Friday, August 04, 2006

Thinking of those who tend Japanese rock gardens

Some years ago, a close friend and I were deeply into Zen Buddhist practices. (Buddhism, Sri Lanka’s dominant religion is still occupies an important place in my life.) For me an embodiment of Zen is the rock garden of Kyoto’s Ryoan-ji temple. The garden is fifteen stones, arranged on a bed of raked white sand. I am told that raking the garden, to ensure its pristine appearance is the most important daily task of a Buddhist monk.

I have no such responsibilities, but it seems useful to bring that monk’s focus and discipline to my own early morning tasks: cleaning the kitchen, ensuring that at least one new surface in my apartment is uncluttered and conscious, ironing, folding laundry, sewing on a missing button…. The challenge, rarely achieved, is to bring to each task the concentration that monk brings to his task. To the degree that discipline can be attained, I believe any tasks, however mundane, can be given dignity and meaning.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's really good that I happened to come across this blog today, especially this particular posting, because I've found it harder and harder to follow my dreams amidst all the pressure that goes into being a college applicant. Somehow though, your Zen Buddhist posting helped me find the trust in myself and my potential that's dwindled in me over the past half year or so. Speaking of dreams, I have some pretty big ones, but whether they will materialize or not is a question that will be answered in the coming years.

Keeping in mind that Zen Buddhist way of thought:
It seems like the mind and body, and all of creation can take forms of thought that can't really be described logically but only make sense when felt emotionally, maybe reason is sometimes a burden...anyway, maybe my thoughts don't make too much sense right now but i have to go

thanks again,

7:12 PM  

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