Zen & Dharma

A twig in my teeth

danger-sign-cliffA daydreaming monk falls off a cliff. As the monk is plunging downward he sees a twig sticking out from the side of the sheer cliff, and he manages to grab the twig with his teeth (yeah!). He is hanging by his teeth, above certain death, when a student arrives on the beach far below. The student calls up to the monk: “Oh wise monk, why did Bodhidharma come from the west?!” Obliged to deliver the dharma, the monk knows that if he opens his mouth he will fall to his death.

The power of the question is lost in the answer.
It’s a big one, the question. How can i entwine my life with another? I love my solitude, my independence, my comforts, my habits. If I open my life, my heart, my mind, to this possibility—what will be gained, what will be lost? How can we work it out? I am out on a limb, hanging by my teeth. Caught by the illusion of control. So much to lose, so much to risk. The unlived life never known. The vexatious koan never posed.

There is no solution to this dilemma, because there is no wrong answer. All power lies in the question.

<with a deep bow to Onshin Michael Newton for today’s crunchy nugget of zen>

One Commnet on “A twig in my teeth

  1. I think you’ve touched on a big one as people living alone in the latter part of their lives is increasing.
    The monk kept his mouth shut for a reason and one of the joys of living alone is you don’t have to answer to anybody.

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