Friday, December 28, 2012


This nice story about our practice, from The Path To Bodhidharma, by Shodo Harada Roshi.

"At Sogenji is the story of the master whose bath-water was far too hot. He told the disciple who was in charge of the bath that day to bring some cold water. At that time, of course, there was no faucet to make the water start running. The disciple had to go all the way out to the well, pull up a bucketful of water, take the water into the bath, and then go back to the well again to bring up another bucketful of water, and go back into the bath with it. Many times he went back and forth from the well bringing cold water. When the bath was finally cooled to just the right temperature, the master said, 'Okay, that’s good enough.'

"When he said 'that’s good enough,' the monk took the little bit of the water that was left in the bucket and dumped it out on the floor. He put the bucket upside down and, thinking his work was finished, prepared to leave. His teacher was furious and said, 'What are you doing?' The monk was amazed and did not understand why, when he had just finished his job, his teacher was suddenly angry at him. The master said, 'You thought there was only a little bit of water left in that bucket, so you dumped it out so carelessly. Why, just because it was a little bit of water, did you not perceive how to give that little bit of water life? If you had taken it outside you could have put it on a flower, you could have given it to a tree, you could have used it for the vegetables in the garden.'

"The master knew and was telling the monk that in one drop of water, even in the slightest drop of water, there is an entire universe of energy and functioning. We must make our efforts so that we are using what comes to us totally --- if there is a lot of water we can use it in a big way, but with even the smallest drop of water we should put our efforts totally into taking the life of that one drop seriously and using it in the best possible way. That is what doing our practice is all about."

How often do we simply dump the 'little bit' out rather than using it wisely? "I'd give my seat to that elder woman, but i think she gets off in just a few stops so why bother." "I know i just walked past a dime laying on the street, but it's only a dime, so..." "Hey, can i call you back later, my TV show is getting ready to start." "I know i won't eat it all, but i might as well cook the whole package because there won't be enough left for another meal anyhow." "I won't meditate this morning since i don't have time for the whole half-hour." "Yes, yes, yes, i know we don't wear shoes in the house, but i'm just going to tip toe to the refrigerator and get that bottle of water i forgot." "I know it's too long, but set the dryer timer for an hour; that way when we check it later we know the clothes will be dry."

How careful are we with our practices? How often do we let convenience overrule conscientious awareness. How often do we unconsciously let a line be drawn between our 'practice' and our 'daily lives?'

Our practice is our daily lives.

p.s., i posted this earlier, but HERE is someone who lives his practice.

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