Zen…

“Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while peeling potatoes. Zen is just peeling potatoes.”

~

Alan Watts

i love this quote. i suppose it can be perceived as a bit provocative. some may shutter a bit when first reading it. it shakes you loose a bit, as Zen often does.

but what is provocative about recognizing the sacred in the ordinary?

if we cannot find the sacred in peeling potatoes, in washing the dishes, in sweeping, then where can we find it?

it is easy to find the sacred in what we perceive as beautiful, but what about the things we perceive as mundane? can we find the sacred there as well?

in Zen monasteries, novice monks are given toilet duty, cleaning the toilets. can we find the sacred in cleaning a toilet? there is a reason some Zen Masters continued to do it even in old age.

in the Khuddaka Nikaya, the Buddha stated, “In your seeing, there should be only the seeing. In your hearing, nothing but the hearing; in your smelling, tasting, and touching, nothing but smelling, testing, and touching; in your thinking, nothing but the thought.”

so the question remains, can we be with our life as it is right now? in Zen, that is sacred, not some other place, being some other person, doing some other thing. it IS here and now. it is in the doing, in the being, it is the journey.

when we open to this, when we are aware of the freedom and responsibility of this, we find our balance, we see our interconnection, and we open further and further, embracing this fleeting world and our fleeting relationships with love.

~j

12.24.17

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