Mirror of Zen Blog

The Inching Progress of a Little Child

Despite some 30 years of hard practice, every day I realize I am definitely not a person of infinite light and patience. It’s more than a little humiliating. There are still lots of rough edges — oh, baby, so many. In my often-misguided passion to share the teachings of waking up — powered with a visceral urgency I find hard to convey adequately to others, I can sometimes be too blunt, too irritable, too curt, especially when trying to handle the complicated thinking (“mind habits”, or karma) of folks whose mind-states and issues appear so clearly to me, but which I cannot get them to see for themselves — what appears to me in an almost technicolor clarity and simplicity can be delivered a tad too sharply. In a flash, that burning sense of urgency can get the better of me, and sometimes override the balance and softness of the meditative default-mode. Inside, I am often deeply regretful for any excessive or unnecessary reactivity, though I often show it not. If there might be one motto that a am compelled by, it is the teaching of the Japanese Zen Master Bassui (1327-1387): “My true desire is to relieve others of their pain, even though I myself might fall into hell.“

On days like this, the timeless teachings of Zen Master Hyu Jeong So Sahn [서산 대사] (1520-1604) come straight to mind, as he recorded them in his classic text, The Mirror of Zen (선가귀감):

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