Enlightenment as Everyday Life

From: "Patrick Dunn"
To: ax@nwlink.com
Subject: Re: I saw your ad in the Green Pages
Date: Sun, 25 Apr 1999 12:24:42 PDT

I have become convinced that there's no such thing as spiritual enlightenment. I think it's a process of getting out of bed in the morning, going to work, coming home, maybe catching a few moments of joy with a book, or music, or sex, or food, and then going to sleep to do it all again. The trick is finding satisfaction in *that*, finding god in *that*.

Remember the zen story: a student had been wrestling with the koan of one hand clapping for several years. Every night he would bow before his roshi, and his roshi would ask, "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" to which the student would respond, "I don't know, Roshi." The Roshi would give him a light blow with a stick and tell him to return to his meditation. Every day. In and out. For three years, then four years, then five years, until one day, while meditating, the student achieved enlightenment, rose, and went to his Roshi.

"Master, I have found it," he said.

"What is the sound of one hand clapping?" asked the Roshi.

"I don't know, Roshi."

"Truly," the Roshi said, "You have achieved your Buddha nature."

You want a goal to achieve? Learn to be a good person in the millieu in which you dwell: wrestle out a moral code by which you wish to live. Worship a god, or a pantheon of gods, if you wish. Eat. Drink. Tell jokes. Get angry. Another parable:

A man went in search of gold, and walked along a road into the mountains for months, looking for a mine. He crossed rivers, his mind intent on his goal, and cut through passes. Finally, he found a likely place, and mined for twenty years, finding a few small crumbs of gold, which he hoarded closely. He took them back to town, over the river, through the pass, on the long and winding road, until he came to a wealthy merchant in a carriage made entirely of gold. He stopped the merchant: "Where did you find so much gold?" the prospector asked. "I've searched for twenty years, and all I've found are these six small nuggets."

The merchant looked at the man as if he were insane. "Why, didn't you ever look at the road, or into the river, or at the walls of the pass? There's so much gold you could just pick it up like flowers!" And the man looked behind him and saw that it was true: the road sparkled with gold, the river flowed with it, and the pass gleamed in it.