Daily Tao

The Tao in Everyday Life

Archive for the month “January, 2014”

Zen Parable: Heaven and Hell

A young Zen monk asked an aged master about the difference between heaven and hell. “There are no material differences,” replied the master, “Both heaven and hell have a big pot of delicious noodles in the middle of a spacious hall, where the size of the pot and the number of people sitting around the pot is exactly the same. The odd thing is that each person is given a pair of yard-long chopsticks with which to eat the noodles. But in hell people are always hungry because no matter how hard they try, they can’t get the noodles into their mouths,” said the old master.

“Isn’t it the same for the people in heaven?’ asked the young monk. “No,” replied the master. “They can eat in heaven because they each feed the person sitting across the table from them!”

reproduced from www.buddhistbootcamp.com

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Tao Lessons from Bruce Lee: Non Fixation

Non fixation, non straining and non striving, (just) aim at the spontaneous development of yourself …

bruce lee

Becoming a Master According to Bruce Lee

Before I studied the art a punch was just a punch and a kick was just a kick. When I started studying the art a punch was no longer a punch and a kick was no longer a kick. Now that I understand the art a punch is just a punch and a kick is just a kick.

This describes beautifully the process of mastering any art or discipline. We are all born with an inner freedom and an innate sense of right and wrong but as soon as someone tries to point us to it we stop to think about it and suddenly we lose that original sense of freedom. Bruce Lee once said in the development of his fighting art of Jeet Kune Do that a good teacher points his or her student towards their own inner freedom without crippling them with a “classical mess” … or words to that effect.

Therefore real learning is all about re-discovering the innate talents and freedoms we have lost during the course of our own evolution.

True Mastery According to Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee, martial arts legend, once said: “I don’t fear the man who knows ten thousand techniques – I fear the man who has practised one technique ten thousand times.”

In the East they have a much different notion of mastery, much further removed from technology than we have here in the West, almost becoming spiritual in nature: Two braggarts once entered an inn and started to taunt an elderly man that was sitting there quietly eating his food. After the man had finished his food, he simply flicked his chopsticks and caught a fly. In quick order the two braggarts left. What they had realised in that moment was that they were dealing with a master, someone who had probably mastered whatever craft he was into, and was probably a master of anything else that he did, including punching you in the guts.

Mastery is a matter of spirit, not of technology.

Inspirational Quotes from Bruce Lee

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it
done.”

“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.”

“Knowledge will give you power, but character respect.”

“To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.”

“We shall find the answer when we examine the problem, the problem is never
apart from the answer, the problem IS the answer, understanding the problem
dissolves the problem.”

courtesy of jkdlondon.com

Zen Lessons : The Ghosts of Master Linji

Linji (Jap. Rinzai), the father of Rinzai Zen, used to say that his purpose was in exercising ghosts. He would advise :

Followers of the Way [of Chán, that is Zen], if you want to get the kind of understanding that accords with the Dharma, never be misled by others. Whether you’re facing inward or facing outward, whatever you meet up with, just kill it! If you meet a buddha, kill the buddha. If you meet a patriarch, kill the patriarch. If you meet an arhat, kill the arhat. If you meet your parents, kill your parents. If you meet your kinfolk, kill your kinfolk. Then for the first time you will gain emancipation, will not be entangled with things, will pass freely anywhere you wish to go.

In other words freely kill any concept that comes your way, do not become entangled with it.

Of course concepts do have their uses, as we have witnessed to much benefit in the sciences for example, but unfortunately most of us are completely taken in by them, entranced into a ghostly world of thoughts, concepts, ideas and symbols. Buddhism calls this the world of Maya (or Delusion), a completely false identification with the process of thinking which is but a representation, a symbolisation, a partialisation of the reality we live in and not the reality itself.

And this is the cause of much suffering, dis-ease, misapprehension, misunderstanding and distrust. One obvious example is the flag symbol where we have witnessed countless times throughout history how ordinary people will carry out the most inhumane acts for its name.

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