Although I have never met (and never will meet) Suzuki Roshi, the author of Zen Mind, Beginners Mind, he is an important influence on me. He is dear to me – as dear as ‘real’ people in my ‘real’ life.
I was very moved by his biography, Crooked Cucumber, written by David Chadwick, and I’m also fond of Zen is Right Here – a small book of anecdotes about his teachings and his ordinary life. He was a very ordinary man, and simultaneously very extra-ordinary, like all great teachers. Here’s a little story I wanted to share with you today.
During a lecture in which Suzuki Roshi was talking about the precepts, he said: “Do not steal. When we think we do not possess something, then we want to steal. But actually everything in the world belongs to us, so there is no need to steal. For example, my glasses. They are just glasses. They do not belong to me or you, or they belong to all of us. But you know about my tired old eyes, and so you let me use them.”
How easily we fall into the trap of thinking we can GET stuff, that we can KEEP stuff. Not just material possessions, but people’s attention, their praise, their love… What a relief to relinquish our attempts at grasping, to realise that we were on a fool’s errand from the very beginning.
We know about each other’s tired old eyes. We can look after each other.
What writer/teacher is dear to you? Tell me about them.