Not One. Not Two.

photo by topbanana
photo by topbanana

“Why does it seem that the harder I seek God, the more distant he seems from me?” asked the disciple.

The master smiled and replied, “The distance seems to grow because you seek. Stop seeking and understand that there is no distance.”

“Are you saying that I and God are one?” said the disciple.

“No, not one. Not two,” said the master.

“I don’t understand,” said the disciple.

“The ocean and the wave; the dancer and the dance; the singer and the song; the lamp and its light. Not one. Not two.”

Holy Banana

photo courtesy of darotyka, sxc.hu
photo courtesy of darotyka, sxc.hu

There was once a master whose fame had spread far and wide because of his holiness.

A tourist once came and visited the master, who was seated behind a small table eating a banana. Upon seeing the guest, the master picked another banana from the bunch and offered it to him.

The guest was so awed that this great man would offer something to one as lowly and sinful as him. He left the master’s house with the uneaten banana still in his hands, and wondered aloud what he should do with such a holy gift.

Some of the master’s disciples heard the man and went to tell the master about the guest’s dilemma.

The master laughed and said, “Tell the silly fool to eat it.”

Then Have a Cup of Tea

photo courtesy of SheCat, sxc.hu
photo courtesy of SheCat, sxc.hu

One day, a travelling stranger came to visit the master Joshu.

Joshu said, “Stranger, have I ever met you before?”

“No, sir. This is the first time we have met,” replied the stranger.

“Then have a cup of tea,” said Joshu.

Joshu then turned to a monk beside him.

“Have I ever seen you before?” he asked.

“Yes, I have been in this monastery for three years,” replied the monk.

“Then have a cup of tea,” said Joshu.

The head monk was quite confused with this behavior. So he asked, “Master, why do you offer a cup of tea whether or not you have met the person before? Why do you even ask?”

“Head monk, are you here?” said Joshu.

“Of course, I am here,” said the head monk.

“Then have a cup of tea,” said Joshu.

It Is You Who Give the Life

We consider bibles and religions divine–
I do not say they are not divine,

I say they have all grown out of you,
and may grow out of you still,

It is not they who give the life,
it is you who give the life.

Leaves are no more shed from the trees,
or trees from the earth,
than they are shed out of you.

— Walt Whitman

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