After Bankei had passed away, a blind man who lived near the master’s temple told a friend:
“Since I am blind, I cannot watch a person’s face, so I must judge his character by the sound of his voice. Ordinarily when I hear someone congratulate another upon his happiness or success, I also hear a secret tone of envy. When condolence is expressed for the misfortune of another, I hear pleasure and satisfaction, as if the one condoling was really glad there was something left to gain in his own world.
“In all my experience, however, Bankei’s voice was always sincere. Whenever he expressed happiness, I heard nothing but happiness, and whenever he expressed sorrow, sorrow was all I heard.”
Source |Paul Reps, Nyogen Senzaki, Zen Flesh, Zen Bones
(Tuttle Publishing, 1998) pages 47-48
All our virtues are capable of being nothing but a disguise for their exact opposite. Generosity can be a covert form of greed.
There once was a hard working farmer who fell upon the greatest of gifts.
The Lord appeared to this farmer and granted him three wishes, but with the condition that whatever the Lord did for the farmer would be given double to his neighbour.
The farmer, scarcely believing his good fortune, wished for a hundred cattle. Immediately he received a hundred cattle and was overjoyed until he saw that his neighbor had two hundred. So he wished for a hundred acres of land, and again he was filled with joy until he saw that his neighbor had two hundred acres of land.
Rather than celebrating God’s goodness, the farmer could not escape feeling jealous and slighted because his neighbour had received more than he. Finally he stated his third wish: that God would strike him blind in one eye.
And God wept.
Source | This is a Jewish story as told by Allan Culpepper
PONDER AND CONSIDER
- Jealousy can blind you, no pun intended!
- Celebration can open your eyes and makes you see and know what you have never seen and known before.