Xuefeng said, “There are people who starve to death sitting by a basket of food; there are folks who die of thirst on the bank of a river.”
Finding this quote from Xuefeng reminded me of the Japanese Zen teacher Hakuin’s poem about meditation. Hakuin used images of being like the child of a wealthy home stranded among the poor or being in the midst of water crying out in thirst to express our situation before awakening.
When I found this Xuefeng koan, I recognized where Hakuin may have gotten his inspiration, though he made it his own. ‘Good artists borrow, great artists steal’ is a quote attributed to Pablo Picasso, I would guess he knew what he was talking about. It also speaks to me about this koan from Xuefeng.
Sitting by a basket of food, too polite to ask, too afraid to just take some, hoping someone will offer, meanwhile starving and I am both the one in the possession of the basket of food and the one starving. Borrowing from myself and ironically, never making it my own.
At times like this, when there is a threat facing everyone, perhaps we are more in touch with the threat that has been facing us all since the day we were born, our days are numbered, one way or another, and in that heightened awareness there is a heightened kindness, toward others and even toward ourselves.
If you would like to join the Zoom group meditation subscribe to our mailing list and you will receive a link.
Zoom Protocol 101: Mute your mic (not speaker)This helps cut down on ambient noise especially with a lot of viewers tuning in. If you make noise you become the largest screen view..ooops. David’s camera does not work so he will be ‘the voice’ of the meditation and conversation mediator. Raise hands to speak and unmute, then mute again afterward. You will get used to it. Our new way to gather!