Thursday, December 9, 2010

Zen comic (meditation cartoon)

Zen story: a student said to Master Ichu, "Please write for me something of great wisdom."

Master Ichu picked up his brush and wrote, "Attention."

The student said, "Is that all?"

So the master wrote, "Attention. Attention."

The student began to become irritable. "That doesn’t seem profound or subtle to me."

In response, Master Ichu simply wrote, "Attention. Attention. Attention."

In frustration, the student demanded, "What does this word attention mean?"

Master Ichu replied, "Attention means attention."*

Attention can be hard to maintain... We have so many choices, so many possible paths. Even when we blog (or perhaps especially) we can go a little overboard if we don’t maintain our focus.

I’ve been starting to write about the subject of creativity this month. Some of the tips I was going to write about were what I call the “three C’s: Clarify, Centralize, Commit.” What I mean is, as we don’t have unlimited time for unlimited activities, we clarify what is most meaningful to us, making that the center of our priorities, and making a commitment in this area [like maybe meditating]. This requires [clarification] attention and focus. More>>

*Nothing Special: Living Zen, by Charlotte Joko Beck (HarperCollins)

American Hungry Ghosts
“The Vietnamese Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh was once teaching students about the six realms of existence in the [Mahayana] Buddhist world-view. Just above the infernal ‘demon’ [asura] realm is the realm of creatures called hungry ghosts, who are forever plagued by having huge stomachs (addictive appetites) and extremely constricted throats, so that they can never satisfy their appetites. One student asked, ‘What is life like in the realm of the hungry ghosts?’ Thich Nhat Hanh replied, ‘America.’ [For you see,] the hungry ghost symbolizes the starving spirit plagued by incessant and insatiable desire” (Lama Surya Das, Buddha Is as Buddha Does).

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