“Try to be mindful, and let things take their natural course. Then your mind will become still in any surroundings, like a clear forest pool. All kinds of wonderful, rare animals will come to drink at the pool, and you will clearly see the nature of all things. You will see many strange and wonderful things come and go, but you will be still.”
~ Achaan Chah
PS: Even afflicted with the illness that would confine him to a bed for ten years and later kill him, Achaan Chah used the stuff of daily life as a teaching. From the Wikipedia entry on his life:
“By the early 1980s, Ajahn Chah’s health was in decline due to diabetes. He was taken to Bangkok for surgery to relieve paralysis caused by the diabetes, but it was to little effect. Ajahn Chah used his ill health as a teaching point, emphasizing that it was “a living example of the impermanence of all things…(and) reminded people to endeavor to find a true refuge within themselves, since he would not be able to teach for very much longer”. Ajahn Chah would remain bedridden and ultimately unable to speak for ten years, until his death on January 16, 1992 at the age of 73 …”
A young man caught a small bird and held it behind his back. He then asked, “Master, is the bird I hold in my hands alive or dead?”
The boy thought this was a grand opportunity to play a trick on the old man. If the master answered “dead,” it would be let loose into the air. If the master answered “alive,” he would simply ring its neck.
The master spoke, “The answer is in your hands.”
~ H.H. the Dalia Lama | NOTE: This story was the quote for April 2, 2010 on a Dalai Lama daily quotes calendar. But I wonder what the original source o is? It appears on the Web in various guises, usually as a Zen tale.
On that side, beyond the clouds,
The mountain is blue-green as jade
The white clouds on the mountain
Are whiter than white
From the spring on the mountain,
Drop after drop
Who knows how to see the face
In the white clouds?
Clear skies and rain have their times,
They’re like lightening
Who knows how to listen to the
Sound of this spring?
It flows on without stopping
And thousands of turns
The moment before thought
Is already wrong
To try to say anything further
– T’aego (1301-13
(from today’s quote at the wonderful DailyZen.com)
From the old Hundred Mountain Web magazine.
Practice is nothing other than the
capacity to arouse fearless energy.
Without this energy,
whatever practices you perform,
whatever virtuous feelings you have,
all are without substance.
Without this energy,
will you be prepared when
you come face to face with death
in your ordinary state of mind?
How then will you persevere over other hardships?
~ Suzuki Shosan (1579-1655)