When the Zen Master attained Enlightenment he wrote the following lines to celebrate
“Oh wondrous marvel:
I chop wood!
I draw water from the well!”
After enlightenment nothing really changes. The tree is still a tree; people are just
what they were before; and so are you. You may continue to be as moody or eventempered,
as wise or foolish. The one difference is that you see things with a different
eye. You are more detached from it all now. And your heart is full of wonder.
That is the essence of Contemplation: the Sense of Wonder.
Contemplation is different from ecstasy in that ecstasy leads to withdrawal. The
enlightened contemplative continues to chop wood and draw water from the well.
Contemplation is different from the perception of beauty in that the perception of beauty
(a painting or a sunset) produces aesthetic delight, whereas con-templation produces
wonder—no matter what it observes, a sunset or a stone.
This is the prerogative of children. They are often in a state of wonder. So they easily slip into the Kingdom.
One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away.
Not only the argument of reason invites us to it — for why should we fear to lose a thing, which being lost, cannot be lamented? — but, also, seeing we are threatened by so many sorts of death, is it not infinitely worse eternally to fear them all, than once to undergo one of them? … What a ridiculous thing it is to trouble ourselves about taking the only step that is to deliver us from all trouble! As our birth brought us the birth of all things, so in our death is the death of all things included. And therefore to lament that we shall not be alive a hundred years hence, is the same folly as to be sorry we were not alive a hundred years ago. … Long life, and short, are by death made all one; for there is no long, nor short, to things that are no more.
Eyes horizontal, Nose vertical. Essence of Buddhism.
If the world besides me is alive and so am I, where can I hide?
How can there even be an I?
Bodhidharma sits facing the wall. His future successor stands in the snow and presents his severed arm to Bodhidharma. He cries: “My mind is not pacified. Master, pacify my mind.”
Bodhidharma says: “If you bring me that mind, I will pacify it for you.”
The successor says: “When I search my mind I cannot hold it.”
Bodhidharma says: “Then your mind is pacified already.”