Sunday, February 3, 2013

Not Zen 44: You're Perfect

"Roshi, are you enlightened?" the student questioned her teacher as he sat in contemplation before class.

"You've come a long way in your studies," said the roshi. He put down his book. "You know, of course, that I am supposed to say 'mu' and undo that question. For you, however, because I think you will understand, I say yes. All people can reach enlightenment in their lifetimes and they should. It is not so hard. Just try and don't try."

The student was not excited by this idea because she had long suspected this was the case. Also, she had observed the calmness and loving manner of her guru towards everyone in all situations. She saw him try and not try, both together, in every moment.

"I know that you let go of desires," she said. "It's obvious. But what did that feel like? What happened after you did that?"

The guru closed his eyes for a moment.

"It was a morning years ago when I let go of all my desires. Of course, it came after a few years of practicing and contemplating the nature of those desires. I tested letting them go. Then I let them go."

The student closed her eyes.

"A friend approached me as I sat," continued the roshi, "much as I sit now. I felt no separation between him and myself. We were aspects of the same, whole being. We were part of existence. I smiled at my friend and he studied me for a moment. Then he acted as he always did. We parted with a joke and a laugh. We were completely as we should be."

The student smiled. She found herself studying the smile of her teacher.

“Later that day, I met my lover and felt the same lack of separation. She and I were part of the whole of existence, exactly as we should be, and my emotions were as pure and unstained by argument or jealousy as if I were made of fresh snow. My love for her was clear. The world was fresh. It is always fresh, of course, but I did not always realize it, and did not always accept its beauty.”

“Am I as I should be?” asked the student.

“You are perfect,” said the roshi.

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