Thought For The Day #2106 March 2014
Broadcast 6th of March 2014 on BBC Radio Bristol
Legend has it that one lunchtime in 12th century China, a student of meditation sought instruction from a famous teacher.
The kind teacher asked the student, “Have you finished eating?”
The eager student replied, “Yes I have, thank you.” At this point I imagine the student thinking she is glad the teacher has waited for her, because now she can fully concentrate on the teacher’s wise words.
But all the teacher has to say is, “Then go and wash your bowl”. What kind of wisdom is that!? It sounds like the teacher doesn’t have any time for helping students. However, the legend goes on to say that this was the moment at which the student became Enlightened.
Let me try and explain what I think happened. Personally, I find meditation to have very little to do with belief. I don’t need to believe in God, or science, or even the practice of meditation itself. Sitting still and paying attention to my breathing is an action, it is not something I think about, but something I do. I don’t need to worry if it will help me be less lonely or do better at my job.
I liken the need to breath with that of the student washing her bowl. Sometimes we don’t need to know the answers, we just need to get on with what needs to be done. So Enlightenment isn’t a fact, like the grass is green. Instead it’s the courage to stop thinking about life and to start living.