Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.
Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor's cup full, and then kept on pouring.
The professor watched the overflow...
THE END OF DESIRES
Questioner: Hello. The question is this: The central theme seems to be the end of desire, right? I have a problem with that. Sure, desire can lead to you being unhappy, but maybe that's worth it? Without desire, or extreme passion how would anything get done? Would anything be achived? Invented? Would'nt we all be still living in caves? More to the point, what about all the great works of art? Poems, musics, paintings, buildings, books and movies? Without desire and burning passion we would have none of those things.
CT: First of all, the Buddha never asked anyone follow his path: to extinguish desire, hatred, and ignorance. If any of you would like to do it yourself, then the path is not easy at all.
If any of you would like to let yourself led by your desires, passion for the so-called arts such as writing books, painting pictures, composing musics, and whatsoever... you would admire greatly, just go ahead and do it as you please, then there would be no dilemmas like the ones you have put down here.
However, are you sure that such things as books, paintings, musics, songs, and the rest of it, are really the creation, the real beauty itself at all? I doubt this.
What a book written about are just the images of the real, beautiful, and living things and human beings on this marvelous earth. Right? A painting or a song does the same way. If anyone would take the images or symbols or words for the real things, would he see the real things?
Is it necessary for each of us to become a Gaugin, a Van Gogh, a Michaelangelo? or become a Dante, a Leo Tolstoi, a Beethoven, a Mozart...to see the truth, the beauty, the goodness of all?
Did the great poets, the great writers, great painters...all see the truth themselves and lived happy lives? The dom questions this.
Why don't each of us just use what we already has at hand to do the same things like others did? What the dom mean here is each of us must see the truth with our own eyes, speak of the beauty with our own words, do the goodness with our own hands. Can we do these?
Finally, do not worry about if you extinguish all of your desires and passion...then nothing can be done anymore. As it was said at beginning, to follow the path of the Buddha is not easy at all. Extinguishing desires is the most difficult thing to do in human world. Anyone with half-person follows the path of the Buddha and the other half-person submits to desires is like the one who got one foot in cool water and the other foot in hot water and would say that he got the balance in his way of living. Upper part of his would read and talk about the Buddha or dharmas, lower part of his would like to make love with his mates. What kind of balance is this? the dom really doesn't know.
A Visitor & CT
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