The Simple Way
The Life & Teachings of Zhouzi
by Scott Bradley
After the morning’s work, Zhouzi came to address the hall.
“This morning two of you came to blows about how best to plant potatoes. The melons are the sweetest I have ever tasted. All is well. Another perfect day! Are there questions or things to discuss?”
The hall was silent.
“So many of you are new among us; have you so quickly found repose? Or are you only intimidated by this beetle-browed ‘master’?” Then nodding toward the newest arrival, he said, “Please, Xiu, take my seat and answer their questions while I answer nature’s call.”
Zhouzi left the hall and Xiu took his seat, yet still the hall was silent until one of the eldest played ignorant for them all. “Tell us, Xiu, how is it that when monks exchange blows and wrestle in the garden, that it is still a ‘perfect day’?”
Xiu wriggled, turned red and said, “It is because nothing can deviate from the One. Reality is always and only just what is.”
“The Master would not have said it better!” replied the elder monk. “Only he lives it with all of his being. And thus he wanders in joyful spontaneity. And thus we gather around him, though he tells us we are no different than he.”
“But what of right and wrong?” he continued. “Is it right that we should fight in the garden?”
“In Reality there are no distinctions, only what is, and thus no right and wrong,” answered Xiu. “Yet I cannot help but feel that it is wrong for us to fight, though I know this stands between me and Unity.”
“So new among us, and yet so perspicuous!” exclaimed the elder. “When you have cracked this nut, the gate will stand behind you. When first you arrived, you believed that ‘mountains are mountains’. Now you must learn that ‘mountains are not mountains’. And when you have learned that, mountains will be mountains again. And you, at least, won’t be fighting in the garden.If you're interested in reading more from this series by Scott Bradley, go here. To check out more of Scott's writings, please visit TRT's shadow blog and look in the Table of Contents in the left sidebar.