Without Blinking An Eye

A long, long time ago in Japan, it was quite normal for marauding armies to ransack villages, with the villagers having to flee or be killed.  In one such village an old Zen master sat peacefully in his very humble abode as chaos reigned outside.  All of a sudden, a fearsome soldier kicked the master’s door open and stood menacingly in the doorway; the master was unmoved.  The soldier sneered and said, “what are you still doing here, are you not afraid?  All of the villagers are either dead or have fled, yet you remain here.”  The master replied, “what have I to fear, and besides, where would I go?”  The soldier became angry, and drawing his sword raged, “don’t you know that I am a man who can run you through without blinking an eye?”  The old master looked at him and said, “don’t YOU know that I am a man who can be run through without blinking an eye?”

With a body or without a body; it is all the same to one who has realised.  Live or die; the master knows there is no death and therefore remains unmoved.  There is also the paradox here between the polar opposites of “doing” and “being”.  The soldier wants to “do” (kill) the master, but that in itself is a fruitless task, as the most he can achieve is to be the cause of the master’s body evolving (effect) into a different form.  You cannot kill anything in reality as all is consciousness and is in a constant state of flux.  What would happen to the body?  If buried it would eventually decompose and merge with the earth.  If cremated, the cremation process would cause the flesh to evolve into heat energy and be absorbed back into the total energy mass.

The master remained in a state of pure knowing, enlightenment, awakening, bliss or whatever description you wish to use; all are just terms for “Being”.  The master remains blissful regardless of which action the soldier chooses to take.  He says, “besides, where would I go?”  Indeed, where would the master go?  There is only here and now; it is all we have.



The Mustard Seed

The disciples said to the master, “tell us what the Kingdom of Heaven is like.”  He said to them, “it is like a mustard seed; smaller than all seeds, but when it falls on the tilled earth, it produces a large tree and becomes shelter for all the birds of Heaven.

This parable demonstrates a great paradox.  The tiny mustard seed contains the mustard tree, which can grow up to about 25′ high.  The shell of the seed represents the line between the unmanifest (consciousness) and the manifest (the world or universe).  If the seed falls onto a concrete path it will simply die away, but in the correct (tilled) ground it will develop and grow into a magnificent tree.  This aptly describes the human journey.  We all start off as seeds in the womb, and as we go through all the stages of life we seek the relevant tilled earth (guru, mentor, teacher etc.) in order that we may grow.

The mother is the first nurturer of the seed; the first bigger tree in which we take shelter.  At this stage the seed disappears and dies and is reborn as a sprouting plant.  Then there are various stages, where as the plant steadily grows, teachers come and go.  These teachers can be in the form of school teachers, peers, partners, friends and even enemies.  Then in the same way that the seed must die in order to know itself as the tree, we ourselves have to die (eradicate the ego) in order to be reborn in all our glory (realise the Self)

At some stage the growing plant might decide that it wants to delve deeper and gain greater meaning to its existence, and it will seek shelter in the form of a guru; a Buddha tree, a Jesus tree, a Lao Tzu tree or a Krishna tree.  The master, in the form of whichever tree the seeker has chosen to take shelter in, will then nurture the growing plant until it becomes a magnificent tree in its own right.

At this point the newly emerged magnificent tree realises that all along it was itself the very Buddha, Jesus, Lao Tzu or Krishna tree in which it sought shelter, that all the time the tiny mustard seed and the magnificent, fully grown tree were One and the same.

This is the great paradox that is the parable of the mustard seed.