On one of the few occasions that the disciple was able to Skype the master – who for years has been working with refugees in a remote, far-flung, refugee camp under very difficult and dangerous conditions – a conversation ensued and the disciple asked, “How long will you remain there?”
And the master answered, “Until I am tired of dying.”
Source: Adapted by Philip Chircop from a recently heard story.
“We ought to learn how to die before we die, so that when we die, we won’t die.”
“Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.” John 12:24-25 (The Message)
A writer arrived at the monastery to write a book about the Master. “People say you are a genius. Are you?” he asked.
“You might say so,” said the Master with a smile.
“And what makes one a genius?” asked the intrepid reporter.
“The ability to see,” said the Master.
The writer was betwixt and between. Scratching his hair with one hand and rubbing his tummy with the other, he muttered, “To see what?”
The Master quietly replied, “The butterfly in a caterpillar, the eagle in an egg, the saint in a selfish person, life in death, unity in separation, the divine in the human and the human in the divine.”
Source: Based on Anthony de Mello, One Minute Wisdom
(Image; Reprint edition, 1988) page 206
See also Peter Van Breeman, The God Who Won’t Let Go (Ave Maria Press, 2001) page 98
In the Easter letter before his death, Bishop Klaus Hemmerle of Aachen wrote, “I wish each of us Easter eyes, able to perceive in death, life; in guilt, forgiveness; in separation unity; in wounds glory; in the human, God; in God, the human; and in the I, the You.”
The disciple asked, “Master, what does it mean to be saved?”
And the master answered, “A piece of bread on the plate in front of a starving person is salvation.”
Source | Philip Chircop sj
Based on a quotation by German Reformed theologian Jürgen Moltmann
“Salvation is not something that happens only at the end of a person’s life. Salvation happens every time someone with a key uses it to open a door he could lock instead.” – Barbara Brown Taylor, Leaving Church (HarperOne, 2012) Page 115
A Zen student came to Bankei and said: “Master, I have an ungovernable temper — how can I cure it?”
“Show me this temper,” said Bankei, “it sounds fascinating.”
“I haven’t got it right now,” said the student, “so I can’t show it to you.”
“Well then” said Bankei, “bring it to me when you have it.”
“But I can’t bring it just when I happen to have it,” protested the student. “It arises unexpectedly, and I would surely lose it before I got it to you.”
“In that case,” said Bankei, “it cannot be part of your true nature. If it were, you could show it to me at any time. When you were born you did not have it, and your parents did not give it to you — so it must come into you from the outside. I suggest that whenever it gets into you, you beat yourself with a stick until the temper can’t stand it, and runs away.”
Source | Osho, And the Flowers Showered: The Freudian Couch and Zen
Osho Media International, 2012) page 37
The full story can be found in The unborn: the life and teaching of Zen Master Bankei, 1622-1693 by Bankei, Normal Waddell, translator
Getting angry and losing our temper is a sign of weakness. If we cannot hold our temper, it ends up hurting us more than the one at whom it was directed at. As the Buddha once said: “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” Think about that!
The seeker said to God: “Tell me, tell me something I can treasure and remember.”
And God said “I love you. I love you. I love you.”
The seeker replied: “Is that all? Tell me something else.”
And God said “Believe it!”
Source | As heard during a retreat.
What would it mean for you if you were convinced that God loves you unconditionally?
There was nothing pompously about the Master. Wild, hilarious laughter prevailed each time he spoke, to the dismay of those who were solemn about their spirituality, and themselves.
Said one disillusioned visitor, “The man’s a clown!”
“No, no,” said a disciple. “You’ve missed the point: a clown gets you to laugh at him, a Master gets you to laugh at yourself.”
Source | Anthony de Mello, One Minute Nonsense,
(Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, 1992) Chapter 35
Published in the USA as Awakening: Conversations with the Masters,
(Image, 2003) Chapter 35
“If you can laugh at yourself, you can forgive yourself and if you can forgive yourself, you can forgive others.” | Susan Sparks, an ex-lawyer turned comedian and Baptist minister
“We can never truly learn to laugh at ourselves until we learn to accept the things about ourselves that are either impossible or impractical to be changed.” | Jeanne Robertson, humorists
An aging master grew tired of his apprentice complaining, and so, one morning, sent him for some salt. When the apprentice returned, the master instructed the unhappy young man to put a handful of salt in a glass of water and then to drink it. “How does it taste?” the master asked.
“Bitter” spit the apprentice.
The master chuckled and then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt and put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to the nearby lake, and once the apprentice swirled his handful of salt in the water, the old man said, “Now drink from the lake.”
As the water dripped down the young man’s chin, the master asked, “How does it taste?” “Fresh,” remarked the apprentice. “Do you taste the salt?” asked the master. “No,” said the young man.
At this, the master sat beside this serious young man who so reminded him of himself and took his hands, offering, “The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains the same, exactly the same. But the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things …. stop being a glass. Become a lake.”
Source | A Hindu parable as told by
Mark Nepo in The Book of Awakening
(Conari Press, 2011) pages 17-18
“The more spacious and larger our fundamental nature, the more bearable the pains in living.” | Wayne Muller