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Lions Roar : March 2013
SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2013 41 NORMAN FISCHER is a Zen teacher in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi and founder of the Everyday Zen Foundation. This teaching is adapted from his new book, Training in Compassion: Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong. THERE’S AN OLD ZEN SAYING: the whole world’s upside down. In other words, the way the world looks from the ordinary or conventional point of view is pretty much the opposite of the way the world actually is. There’s a story that illustrates this. Once there was a Zen master who was called Bird’s Nest Roshi because he meditated in an eagle’s nest at the top of a tree. He became quite famous for this precarious practice. The Song Dynasty poet Su Shih (who was also a government official) once came to visit him and, standing on the ground far below the meditating master, asked what possessed him to live in such a dan- gerous manner. The roshi answered, “You call this dangerous? What you are doing is far more dangerous!” Living normally in the world, ignoring death, impermanence, and loss and suffering, as we all routinely do, as if this were a normal and a safe way to live, is actually much more dangerous than going out on a limb to meditate. ILLUSTRATIONS BY KEITH ABBOTT