Be a Lamp (Nirvana Sutra)
World Honored One Flicks Dirt with His Toe (Vimalakirti Sutra)
Order of Enlightenment (Maka Shikan)
Calming and Contemplation of Anger (Maka Shikan)
Effect of Thunderbolts on Ivory (Maka Shikan)
Blind Heir of a Wealthy Merchant (Maka Shikan)
Mongolian Wisdom (ancient sayings)
Mighty Bodhisattva Warriors (13th Dalai Lama)
Seeing Ourselves as Suchness (Shinnyo kan)
Wu-lung and I-lung (Writings of Nichiren Daishonin)
Wo and Jah
A troubled man named Wo could not figure out how to live. So he began meditating to find some answers. After many months he felt no progress, so he asked the temple priest for help.
The priest said, "Go see old Jah."
So he hiked to old Jah's village and came upon the happy-looking old man coming from the forest under a heavy load of firewood.
"Excuse me, honored Jah," he said. "But can you teach me the secret of life?"
Jah raised his eyebrows and gazed at Wo. Then with some effort he twisted out from beneath his great bundle of firewood and let it crash to the ground.
"There, that is enlightenment," he said, straightening up with relief and smiling.
The troubled man looked on in shock at the prickly firewood scattered over the ground. "Is that all there is to it?" he said.
"Oh, no," said Jah. Then he bent down, collected all the scattered sticks, hoisted them carefully up on his back and made ready to walk on. "This is enlightenment, too. Come. Let's go together for tea."
So Wo walked along with Jah. "What is old Jah showing me?" he asked.
Jah replied, "First, yes, you are suffering a heavy burden. Many do. But, as the Buddha taught and many have realized, much of your burden and much of your joylessness is your craving for what you can't have and your clinging to what you can't keep.
"See that the nature of your burden and of the chafing you experience as you try to cling to it are useless, unnecessary, damaging, and then you can let it go.
"In doing so, you find relief, and you are freer to see the blessings of life and to choose wisely to receive them."
"Thank you, old Jah," said Wo. "And why did you call picking up the burden of firewood again enlightenment as well?"
"One understanding is that some burden in life is unavoidable — and even beneficial, like firewood. With occasional rest it can be managed, and with freedom from undue anxiety about it, it will not cause chafe.
"Once the undue burden is dropped, we straighten up and see and feel the wonder and power of being. Seeing others suffering without that freedom and blissful experience, we willingly and knowingly pick up their burdens out of compassion joining and aiding others in their various struggles for liberation, enlightenment and fulfillment."
"Thank you, Old Jah," said the exhilarated Wo. "You have enlightened me."
"Ah-so," said Jah. "Your understanding is enlightened. Now to make it part of your living and your spirit, you must go follow the eight practices and meditate. Then you will learn to detach yourself from your useless burden of cravings and to attach yourself to the profound source of being out of which life, creativity, joy and compassion form and flow."
And so Wo went and did. And understanding
the truths gave him comfort. And practicing the good behaviors kept him
from harming himself or others anymore. And concentrating on the deep blissful
potential of life gave him a continuing sense of companionship and joyful
awe and of well-being in his spirit, no matter what else of pain he had
to deal with.