Awareness Play

Discover how awareness, authenticity, self reflection, role play and non-verbal expression can connect us to a sense of wonder and the flow of life.

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Without contrast the image is blurred.
Sensing the background: the silence,
the vastness, the emptiness;
the wonder of reality comes into view.

Nothing to hold, nothing to keep.
Neither possessions, nor loved ones,
nor the body, nor the mind, nor the self.
Clinging is taken away.
Resisting is gone.
Holding is gone. Holding is gone.

Gone, gone, gone beyond.
Gone utterly beyond.
Awakening praised.

The old monk sat by the side of the road. With his eyes closed, his legs crossed and his hands folded in his lap, he sat. In deep meditation, he sat.

Suddenly his zazen was interrupted by the harsh and demanding voice of a samurai warrior. "Old man! Can you teach me about heaven and hell!"

At first, as though he had not heard, there was no perceptible response from the monk. But gradually he began to open his eyes, the faintest hint of a smile playing around the corners of his mouth as the samurai stood there, waiting impatiently, growing more and more agitated with each passing second.

"You wish to know the secrets of heaven and hell?" replied the monk at last. "You who are unkempt. You whose hands and feet are covered with dirt. You whose hair is uncombed, whose breath is foul? You whose sword is all rusty and neglected. You who are ugly and whose mother dresses you funny. You would ask me of heaven and hell?"

The samurai uttered a vile curse. He drew his sword and raised it high above his head. His face turned to crimson and the veins on his neck stood out in bold relief as he prepared to sever the monk's head from its shoulders.

"That is hell," said the old monk gently, just as the sword began its descent.

In that fraction of a second, the samurai was overcome with amazement, awe, recognition and compassion for this gentle being who had dared to risk his very life to give him such a teaching. He stopped his sword in mid-flight and his eyes filled with grateful tears.

"And that," said the monk, "is heaven."

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