Sunday, December 1, 2013

Not Zen 87: Search Strategy

A master of a Daoist temple went to visit the nearby government office. From that large building in the center of the city, his temple received grant money for its projects in the community. On this day, the master's appointment was first and he arrived with time to spare. He walked into the lobby as light dawned. Immediately, he introduced himself to the other early arrivals and to the security guards. A junior officer brought tea for everyone. 

As the master chatted, he noticed a janitor who he knew from the temple a few years earlier.
“Is it student Jeffries?” he called. He waved as he strolled over to the man with a mop. “How nice to see you again.”

“Good morning, master.” The student bowed respectfully. He showed no sign of the impatience for which he had been famous when a member of the temple. 

“You left so suddenly.” The master sighed. “I worried you might have taken your life. You know, you struck me as a prideful student but a promising one. Many of the older monks were disappointed when you grew frustrated so quickly. May I ask you what you are doing now aside from cleaning these offices?”

“I looked for enlightened folks in your monastery. I found none, so I judged. Now I look for enlightened ones in this office building.” 

The master looked around at the trappings of wealth and power. There was a fountain in the lobby. There were marble stairs. The doors and fittings were glass and brass. Above them hung chandeliers of finest crystal. 

“You have cast a fishing line high into the treetops,” said the master with a slight bow. “But I can't complain because I do it, too. Who knows? Maybe you will find a fish.”

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