Bells and Robes

Zen Master Unmon said: “The world is vast and wide. Why do you put on your robes at the sound of a bell?”

There is an old saying that whatever comes in through the gates is foreign. The gates are the senses: sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch. If we decide, move, and act by the senses, we obey foreign commands. In response to our environment, we feel pressured, are easily upset, become nervous. This is one of the characteristics of modern life. But if one settles down firmly in one’s inner life, all actions, feelings, and deeds come from deep within. The unenlightened one does things because he must do them; the enlightened one acts because he wants to. Freedom lies in the center of life — Zen Master Unmon points to the center.
[Zen Koans by Venerable Gyomay M. Kubose]

 

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