Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Zen: first Stop, then Insight

A Page of Wisdom by motivational speaker Frank Miles ( presents: Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching (Broadway, 1999, pg. 24). 
BUDDHIST MONK HORSE RIDER WINS GOLD: Japanese monk Kenki Sato wins gold medal at Asian Games in China as part of the “special life path” he is on (
Buddhist meditation has two aspects -- shamatha and vipashyana.

We tend to stress the importance of vipashyana ("looking deeply") because it can bring us insight and liberate us from suffering and afflictions.

But the practice of shamatha ("stopping") is fundamental. If we cannot stop, we cannot have insight.

There is a story in Zen circles about a man and a horse. The horse is galloping quickly, and it appears that the man on the horse is going somewhere important.

Another man, standing alongside the road, shouts, "Where are you going?" and the first man replies, "I don't know! Ask the horse!"

This is also our story. We are riding a horse, we don't know where we are going, and we can't stop. The horse is our habit energy, pulling us along, and we are powerless...

We have to learn the art of stopping -- stopping our thinking, our habit energies, our forgetfulness, our strong emotions that rule us.

No comments: