We bring you another Zen story today that is so powerful that if contemplated properly and applied completely, it can change your whole life; just because your life is nothing but a part of you.
More after the story –
Once there was a monk who specialized in the Buddhist precepts, and he kept to them all his life. Once when he was walking at night, he stepped on something. It made a squishing sound, and he imagined he had stepped on an egg-bearing frog.
This caused him no end of alarm and regret, in view of the Buddhist precept against taking life, and when he finally went to sleep that night he dreamed that hundreds of frogs came demanding his life.
The monk was terribly upset, but when morning came he looked and found that what he stepped on was an overripe eggplant. At that moment his feeling of uncertainty suddenly stopped, and for the first time he realised the meaning of the saying that “there is no objective world.” Then he finally knew how to practice Zen.
The story revolves around a monk who has studied Buddhist precepts. He has been practicing and learning Buddhism by reading and remembering all the rules and regulations that are there. He knows not the experience but the facts and formulae.
“If this happens you do that and if that happens you should do something else and things like that.” This is all he has. Once he steps on something during the dark and hears a squishing sound, the kind of sound that comes if you squeeze the juice from a juicy orange using your fist.
He is unable to see what he has stepped on but he only hears. This gives him an imagination that he has stepped on a pregnant frog and has sinned. This is a sin as per the precepts that he knows. His mind starts to haunt him from then on. He cannot sleep or rest. All he can see is thousands of frogs crawling up on him and questioning his sinful act.
One false imagination and the mind has all the luxury to paint an entire new world around it. You see that world more and more and continue to believe in each of its fragment causing your bondage in your own web.
What exactly had happened? Did he know? No.
He did not know what had happened. He just thought about it. Rather a thought came and he thought that only this thought is right. Why?
Because it came to him!
This happens to all of us. This is our story.
Thoughts are just visitors. If you decide to host them and feed them, they enjoy it.
Imagine the example of a coat that is hung on the back hook of the door. In the dark, it appears to be like a thief standing behind the door.
When you switch on the light what happens?
The thief runs away.
It was not there from the beginning.
Another example –
You walk on a lonely road and two branches from a tree intertwine to form an outline. You see a ghost. But there is no ghost. Your mind is the only ghost there is.
There is no objective world. Nothing is fixed. Don’t assume that what you see is what others see. No. They see a completely different version of the world. Rather everybody sees and lives in his own world.
We all carry our little, false and illusory world around us, all the time. We live in it, breathe in it and stick to it.
Subject (mind) works like a projector and projects its own movie everywhere. It sees what it wants to see, hears what it wants to hear and feels what it wants to feel.
This is dangerous. Because you have not experienced what is present, you have experienced your own false mind.
To the answer –
How to come out of it?
Turn on the light!
There is nothing to be done. No fighting and no running away. Just watch. The light of awareness burns down all that is false.
The knowing itself is the remedy.
Back to the story –
Next day, the monk comes back to re-examine the spot and re-spect it.
He comes to know that it was an eggplant and not an egg-bearing frog. This knowing strips him of all that was haunting him. He comes to know Zen for the first time.
He knows the experience. When all that is false withers away, the bright experience which is always there shines forth.
This is realization.
Last thing (Contemplation and Application)
Meditation / Sadhana
Whenever you see, hear or feel anything in your mind, question it.
Re Look at it.
Don’t label immediately. Do not be in a hurry to form a judgment.
Ask yourself – Is this exactly what happened?
Am I 100% sure that this is exactly like I think?
Ask yourself a couple of times and this questioning will dissolve all that is false. Right questioning is the technique. For the first time, you will know what is. The Zen!