Sunday, November 4, 2012

Not Zen 30: Living Quickly

A teenaged novice loved the stillness and quiet of the folks around him studying enlightenment. However, he was dismayed to find that his pace of life was considered too fast and too noisy by other students.

"Everyone frowns at the way I move," he complained. "And I talk too quickly, so they say. I seem impatient to the others. But I'm not impatient. I just like the speed I'm at. Do I have to slow down to study?"

"Enlightenment does not have a foot speed, nor a hand speed, nor even a mouth speed," replied the old teacher. He sat against the front wall of his home.

"How about a brain speed?"

"Not even that." The teacher remained sitting while the novice paced the porch floor. "True, students of enlightenment often mistrust scholarly learning. That's because such learning can be a distraction from the process. But fulfillment can be achieved by scholars. It's possible."

"Master, you are so patient with me. From what I see, you're patient with everyone. Are you enlightened?"

"Maybe." He leaned back again. "It's not a productive question. Perhaps I am just patient, not enlightened at all. Could you tell the difference?"

They watched the cicadas on a nearby tree for a while. They watched bees circle around a flower. A butterfly floated among the other insects, unafraid. The novice hardly noticed, however, because by that time he was studying the old teacher.

"I think you are enlightened," he said. "Did it change your pace of life? Would it change me?"

"The cicada and the butterfly move at different speeds." The teacher stood and brushed his robes. "If the cicada tried to slow to the speed of a butterfly, it would fall from the sky. Before enlightenment or after, you will live at your natural speed."

No comments:

Post a Comment