Zen and working

Dear brothers and sisters,

Most of us often think Zen and working are two different things. So we can’t meditate while working, and don’t work while meditating. We only meditate when we have free time, or break time.

“I really want to meditate but I don’t have time. Everyone works 8 hours a day, but I work 8-15 hours a day. I’ve worked all day. So I want to meditate but I don’t have enough time.”

“My job requires me to focus on working. How can I meditate when I’m working?”

That is the mind with discrimination – discriminating one thing from another.

The mind without discrimination sees all things the same way – seeing Zen and working the same way. Zen is working and working is Zen. Zen and working are one.

How to do that?

Every-minute Zen.

What is every-minute Zen?

Below is Every-minute Zen – Story 35 in 101 Zen Stories – Zen Master Nyogen Senzaki compiled, anh Hoành translated and annotated.

Every-Minute Zen

Zen students are with their masters at least two years before they presume to teach others. Nan-in was visited by Tenno, who, having passed his apprenticeship, had become a teacher. The day happened to be rainy, so Tenno wore wooden clogs and carried an umbrella. After greeting him Nan-in remarked: “I suppose you left your wooden clogs in the vestibule. I want to know if your umbrella is on the right or left side of the clogs.”

Tenno, confused, had no instant answer. He realized that he was unable to carry his Zen every minute. He became Nan-in’s pupil, and he studied six more years to accomplish his every-minute Zen.

It’s every-minute Zen. When you do anything, regardless how small that thing is, pay attention to every single detail of your work.

Practicing every-minute Zen, our mind will be the mind without discrimination.

Working with a Zen mind gives us work and meditation at the same time. In effect, you work and meditate at the same time. No more complaint about your time.

Turn your work into a calm Zen path.

Be zen in working.

Have a Zen day.

Phạm Thu Hương

Trả lời

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