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Friday, February 02, 2007

A Zen Parable

student: O Master, I have succeeded in the ways of the world (money, respect, love) but still I find my life is vaguely unsatisfying. Now I want, no, need, to follow the spiritual path. I have come to you to seek true wisdom.

master: This is a laudable goal. The Path is arduous and will push you to the breaking point. Do you think you are able to work diligently and follow my teachings without question?

student: Yes!

master: I estimate it will take you about 20 years to complete the training. You may begin today.

student: Thank you!

... 20 years ...

master: You have proven to be one of the most dedicated and disciplined students I have ever worked with. Never before have I seen someone so thoroughly grasp the great teachings and apply them with such relentless honesty. Truly you can perceive the world without delusion. You are indeed enlightened.

student: Master, it is true. I understand now what it means to see things as they truly are. Without arrogance I will agree with you that I am truly enlightened. There is just one thing.

master: Yes?

student: When I came to you to seek the spiritual life I was vaguely unsatisfied with my life. Now that I'm enlightened I find that I'm still vaguely unsatisfied. Since I see without delusion, I know that I am, in fact, vaguely unsatisfied.

master: Yes, you see without delusion and what you see is that your life is vaguely unsatisfying. So it follows that your life is vaguely unsatisfying.

student: But I already knew that 20 years ago!

master: You were right.

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