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Lions Roar : March 2014
man said. “I’m busy meditating. I’m looking for Kuan- yin.” So Kuan-yin shook her head sadly and walked away. I think each of us can recognize ourselves in this young man. Pushing too hard, being too busy, we miss the very reality we seek. We miss our context: the presence of our coworkers, our materials, the changing environment of which we are a part. There is such a difference between complete effort and striving. It is possible to be thoroughly involved in work and yet not be attached to the outcome, to be thoroughly connected to the effort without grasping for some “result” that exists only in the mind as a concept, an anxiety, a fig- ment. How can we realize and recognize the subtle differ- ence between obsession and involvement? How can we sharpen our perception? Once there were two Zen disciples who were biological brothers as well as dharma brothers. They lived together at the same study center. One day, as Daowu was sweep- ing the ground, his brother, Yunyan, passed by and said, “Too busy!” Daowu replied, “You should know there’s one who’s not busy.” Yunyan replied, “Oh, come on now, you’re saying that there are two moons!” With that, his brother Daowu held up the broom and said, “Which moon is this?” Visualize this. I can just see Daowu sweeping, com- pletely in the zone: focused, immersed in his action. And Yunyan is critical: “You are too busy!” Maybe he thinks that Daowu, like the young man in the previous story, is lost to what is here, that there is no leisurely element that is alive to all aspects of the moment. Thus, he is “too busy.” Daowu replies, “You should know there’s one who’s not busy.” I picture him continuing with his sweeping. Daowu is saying, “Oh, the leisurely one is here. You just don’t see him.” Very often we mistake activity for busyness, but that is There is no work that isn’t of high value. A tradition for practice leaders during Zen retreats is to go out in the middle of the night and quietly, unobtrusively, clean the bathrooms and toilets. SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2014 55