Zen principles are often short stories and they are full of wit and wisdom. They are also a big part of what makes this tradition interesting and compelling.
The Zen principles help us to see another point of view. Another way of seeing things, and another world we never knew that existed.
We present you three Zen principles. Read this article and be amazed how they speak so deeply. Here they are:
1. Nothing is permanent, everything changes.
During the question and answer session following a lecture, one student said to Suzuki Roshi that he has been following his lectures for years, but he just doesn't understand them. He asked Suzuki if he can put it all in a nutshell or if he can reduce Buddhism to just one simple phrase.
Everyone laughed, even Suzuki. Then he answered to the student that everything changes, and asked for another question.
The life lesson of this story is that the growing plant, the dying tree, the changing seasons, the growing infant, the aging man — all of these change with each ticking of the clock.
Our eyes cannot see it, but everything around us is changing somehow. Suffering comes when we fail to grasp the reality. Especially when we attach to just one particular thing or idea.
In order to live a peaceful life, we must accept everything as it is, in an infinite state of becoming.
2. Everything is a point of perception.
Once upon a time, there was an old farmer. He had a horse, and one day his horse run away. When he heard the news, his neighbors came to visit him. They said to him sympathetically that he had such a bad luck. He replied with just “Maybe”.
The next morning, the horse returned and bringing with him three other wild horses. His neighbors exclaimed that it was wonderful. Then, the old man also replied with just one word, saying “Maybe”.
The next day, military officials came to the village in order to draft young men into the army. When they realized that the farmer's son had a broken leg, they passed him by. His neighbors congratulated him how well things had turned out. Once again, he had the same answer —“Maybe”.
The life lesson of this story is that everything happens for a reason. Good, bad, positive or negative – all these are just concepts of the human mind determined by the perception of the observer.
Everything is in a constant flux — it is a giant wave. Nobody knows what the future actually holds: good or bad, luck or misfortune.
The coin always has two sides, so does life.
3. Take care of yourself before everything else.
A pair of acrobats ... The teacher was a pure widower and the student was a young girl named Meda. These acrobats performed on the streets each day in order to earn enough money for food.
The act of the acrobats consisted of the teacher balancing a tall bamboo pole on his head while the little girl climbed slowly to the top. Once she was at the top, she remained there while the teacher was walking along the ground.
Both performers needed to maintain a complete focus, as well as balance to prevent an injury and to complete the performance in the best possible way. One day, the teacher said to the little girl that he will watch her, and she should watch him too, so they can help each other in maintaining concentration and balance. He thought that by doing that they will earn enough money.
But, the little girl was a wise one, so she said that it would be better for each of them to watch themselves. She thought that looking after oneself means to look after both of them. The girl was sure that in such way they will avoid any accident and will earn enough money.
This life lesson best illustrates that the way in we should take care of others is by taking care of ourselves first.
By taking care and nourishing our spirit, mind, body, and heart, we will have the ability to create a positive impact on the world just by our existing.
Regardless of how we take care of ourselves, other people can benefit from it greatly by just the touch of our presence.
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