Posts Tagged ‘Zen’

Heaven and Hell

4 April 2008

According to David Chadwick in Crooked Cucumber, Shunryu Suzuki once told this story about heaven and hell.

In hell, everyone was gathered around a large table laden with edible delights of all kinds. But their arms were exceedingly short and the chopsticks were exceedingly long. As a result, noone could get the food into their mouths and they were frustrated and hungry and fighting with each other.

 In heaven, everyone was gathered around the same table laden with the same delightful foods. Their arms too were exceedingly short and the chopsticks too long. But in heaven everyone was feeding each other. In heaven, everyone was smiling.

Patience and Pain

28 March 2008

There’s a correlation, I think, between the capacity to voluntarily tolerate discomfort or pain (as in zazen) and patience. If you’re willing to tolerate discomfort or pain then you have at least practiced being able to tolerate the discomforts and self-denial associated with being patient.

I am also reminded of something attributed to Shunryu Suzuki in Crooked Cucumber: by David Chadwick:

“Hell isn’t punishment. It’s training.”