Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Koan for those over 50

     In our current culture, we have little respect for the old among us. We try to hide them away in a retirement home as soon as their earning/spending power declines. Our consumer society has much more in common with factory farming than we like to admit. Humans as laying hens - when egg laying slows down, hens quickly turn into pet food. Keep the lines running!

     In an earlier time, when the old were still venerated as wise, young monks hid an old Zen monk's farming implements. They did this out of kindness and concern, so he would not have to do his share of the heavy manual labor at the monastery. The old monk then refused to eat. He said "no work, no food." The young monks relented, allowing him to do his share of the labor, and he resumed eating.

     The old monk's lesson is not at all the same as today's morbid fear of retirement / death. The old monk was giving 100% of himself - burning his candle completely in true Zen fashion. 

     How can I give 100% AND walk the middle way?

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