Lions and Dogs

The great Confucian sage Mencius noted that it was natural for the mouth to desire sweet tastes, the eye to desire beautiful colors, the ear to desire pleasant sounds, the nose to desire fragrant odors, and the four limbs to desire rest and ease. But there is an appointment of heaven in connection with them, and the superior person does not say of his pursuit of them, "This is my nature."

The Buddha said that there were two types of practitioners: One type is always chasing after something. They want something from practice. If their minds present them with something that they don't like, they want to get rid of it. If something appears that they like, they want to keep it. They are always trying to keep what they like, perhaps a good feeling, and fix what they don't want, like a problem in their life. This is like a dog chasing a bone. Or, you can be like a lion. If you are out in the bush and you throw a bone to a lion it will ignore the bone and jump on you! Zen Master Seung Sahn often says, "Zen means, 'I don't want anything.'" Zen is very simple: if you attain your "I don't want anything" mind then your big self appears naturally and you can help our world. Our school calls that "just do it, don't check."

Ching Ch'ing asked a monk, "What is that sound outside the gate?"

The monk said, "The sound of raindrops."

Ching Ch'ing said, "Sentient beings are upside down. They lose themselves and follow things."

The monk said, "How about you, Master?"

Ching Ch'ing answered, "I almost never lose myself."

The monk said, "What is the meaning of, "I almost never lose myself?'"

Ching Ch'ing said, "To explain is very easy; to express function through speech is very difficult."

If you don't lose yourself, how can you answer?