Prompts for Your Journey

This is a good reading to start a journey with, from Zen Flesh, Zen Bones by Paul Reps and Nyogen Senzaki (Tuttle Publishing, 1985).

Zen Dialogue

Zen teachers train their young pupils to express themselves.  Two Zen temples each had a child protegé.  One child, going to obtain vegetables each morning, would meet the other on the way.  

Where are you going?” asked the one.

“I am going wherever my feet go,” the other responded.

This reply puzzled the first child who went to his teacher for help. “Tomorrow morning,” the teacher told him, “when you meet that little fellow, ask him the same question.  He will give you the same answer, and then you ask him: ‘Suppose you have no feet, then where are you going?’ That will fix him.”

The children met again the following morning.

“Where are you going?” asked the first child.

“I am going wherever the wind blows,” answered the other.

This again nonplussed the youngster, who took his defeat to his teacher.

“Ask him where he is going if there is no wind,” suggested the teacher.

The next day, the children met for a third time.

“Where are you going?” asked the first child.

“I am going to the market to buy vegetables,” the other replied.

Whether it is your feet, the wind or a domestic chore that brings you to the mat — I’ll see you there.

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