Independence in Dragon pool


1. There was a Zen class attended by many foreigners that I had heard about when I was in Tokyo. The teacher carried a stick and said, “If you do not sit properly, I will hit you with this stick.” Then he shouted, “Don’t raise your shoulders like that, drop your shoulders. I shall walk slowly and watch you, but don’t be nervous, drop your shoulders, and if I see you sitting calmly with shoulders dropped, I won’t hit you at all. Or maybe I’ll hit you twice as hard!” You have to consign yourself to your teacher. There has to be complete resolution to go through anything.

2. A very poor Brahmin poet composed some verses for a Moslem ruler who, most impressed, ordered a great pile of silver coins to be given as reward. The Brahmin refused to accept the silver unless the gift was made in the traditional fashion, that is, the giver must bow when the gift is bestowed. This the Moslem refused to do. “Think well,” said the ruler, pointing to the silver, “where will you find a patron like this?”
“And where will you find an independent man like this?” said the Brahmin, kicking over the pile of silver as he walked out.
We are not asked to do things like this very often, but we have to be ready to do something like it sometime in our lives. We have to do it not whiningly and grudgingly, but with a kick of independence as we walk away.

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