Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Single Breath

 There is a Zen story about how a single breath can free us from the confines of our intellectualizing and unite us with all creation. Tokusan was a brilliant scripture scholar who went to study with Zen Master Ryutan. One night as Tokusan was leaving to go home to bed after a long evening of discussion, he noticed that it was pitch black outside. Zen master Ryutan lit a lantern and handed it to Tokusan. Just as Tokusan reached for the lantern, Ryutan blew it out. In that moment, Tokusan experienced enlightenment and bowed in gratitude. Tokusan realized that he was not dependent upon words and teachings to light the way for him. Even in times of darkness, he could experience his essential nature directly and be a lamp unto himself.

— Ellen Birx in Healing Zen

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