The Great Master

"The Great Master" number 64 of 200 from Robert Aitken's book Miniatures of a Zen Master.

Spring Palouse Evening  -  From WoodenZen

"'Don't look around'. The guidance of the Buddha himself is encapsulated in those words." This is a continuation of the Buddha's "be a light unto yourself".

This feels like the kind of advice that is easy to overlook. Isn't Zen practice harder than "don't look around"? What this doesn't say is that once we stop looking "around" for answers or for comparison to see how we are doing, what we are left with is looking "right here". The sound of the wren, Mary rustling papers, the hum of the CPU fans. The muscles straining to hold my back in place as I hunch forward over the keyboard, each finger rhythmically finding its key. These confirm my connection with life. Not the other way around.

In the past, answers to life's important questions have never come looking 'out there'. Yet we persist in continuing to "look around" hoping to find some answer.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.
–Author Unknown

This is Zen's greatest attributes, the cutting through of complexity. The practice and realization is actually so easy, so right under our noses that we miss it completely. When we get a glimpse, we dismiss as not being the real thing. We mistakenly think the realization has to be grand and either intellectually or emotionally orgasmic.

Yet it is as simple as "don't look around." I'm going to follow that advice and see where I'm lead.

Any error or confusion created by my commentary on Miniatures of a Zen Master
is solely a reflection of my own delusion and ignorance.
Any merit generated by this activity is solely the result of
Aitken Roshi's clear teaching and is dedicated to
all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas throughout space and time.