The Emperor asked Master Gudo, “What happens to a man of enlightenment after death?”
“How should I know?” replied Gudo.
“Because you are a master,” answered the Emperor.
“Yes sir,” said Gudo, “but not a dead one.”
There are many things for which we do not have answers. A good Guru is one who can accept the fact that he does not know everything in this world. There are times when he has to say he does not know. When we were in college there were times when we’ll just say a lot of jargon and get away with it as most of the teachers were afraid to ask. They did not want to look stupid.
We had one lecturer in college, Sajith Sir. He used to teach us Object Oriented Programming. Anyone who tried to get away with jargon failed here. He’ll look right in the eye and say – “Man, I don’t understand a word of what you said. Can you please explain the entire thing to me in a simple language… I’ll love to learn.” Here we had a teacher who was always ready to learn. The above koan was about one such Zen master.
I have learnt in my life that even as a manager one has to be always ready to accept the fact that we are not true experts ever. Many a times a kid may try to give some excuse for not completing the work. What generally a lot of jargon is used like….. “The syn bit rejected the data packets when it reached the hub hence my code failed” or “There is a lot of packet loss from this switch. I think we need to place a bucket here to collect all these packets” Or even worse “Mom, we all need to pay 50 bucks as fine as somebody broke the legs of the log table….. ”
Now from one extreme to another. There are times when we think we are following the right practices.I have no ego. Or I am a very simple guy and so on …..
Joshu began the study of Zen when he was sixty years old and continued until he was eighty, when he realized Zen.
He taught from the age of eighty until he was one hundred and twenty.
A student once asked him: “If I haven’t anything in my mind, what shall I do?”
Joshu replied: “Throw it out.”
“But if I haven’t anything, how can I throw it out?” continued the questioner.
“Well,” said Joshu, “then carry it out.”
One day there was an earthquake that shook the entire Zen temple. Parts of it even collapsed. Many of the monks were terrified. When the earthquake stopped the teacher said, “Now you have had the opportunity to see how a Zen man behaves in a crisis situation. You may have noticed that I did not panic. I was quite aware of what was happening and what to do. I led you all to the kitchen, the strongest part of the temple. It was a good decision, because you see we have all survived without any injuries. However, despite my self-control and composure, I did feel a little bit tense – which you may have deduced from the fact that I drank a large glass of water, something I never do under ordinary circumstances.”
One of the monks smiled, but didn’t say anything.
“What are you laughing at?” asked the teacher.
“That wasn’t water,” the monk replied, “it was a large glass of soy sauce.”
Two men were arguing about a flag flapping in the wind. “It’s the wind that is really moving,” stated the first one.
“No, it is the flag that is moving,” contended the second.
A Zen master, who happened to be walking by, overheard the debate and interrupted them.
“Neither the flag nor the wind is moving,” he said, “It is MIND that moves.”
Our mind plays a very important role. It is very important for us to realize that even if we have no ego or are not fanatic there is not point telling or proving to the world that. We just need to practice what we believe it. “I have no ego.” Or “I am doing this favour to you because I am so kind”… heck just do it if you like to, else don’t do it. The important point here is if you want to do it or not. The point is not that you have no ego or that you are a kind person…
If a tree falls in the forest and on one is around, does it make a sound? There is no right answer to this. When trees fall they make a sound. But as nobody heard it we really can’t say if it made a sound. The important point however, is that the tree fell.
A monk asked Chao-chou, “Has the dog Buddha nature or not?” Chao-chou said, “Mu.”
How does it matter if the dog has the Buddha nature or not. Thus it is more important in life to live a happy life doing what we are supposed to do to live happily…
Joshu Washes the Bowl
A monk told Joshu: I have just entered the monastery. Please teach me.’
Joshu asked: Have you eaten your rice porridge?’
The monk replied: I have eaten.’
Joshu said: Then you had better wash your bowl.’
At that moment the monk was enlightened.