talking, anymore than you can fill your belly by reading a good food menu. With great compassion I encourage you to throw your entire being into whatever you are doing in this present moment. That is real Zen!
A Zen student asked the Zen Master, “What is Zen.” The Master replied, “Have you had your lunch?” To which the monk replied, “Yes Master, I have. “ “Then go, and wash your dishes.”
Another Zen Master put it this way when asked what Zen is: “When hungry- just eat. When tired- just sleep.”
In each and every activity- please be fully awake. This is spirit of living Zen.
May Peace Prevail on Earth!
Rev. Daito Zenei Thompson- Osho, director Sarasota Zen Center